6 steps to closing the skills gap in the company

6 steps to closing the skills gap in the company

A lack of skilled workers and qualifications will continue to slow companies down in 2022. According to a survey by the Handelsblatt, the Dax 30 companies alone currently have almost 14,000 vacancies, which is a massive threat to the economic upswing.

A study by the Bertelsmann Foundation at the end of 2021 also showed that two-thirds of companies are suffering from staff shortages. The gaps are particularly large not at the top level, but at the middle qualification level. This is also confirmed by current studies by corporate learning specialist Skillsoft. At the end of 2021, a study showed which qualifications are particularly in demand, for example in the areas of IT and technology. The “Lean into Learning” report published in January 2022 contains data on particularly popular training courses such as: remote working, time management, data analysis skills, Power BI, database management, development of agile and growth-oriented mindsets, and much more. In addition, it also includes general strategic approaches for dealing with gaps in qualifications and the shortage of skilled workers. We have summarized six important starting points for closing the qualification gaps in the short and long term.

Step 1: Identify which skills are needed in the company

  • To do this, it is important to understand the organizational goals. If this is not yet the case, a regular exchange with the company management or the specialist departments should be initiated.
  • Identify skills needed to achieve the short- and long-term business goals.
  • Review the skills available in the workforce to identify what qualifications and skills are missing.

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Step 2: Look externally for suitable specialists

  • Revise job postings to focus on the skills needed, which should also be demonstrable or measurable. The candidate with the longest general experience is not always the right one.
  • Open up new pools of applicants and underrepresented groups. For example, career changers can be particularly motivated after recent retraining and career realignment. It is just as important to be open about socio-demographic factors.

Step 3: Further education and training in your own company

  • Align learning programs and curricula with needed skills.
  • Use multimodal learning methods so that employees can incorporate learning into their everyday lives and use the formats that are most effective for them. This improves the uptake of learning opportunities as well as engagement and outcomes.

Step 4: Strategic competence development

  • Invest in competency-based learning and strategic employee development.
  • Try to build a culture of continuous learning in the company.
  • Reward continuing education achievements. In order to establish a learning culture, it is important that learning and the acquisition of new qualifications are also recognized and rewarded by superiors.

Step 5: Personalization and democratization of training offerings

  • Expand the programs offered to include participants at all levels. As the studies mentioned at the beginning show, training courses for the management team are not always effective on their own if the missing skills are particularly pronounced, for example at the medium qualification level.
  • Many companies already have informal mentoring and coaching programs. In order for these to be established efficiently and permanently, however, they should be formalized. This means that mentors and coaches, for example, are also given time in their everyday work to perform this role. Otherwise, many well-intentioned approaches quickly get lost in the burden of everyday tasks.
  • Offer personalized learning opportunities and career paths to promote employees in a targeted manner. This also increases engagement – ​​just like regular feedback.

Step 6: Ensure long-term employee satisfaction and loyalty

  • Invest in medium and long-term talent development. On the one hand, this helps to close or avoid competence gaps in the company. On the other hand, employees also feel valued when their careers are supported in a targeted manner. This contributes to improved engagement and employee satisfaction.
  • Targeted employee development also means that more promotions from the existing workforce are possible instead of looking externally for candidates for high positions.
  • In order to be able to assess the success of the further training and career programs, it is important to regularly measure the qualification success and employee satisfaction and to adapt programs as required.

Building sustainable, resilient teams has increasingly become a priority over the past year. This is also reflected in the increasing number of learners on the Skillsoft learning platform Percipio. This increased by 55 percent in 2021 compared to the previous year. There was a 45 percent increase in time—hours spent studying.

“Not only due to demographic change, but also due to new requirements and professional fields in the course of digitization, the issue of a shortage of skilled workers and a lack of qualifications will be with us for quite a while,” explains Andreas Rothkamp, ​​VP Sales for the DACH region at Skillsoft. “Since the requirements and the required skills are also changing ever faster, it has become clear to many responsible persons that they cannot fill the gaps purely through external acquisition. It is therefore particularly important to approach the topic strategically in order to implement the hiring of specialists in combination with internal training and career programs in a forward-looking and effective manner.”

More information from the “Lean Into Learning Report” is available for download here.


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