June 18, 2024

Resolving the talent shortage with a skills-based approach

4 min read

According to Statista, more than half of global organisations have hit the skills shortage roadblock, and it has fundamentally affected their business. Although the percentage has dropped from 70% in 2022 to 54% in 2023, there remains a need for organisations to find people who can plug the holes with skills that are relevant and revolutionary – because the cost to the business is too high.

The International Data Corporation (IDC) found that the skills gap cost is more than $6.5 trillion in missed product releases, poor competitiveness, and lower customer satisfaction.

Mandla Mbonambi, CEO of Africonology, believes companies need to find a better way of creating a talented workforce that allows both organisation and employee to thrive.

“Focusing on the people you have within your business and providing them with the opportunity to upskill or reskill is a smart move,” he says. “Adopting a skills-based approach means your employees are receiving the support and development they need to thrive within your organisation. It also means you are creating skills pathways that allow employees to move into other roles that may be more urgent or relevant to the company. By allowing for ongoing skills and employee development, you are building a talented workforce that is agile, engaged and committed.”

The skills-based approach is also a way of creating a more agile workforce, which is far more sustainable for the organisation, as you can now fit employees to the demand. As the IDC says, a holistic culture of learning is important – and this is echoed by the World Economic Forum, which states that a skills-first approach can improve diversity, upward mobility, flexibility and employee retention.

It provides employees with a road to better positions within the organisation – positions they might have not been eligible for, or even thought of applying for, and it allows for companies to access talent that previously might have been overlooked.

“A skills-based approach is a smarter way of resolving the talent crunch,” says Mbonambi. “In addition to filling gaps in the business and reducing the cost of talent limitations, it allows you to create a relevant, skilled workforce. These individuals may not have degrees or have gone to a university, but they have proven their abilities in coding, DevOps [a partnership between software development and IT operations, which emphasises communication, collaboration and integration], security or artificial intelligence. By providing them with additional training and support, they become invaluable assets to your business.”

Companies have already shown a trend toward becoming more reliant on non-traditional workers for skills and roles that are considered high-value. A Deloitte analysis back in 2022 identified the trend. It highlighted how it is an approach that places value on a person’s ability to learn and grow rather than on how many certificates they own.

Again with Deloitte, in another analysis of workplace trends, the company found that businesses are becoming more reliant on non-traditional workers for skills and roles that are considered high-value and of strategic importance. It is a forward-thinking approach that puts value on a person’s ability to learn, grow and engage in continuous professional skills development rather than on their status.

“Companies need to capture and hold the right talent,” says Mbonambi. “Organisations will likely lose people who want more autonomy and flexibility if they don’t offer skills development pathways and internal opportunities.”

The same principle applies to collaborating with a third-party company that specialises in high-end DevOps or security. Is your service provider taking a skills-based approach to the development of its talent?

The best people should be working on your projects because the company has attracted a wide range of people who fill the roles with expertise and talent. This is particularly true of highly complex and in-demand skill sets such as DevOps. Having access to an exceptional talent pool of people who have the opportunity to constantly evolve their abilities and expand their knowledge is a huge relief for companies that are facing high costs (in-house DevOps can be expensive) and slow transformation journeys thanks to limited skills and DevOps complexity.

“Attracting and finding skilled people should be a part of a DevOps company’s skill set,” concludes Mbonambi. “If the organisation isn’t capturing the attention of well-rounded and skilled individuals, then it isn’t going to meet your DevOps needs. So, perhaps the biggest skills trend for 2024 isn’t the type of skills that are needed, but rather how companies nurture and capture those skilled individuals.”

Moving into a year fractured by politics, economics and complicated market conditions, it’s time to ditch the traditional and hard-bitten approaches to talent and instead embrace the potential of skills-based service delivery within an organisation which puts expertise ahead of paper.

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