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12 October 2023


Reed Talent Solutions’ Solutions Director, Louise Reed, analyses how organisations can address their skills gaps and futureproof their talent acquisition strategy.

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Businesses in the United Kingdom are facing chronic skills shortages. 

A Reed Talent Solutions survey of 1,000 hiring managers found 77 per cent believed it was either very, or somewhat likely, that a lack of access to workers equipped with the skill sets they need will restrict growth within their businesses in the next three years. It also revealed 80 per cent think there is a significant gap between the skills held by their workforce and those needed to meet their business goals. 

To confront such extreme skills shortages, organisations must find a way to tap into new sources of talent. 

In this article, our Solutions Director, Louise Reed, examines the benefits of upskilling and reskilling within your organisation, and how utilising new talent can help you achieve your long-term business objectives to take your organisation forward. 

Q: What does it mean to futureproof talent acquisition? 

A: Businesses are facing bigger challenges than ever before, not least because – especially in the UK – we are faced with fewer people in their workforce than previously, but also that coupled with the speed of technological change, means there are huge skills gaps emerging, and that’s not going away. 

Businesses are really focused on their commercial and their business strategies for the next five and the next 10 years, but if your future talent strategy doesn’t mirror that, how are you going to reach those business objectives. 

Q: What practical measures can organisations take to do this? 

A: The number one thing that a business can do right now is to take a look internally at your current workforce, and if you haven’t done it already do a skills audit. 

In practical terms, what that means is work out what skills you have in your workforce and what can you do with your current workforce to make sure they are upskilled or equipped with the skills they need in order to fulfil those gaps. 

That will in itself produce some gaps and that’s where you need to look at ways to plug those gaps. Then you can look at different models and different ways of looking at your recruitment strategy to make sure you are fulfilling what you need. 

Q: Where does our Recruit, train, deploy solution fall within this? 

A: Recruit, train, deploy is just one solution that an organisation should have in their armoury when it comes to future talent strategy. 

Effectively, what it does is take emerging talent, new talent, hidden talent and equip them with the skills that they need to be successful, deploy them into an organisation on a programme of work typically for 18 to 24 months during which time the individual is given mentorship and ongoing skills development to get them up to speed where they need to be. 

By the end of the programme, they can then transfer to the organisation free of charge. Typically, these individuals are then much more engaged because they have been invested in and are far more likely to stay with the organisation for the long term. 

Q: What are the benefits of focusing on skills, along with upskilling and reskilling, to futureproof your company strategy? 

A: First of all, it is really cost effective. Organisations now are grappling with rising pay pressures linked not least to inflation in the market, so attrition costs are rising, the cost of recruitment is rising because people are wanting higher salaries. 

So, to recruit from within an emerging talent marketplace really gives you that edge because you are able to pay these people slightly less than you would a contractor, but also the investment in training and everything else reduces attrition in the long term.  

That’s the first thing – there's a clear cost saving – but in terms of other benefits, social value is a big one. You are giving back to a different marketplace. You are attracting talent who ordinarily would never have had the opportunity to come into your organisation. 

It gives organisations a different slant when it comes to thinking about, for instance, their diversity programmes. 

Q: How can reskilling help organisations with talent acquisition?  

A: The organisations which are seeing great success and making headway with their talent shortages are the ones that are recruiting for skills, rather than experience. 

For many people this can feel like a really bold move. What I would is for organisation which are looking to trial something like this is look at one part of your organisation first and see how a programme might work.  

And working with an organisation which runs a recruit, train, deploy programme can help. For instance, take one area of your tech and digital team, work with some services programme or similar, where we’ve got huge talent shortages and high costs of attrition. 

One organisation we are working with really wanted to drive deeper and more empathetic conversations with their customers, but also to increase age diversity in their team, so went out with a specific programme designed to attract candidates with adjacent skills but give them the skills they need to be successful, and that’s really helped to drive their customer satisfaction scores, really impacted their bottom line in the business in terms of the scores they are measured against but also has given huge social value into the communities in which they operate. 

Our recruit, train, deploy solution is designed to attract, reskill or upskill, and deploy new talent, learn more about how it can work for you on our dedicated page. 

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