With unemployment at a historic high, successful companies still struggle to find employees with the right fit. This clearly shows that there is a disconnect between current skill sets and the job requirement. There is a dislike for mobility by employees which can be attributed to many concerns like family commitments, change of environment amongst others.

This lack of mobility hurts because recruiters struggle to hire the best fit, it delays the turnaround time for recruitment and in some instances, recruiters have had to look at engaging consultants or expatriate for the role. This increases the labour cost and in some cases, cultural differences can be a setback.

To prevent this situation from getting worse, companies should reimagine their recruitment strategy as a pipeline. This talent pipeline, much like a sales pipeline, gets talented prospects identified and interested in the company early so that when the time comes to hire for an open position, qualified candidates have not only already been pre-identified but they are eager to take the role.

Research shows that there aren’t enough qualified workers to fill vacant positions and many of these roles exist in new or developing fields, like data analytics and cybersecurity. For example, IT companies have more jobs open than qualified workers to fill them. Training programs have sprouted to try to correct this imbalance, but companies need these workers faster than today’s training programs can produce them. In occasions where they are even trained, they lack the experience to handle the role effectively.

The issue with training lies in the multidisciplinary nature of these new jobs. Data analysts, for instance, require both advanced software skills and keen business sense. People with that combination of skills are rare, and while those who do possess the necessary training are paid handsomely, there simply aren’t enough of them.

Traditional economic development models rely on the assumption that a talent pipeline consists only of people with credentials. In today’s world of online education, however, learning is not limited to traditional brick-and-mortar locations. Advancements in technology have opened new learning opportunities and have created widespread access to aptitude tests that guide people into optimal career paths based on their innate abilities. By using aptitude-based tools, companies can identify “raw talent” earlier and communicate with those people sooner than ever before.

Modern companies can identify students with the abilities those companies will need in order to compete in the future, roadshows will help identify and train this talent. The business culture can be embedded into them before they join finally after school. Once identified, students can work with companies through apprenticeships, internships and on-the-job learning opportunities to develop the skills they need. Management trainee programs, sponsorship education are possible areas that HR can explore to attract the best talent from the university.

The innovativeness of our tertiary institutions where there is the morning, evening and weekend schools should be on interest to businesses. Considering the business needs, employees can be allowed to choose a flexible school schedule whiles they work, this will allow them to acquire the needed experience as well as finance their own education.

These tips to build a talent pipeline that brings in more qualified candidates and gets younger prospects interested in your company.

Look beyond the CV: While helpful to outline past accomplishments, don’t reveal the potential of those who submit them. Several tools claim to help employers understand personalities, strengths and interests, but even those extra tools fail to capture the reality of an employee’s true potential. Those surveys can be rigged, especially by smart candidates who understand how to answer in the way the company wants to hear.

Rather than rely on half-measures or self-reported surveys, companies should turn to performance-based tools to get a real understanding of what candidates are capable of. The most effective tools capture real measures of aptitude and provide proven, reliable information about a prospect’s innate abilities. To identify the attitude of potential employees, their social media engagement can serve as a guide in knowing who they are.

Proactively invest in future talent: It’s hard to fill a talent pipeline. Business environments put a strain on everyone, from employees picking up extra work to teams interviewing day in and day out to fill a position. This mentality often leads to sub optimal talent, as the company takes any warm body to fill a spot. But by focusing on tertiary students, companies can identify future talent with the abilities they need early enough in the process to create a stable, self-renewing workforce. Leadership can be identified, trained and retained right from school.

Outsource the workload: Long-term talent pipelines set up companies for long-term success, but they don’t solve short-term needs. To solve this, companies can turn to freelancers and contract-based staff to bridge the gap while their desired talent pipelines bear fruit over time or go through the preparation stages.

Fortunately, good freelancers and consultants exist. This means a plethora of skilled talent is already out there at a higher cost and ready to take on more work for companies that require their services.

Will improved educational opportunities close the talent gap? That’s hard to say. However, shortage or not, companies with an effective talent pipeline will be able to attract the best and brightest to work for them. By investing in the future and finding short-term alternatives to bridge the gaps, companies can stay ahead of the talent shortage and secure the superiority of their workforce for years to come. With the emergence of people and data analytics, organizations should be able to project their talent needs and prepare for the hiatus.

Source: BrightAmpaduOkyere/Armando Garza

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