Have you noticed the skills gap in your organization yet? Many companies are having to change up their training and documentation approach to combat the loss of knowledge that goes with long time employees leaving. But there’s more than one reason the skills gap is occurring, and it’s important to completely understand how it will affect your organization. Keep reading to learn more about why the skills gap is an ongoing concern and what you can do to combat it.
What is Causing the Emerging Skills Gap?
There are two different factors that are causing the emerging skills gap (and have been for the past 20 years!). These include:
Fewer Employees in the Workforce
The big reason the skills gap is an ongoing concern is the number of Baby Boomers that are retiring, or have already retired. By 2035, the youngest of the Baby Boomers will be turning 71 years old and there will be very few who continue to work.
In addition, with COVID-19, many were involuntarily pushed out of the workspace or into early retirement. Half of adults 55 and older in the United States are now retired. And in just 5 years, Millennials and Generation Z-ers will outnumber Baby Boomers in the workforce for the first time.
Different Expectations Among Generations
Another reason for the ongoing skills gap is due to different motivations and expectations among generations. While Baby Boomers as a generation are typically motivated by company loyalty, duty, and teamwork, Millennials are more motivated by the quality of their manager, unique work experiences, and responsibilities. And Generation Z is more motivated by creativity, individuality, personalization, and diversity.
As a result of these different views on work, many companies are not currently offering the workspace desired by Millennials and Generation Z and are instead still focusing on what Baby Boomers want. Many of the younger generations leave their jobs in search of better positions due to things like lack of engagement from management, inflexible work schedules, and lack of training.
Learn more about this topic in another blog post titled: What Motivates Different Generations?
How Will the Skills Gap Affect Your Organization?
If your organization isn’t taking steps to combat the growing skills gap, you could be falling behind the competition. Some companies are seeing lost experiential knowledge, lost revenue, lack of growth, inability to hire new workers, inability to keep up with demand, and safety concerns.
Lost Experiential Knowledge
One of the biggest and most noticeable effects of the skills gap is the lost experiential knowledge that comes with Baby Boomers leaving the workforce. As older employees retire, if their knowledge isn’t retained somehow within the company, they’re taking that knowledge with them. How much of your necessary business operation knowledge is going out the door as your oldest workers retire?
Inability to Hire New Employees
If companies are not offering the perks, benefits, and work environment that Millennials and Generation Z are looking for, they could see a severe issue with hiring. They’ll be unable to attract top tier talent, and then the employees they do manage to bring on won’t stay for long if the environment isn’t what they wanted or expected.
Lost Revenue and Lack of Growth
If an organization is unable to fill those jobs, there are two additional consequences that come into play: the inability to increase revenue growth and the inability to maintain production levels that satisfy demand. As a result, production cannot keep up, they’re unable to respond to new opportunities that can aid with growth, and new technologies can’t be implemented. And this effect snowballs – with lost opportunities, it can continue to be even more difficult to hire and retain top talent.
Lack of Worker Safety
The generational gap also has a large impact on workplace safety, mostly due to the lost experience and first-hand safety knowledge. As your oldest employees retire, they’re not able to train the newcomers or be on site as they learn how to do their jobs. One-on-one support is a necessity for many fields, and if new employees don’t have adequate safety training, organizations can see an increase in workplace incidents.
What Can Businesses Do To Close the Skills Gap?
To close the skills gap, organizations should take a few different steps, including:
- Collecting and recording experiential knowledge
- Implementing industry recommended practices
- Developing the next generations’ skill sets
Are you curious what steps your company can begin to take today to improve profits, increase safety, head towards growth, and close the skills gap in your workforce? Download our White Paper on Next Generation Leadership to learn more about what’s causing the skills gap, how it’s affecting organizations, and what you can do now to close that gap once and for all. Daryl Brister, since the publication of this whitepaper, started his own company: Competency Consultancy Solutions. However, the information, data, and findings are valid and worth a read!
Documentation is key to closing the skills gap. If you are currently writing documentation for your company, we can help! Contact us for an estimate! We have decades of writing experience in the Energy Industry. Check out a few of our case studies here.