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4 ways your company is contributing to the IT skills gap

Sharon Florentine | Nov. 13, 2014
If you're an IT or HR manager, you already know there's a major disconnect between the skills, knowledge and experience your organization needs and the availability of those skills in the current talent pool.

From Leung's perspective, it's a matter of taking the long view and deciding where to invest. "It might take you a year to find that 'perfect' person, and then, once you do, you're probably going to get into a bidding war for them. If they're that good, you can be sure they'll have other offers. Or, you could find a younger, less experienced person who's hungry and eager to learn, train them and mold them to be the kind of employee you want in just a few months. Where do you want to put your money? ," say Leung.

Failing to Focus on Education and Training

Most employers are seeking to get the skills they need through hiring, and a significant part of those skills appears to come from work experience, according to Cappelli. This is even more so as opportunities for training and apprenticeships have dried up over the last few decades.

"Credible evidence on employer-provided training in the U.S. is remarkably hard to come by, especially recently. The data we do have suggests that in 1979, young workers received on average about 2.5 weeks of training per year. By 1991, Census data found only 17 percent of all employees reporting that they received any formal training that year. Several surveys of employers around 1995 indicate that somewhere between 42 and 90 percent of employers offered some training (the lower number indicating more programmatic training) with the amount of training an individual received per year averaging just under 11 hours," says Cappelli revealing data accumulated for a forthcoming paper written for the Industry and Labor Relations Review (ILR Review).

The above data is now almost 20-years-old, and there is little new information from government sources. "In 2011, Accenture surveyed U.S. employees and found that only 21 percent had received any employer-provided formal training in the past five years. To be clear, that means almost 80 percent had no training in five years, and no doubt many of those had no training in the years before that, either," says Cappelli.

Formal internal training has been on the decline. "In the past, there used to be a lot of on-the-job training opportunities, but those have dried up significantly as companies try and cut budgets," says Sunil Sani, co-founder of recruiting and staffing firm CareerGlider.

Employers are expecting today's IT professional to take up the slack. "Nowadays, companies are expecting employees to join the workforce with those skills already in place without having any infrastructure in place to train for the skills they need, but that's just not happening," says Sani.

While independent programming boot camps and e-learning providers are helping candidates help themselves gain valuable tech skills employers should consider investing in internal education programs and courses to foster talent and grow it from within.


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