Employee skills and badly written job adverts

How skilled are your employees? Are your employees persistent, adaptable and analytical? Do they display not only technical proficiency but accountability and team-spirit?

Skilled workers are worth their weight in gold, but what do we mean by ‘skilled’?

Employee skills can be broken into three types: Technical skills, soft skills and personal attributes. Both soft skills and personal attributes are non-technical and transferable across industries.

Transferable skills everyone wants

Deloitte Access Economics recent report for DeakinCo., Soft Skills for Business Success, illustrated that these transferrable skills, including self-management, professional ethics, teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving, are invaluable for employees because they are valuable across industries. Employers reap rewards from soft skills too, with Deloitte suggesting that employee soft skills increases business revenue.

Soft skills are so important for job futures that Deloitte forecast that occupations focussed on soft-skills will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030. That is a staggering figure. Even more interesting is the lack of credit given to soft-skills by job-seekers, with Deloitte finding less than 1% of LinkedIn profiles list soft skills. Yet employer demand for soft skills appears to exceed supply by up to 45% in some categories, according to Deloitte.

Job needs vs training

There seems to be a disconnect between job training and job needs, resulting in negative impacts on both job-seekers and employers.

The number of people enrolled in (or who have already received) post-secondary education is almost equivalent to half the workforce. However, tertiary training no longer guarantees job-seeker success.  In an increasingly competitive job market, training may not offer the skills employers are looking for, or the most up-to-date industry information for the job-seeker.

Jobgetter recently surveyed 1442  employed and unemployed Australians. 65% stated they did not feel their education gave them the necessary skills to succeed in work. A lack of real-world experience was felt to be a real hindrance to gaining work for a large number of respondents.

Of all those surveyed, only 35% felt their education had totally prepared them for their industry. Many respondents saw internships as the best way to gain up-to-date industry experience.

Job advertisement failures

The disconnect between what employers expect and what workers are trained in also cuts the other way. 39% of Jobgetter respondents cited frustration at job advertisements requiring an applicant to hold a specific number of years of experience in a job, sometimes even for entry-level positions. A lack of in-house training by employers can compound the issue.

Jobgetter respondents also cited a lack of relevant information in job advertisements.

Job-seekers seek clear information about the specifics of the job, the skills and qualifications needed and the duties to be performed. This information helps them assess their fit for the job and determines whether they apply or not.

If employers include this information, job-seekers use their job-seeking time more productively by not applying to jobs they are not qualified for, and employers potentially deal with less irrelevant applications.

The skill gap isn’t going away any time soon

What Deloitte and Jobgetter’s reports show is that closing the gap isn’t just worker’s responsibility. Employers need to provide more relevant information in job ads, and more in-house training. Training institutions need to develop better communication with industries to ensure their curriculum is relevant and up-to-date.

For ideas on how to skill up your staff visit www.tafensw.edu.au/business

Check out the Skills Audit, conducted by Cessnock City Council’s Economic Development unit, which contains vital statistics about training and skill gaps relevant to our region. Skills Audit – Link here.