The economy has come a long way since its recessional slump in 2008. This is good news. However, there still remain a large sector of workers who find themselves underemployed, in low wage jobs with little room for advancement, or unemployed completely. On top of this, there is a segment of employers across various industries who are unable to find workers who possess the skills to fill their jobs. This problem is known as “the skills gap“, and it’s causing a serious dilemma for both workers and employers. It’s become such an issue that in 2012 the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) released a report addressing ways in which employers, educational institutions and workers can make changing toward eliminating the problem. Read on to learn more about the ways in which career training can help you to escape the trap of the skills gap. p
Causes of the Skills Gap
The reason the ASTD geared its report on skills gap toward such a broad segment of stakeholders is that there are numerous factors that have led to the issue. Such a wide gap in the skills that are needed and the population of workers who can demonstrate those skills didn’t occur because of just one thing, and it didn’t happen overnight. In order to bridge the gap, employers, educational institutions and workers will need to work together to make change.
Many employment experts believe the main issue at play lies with a mismatch between the types of education our workforce is receiving and the kinds of jobs that are available. It turns out that the areas lacking skilled workers are such things as engineering, science and technology. Our educational programs are primarily sending workers into the world who are academically prepared in subjects like education, humanities and social sciences. Other factors that contribute to the increased widening of the skills gap are a rise in retirement of the baby boomer generation, employers requiring minimum rates of experience, poor on-the-job training and lack of “soft skills” like leadership and communication in applicants.
How You Can Overcome the Skills Gap
While it may seem that the this ever-widening gap is something you cannot change, there are actually some steps that are within your grasp. It is true that the larger systems of education suppliers and employers must take on most of the work needed to make improvements. However, no matter what your current stage in life, you can go out and seek some of the training and the skills you currently lack. Fortunately, there are basic education programs, career training institutions and other such resources that can help you to gain the some of the fundamental skills employers seek.
It’s also important that you take your future into your own hands by researching the kinds of opportunities that are available. Think of some technical, science or computer related jobs you might be interested to pursue. Then read about them online to see which are in need of skills workers and, more specifically, which positions employers are most looking to fill. Your local unemployment agency or career center can sometimes assist you in finding this kind of information. Once you are well-informed, you can begin to come up with a plan for obtaining the education you need in order to qualify for the kinds of jobs you want.
Don’t Forget the Soft Skills
You need to also bear in mind that employers are looking for applicants who can communicate well and get along with a wide variety of people. They want workers who know how to plan a project and follow it through to completion, along with ones that are able to identify problems and be able to use the critical thinking necessary to solve them. You may be surprised at the skills you already possess in these areas, simply based on your life experiences to date. Don’t worry if you think you’re lacking. Soft skills are often picked up naturally while pursuing your educational training.
The looming skills gap doesn’t have to be a deterrent to finding good jobs. With some personal initiative and focused career training, you’ll be well on your way toward a career path that meets your needs.
Contact Brighton College to learn more about the kinds of programs that can get you started on that path. Reach us at (602) 212-0501.