Onur İlköz

26 May 2021

We’ve faced a number of shortages over the past year—toilet paper, baking powder, concerts. But one shortage continues to stand above the rest in its ability to damage the global economy: skills.

Skilled workforce is the core, the fuel of the global economy. With Covid-19, digital skills remain vital; however, executives tell us soft skills have surpassed them in importance. No matter if it is technical, digital or social skills, companies are desperate to find skilled employees to compete in todays’ world.

It is on top of executive’s agenda to close the skills gap which occurred because of new realities brought by pandemic. Building and maintaining strategies for a skilled workforce has already been tough and in agenda but got over complicated since Covid-19.

Two Game Changers

Remote work and intelligent automation are considered as an economic game changer. While executives recognize that remote work and advances in intelligent automation will bring multiple benefits, they also realize millions of workers may require retraining/reskilling. Most believe, due to global financial ambiguity, their organization or their country does not have a budget to help employees on this transition.

Another aspect is the shift in organizational cultures. The digital era combined by pandemic conditions, have introduced the need for a new business model, new ways of working, and a flexible culture that fosters the development of critical new skills.

How can organizations close the gap?

According to the latest research of IBM and McKinsey, training and hiring are not enough. New skills requirements continue to emerge, while other skills are becoming obsolete. It is all happening quite rapidly. Companies need to explore new strategies to measure and close organizational skill gaps.

In order to meet their talent and skill needs, companies need to;

  1. Make adjustments to their training and education budgets,

  2. Make investments in employee experience processes to foster peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and increase on the job trainings.

  3. Take the advantage of the access to geographically diversified workforce and relocation opportunities created by remote work.

  4. Use people data and analytics to analyse and predict skill supply and demand.

  5. Implement skill recognition initiatives to recognize and track skills progression.

CEOs rank investment in people as the #1 way to accelerate performance in today business environment. As a result of new workplace realities, leaders must invest in upskilling and re-skilling their employees. Also should redefine company cultures, people strategies and employee experience processes to comply with new realities.