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Did you have a hard time filling job openings in 2018? If so, you’re not alone.

According to The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), more than four out of five companies are experiencing the same thing. To be sure, the high level of employment is a major contributor, but according to SHRM’s 2019 State of the Workplace report, those doing the recruiting are blaming a lack of skills.

The national report indicates that trade skills are the hardest to find, while problem-solving seems to be the biggest problem on the soft-skill side. Many employers seem ready to take matters into their own hands.

“Many organizations are taking steps to address the skills gap and maintain a high-quality workforce, but are they taking the right steps? Not every remedy to the skills shortage is effective, and even those that are highly effective for some positions aren’t right for all difficult-to-fill positions,” SHRM says.

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The most effective remedies cited include:

  • Providing onsite training to employees (e.g., seminars, training programs)
  • Starting/expanding training programs to help improve skills of new hires
  • Hiring external workforce (e.g., temps, independent contractors)

Interestingly, these are not necessarily the most common remedies.  They are:

  • Expanding advertising efforts (e.g., using social media, expanding search regions)
  • Collaborating with educational institutions to build talent pipelines
  • Outsourcing recruiting efforts (e.g., using a third-party staffing agency)

SHRM suggests a more comprehensive approach, as half of the study’s respondents say the education system is not doing enough.

“To address the skills shortage, the United States needs a world-class, highly skilled workforce. This will require training workers, collaborating with educational institutions to improve graduate employability, and competing globally for top talent,” the report states.

“Foreign-born talent is a necessary complement to the U.S. workforce as businesses become increasingly interconnected globally,” it says. “The studies described in this report begin the exploration of the skills gap and foreign-born talent’s role in lessening recruiting.”

Read more.