What is skills shortage really?

I read so much about skills shortage. Every nation seems to face it. Every business leader frets about it. HR is frustrated that it is not able to fill the open positions.

When I think about it, skills shortage is not shortage of skills as such, but shortage of ability to hire.

Let us say, I want to buy a better car and I don’t have the money to buy it. Can I say that there are shortage of cars and because of that I have not been able to buy a car? This is one of the things that happens in a company situation. A particular profile is desired to fill a particular position. And this profile has several attributes to it – skills, education, experience and very importantly the salary that can be paid. It could very well happen that there are profiles that are available in the market but the company is unable to hire at the market price or rather it is not willing to hire the best that is available at the price it is able to offer.

So it says it has positions that are not filled and there is a skills shortage.

It is human nature to aspire for more. After all we all want the best. But in the real lives of ours we tone it down by practical considerations such as what is available, what we can afford, what resources we have and such. In the case of recruitment in the organizations, unfortunately such considerations are not well imposed. Who owns recruitment? Who is finally responsible for a position not being filled? Is it the recruitment team or is it the Hiring Manager’s. And so when the desires are toned down, they remain unfulfilled and so we say we have shortage.

Skills resources AD

Then there is another reason why we have skills shortage. And this one is interesting. It is actually that the demand is there. Let me take two instances. When IT service companies were booming they went to any college (A level of B level or C level) and hired in huge numbers. They had to fill positions and get as many people on board as business was there to be grabbed. And when the business is down and consequentially requirements are low, the same companies now say they are not hiring because there is shortage of skills they are looking for. They choose to go to only certain colleges because in other colleges the students are well skilled. How come the same college at one time was a good resource for skilled people and at another not a good resource?

Related: Root causing skills shortage


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