Canada is facing a critical skills gap crisis. Over the next ten years, nine out of 10 jobs will require digital skills. The economy has created a bidding war for talent with these critical skills, increasing the cost and risk of external recruitment. To meet skills demands both now and in the future, business leaders must look to the source by investing in their employees.
Hidden costs of the skills gap
A recent study by Forrester found that 70% of tech executives are turning to their in-house team to develop the technical skills necessary to meet changing demands, rather than hiring new talent. Enterprises are plagued by a shortage of talent with technical and analytical skills — skills that can be learned in-house in a matter of weeks.
Half (50 per cent) of CEOs list ‘skills shortage’ among the top issues they anticipate will disrupt their strategy over the next year. When essential tech functions and roles remain unfilled for long periods of time, it contributes to a painful cycle in the organization and its employees. Work piles up, deadlines are missed and employees face burnout. This cycle increases turnover — which heightens the pain and exacerbates the company’s skill-gap problem.
Building critical skills from within an organization is more cost-efficient and practical than hiring external talent. Today, hiring externally versus internally can cost as much as six times more. External hires also take longer to train and acclimate to the corporate culture. Additionally, they lack the priceless institutional knowledge of their internal counterparts.
It goes both ways, too. Employees want their employers to invest in their career development. Data collected from Salesforce found that a majority of the current and prospective workforce think they lack the proper digital skills to prepare them for the future of work. Employers must set their sights on their current team if they are searching for ways to fill their skills gaps.
The solution to the skills gap problem
There’s a win-win solution to break this cycle and prepare businesses and employees for the future: invest in your internal team. A rapidly growing number of enterprises are building a pool of job-ready talent with the critical skills these organizations need. By implementing internal upskilling programs, enterprises fill roles faster, increase team productivity, lower employee churn, and increase employee morale — all the while being more cost-efficient than hiring from outside the company.
Building skills in an internal academy
Investing in current employees is an adaptive approach for organizations to meet their digital skills demands. The most innovative enterprises are building internal academies to create this pool of qualified talent with the requisite skills.
At Lighthouse Labs, we’ve been helping leading telecom, financial, and manufacturing enterprises build this pool of job-ready talent at scale. We’ve partnered with organizations like the Bank of Montreal (BMO) to provide their employees with critical skills.
To successfully build an internal academy, here are six steps that companies looking to invest in their team should follow:
- Determine Your Talent Needs – What skills do you need in your workforce, and when do you need these skills?
- Build Your Business Case – Quantify how much this program may save money, increase productivity, and grow revenues.
- Identify Your Program Partners – What type of training do you need and who is best-suited to help you deliver it?
- Promote the Program – Ensure talent, hiring managers, and leaders are aware of this opportunity and understand how it could benefit them.
- Screen, Support, and Educate Candidates – Put the academy into action to support the development of internal talent.
- Drive Business Outcomes – Make sure the newly skilled talent find the right roles and opportunities, so they can drive business impact.
As technology continues to transform the future of work, organizations that invest in upskilling will succeed in meeting industry needs for highly-skilled workers, while also empowering their existing workforce to maximize their potential and achieve their professional goals.
Jeremy Shaki is the CEO of Lighthouse Labs, a skills development accelerator for the digital age. Since 2013, Lighthouse Labs has launched, accelerated, or transformed more than 40,000 careers in coding, cyber security, data science, and other in-demand fields critical in today’s technological economy.