Is there a real talent shortage?

Is there a real talent shortage?

Finding Talent

In the last months I have come across with several posts of relevant professionals talking about talent shortage. The subject is not new, we have been listening about the skills gap for a few years now. I wrote about the issue a while back, in June 2014 when I attended a talk in Barcelona- Spanish Labour Market in 2020-.

However let´s have a closer look, taking in consideration some data and experts´ opinions:

1.New Survey from career website Glassdoor and Harris Poll (2015)  Asked 515 human resources and business managers in the United States about their current hiring practices and concerns. Forty-eight percent of respondents said they are having trouble finding qualified candidates for open positions. A quarter said they only see the situation getting more challenging within the next year if the economy continues to improve.

2. Hiring Managers ‘and recruiters ‘belief (2016) Just about every consulting firm, CEO, hiring manager, and recruiter believes there is a significant shortage of qualified people for existing and emerging jobs. This belief is especially true for positions requiring engineering, science, computing, and math skills.

3. Randstad last research findings for the Spanish job market in 2020 (2016) In Spain, Randstad last research findings indicates that the country will need 1, 9 millions of highly qualified workers by 2020. This will be combined with a high level of unemployment for low qualified jobs and specialized profiles that are in less demand.

4. Experts sharing their opinions

Liz RyanThe Truth About The Talent Shortage

“There is no talent shortage. If employers were truly concerned about the way people come out of school equipped to work, they’d take a much more active role in our education systems than they do. They are certainly free to train people, and some start-ups do just that. It’s easier to train a Ruby on Rails developer from scratch than to hire one in some places.”

Kevin Wheeler talks about the 7 ways we created the talent shortage 

Belief is not data and the  data show that there is really no shortage of talent but rather a shortage of understanding and willingness to make a few changes and challenge our own thinking. Could it be that the perceived shortfall has been created by us as we attempted to adjust to a more complicated and evolving global economy?”

To acknowledge and understand these ways Kevin explains 7 trends:

  1. The need of credentials: employers have raised minimum job requirements to very high levels. Jobs that a decade ago required a certificate or less are now being filled by those with bachelor’s or even master’s degrees.
  2. Not Investing in Employee Development: eliminating most employee development programs, a standard feature in firms of all sizes in the past, resulted in no immediate impact but reduced the pipeline of skilled employees ready to move into open positions.
  3. No understanding supply & demand: Technically there is no shortage of STEM graduates in the United States. The U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics projects that the total number of STEM job openings between 2010-2020 will be slightly over 2.5 million, but the number of STEM graduates will exceed this number by over 1.3 million graduates.
  4. Limiting the Scope:  college recruiting practices have changed very little over the past 20 years or more. Most large companies recruit only at a handful of highly regarded universities, often called key schools.
  5. Not Embracing or Understanding Technology: robots will take over much manufacturing and engineering work within the next 20 years. Automation has already augmented and, in some cases, replaced engineers, reducing the need
  6. Biased, Intuition-based Hiring Decisions: bias runs in recruiting. Hiring managers and senior leaders have stereotypes about what good candidates should be like. They have beliefs about cultural background, education levels, schools people attended, grades they achieved, and activities they participated in. Recruiters, too, tend to weed out candidates who do not fit their own biases.
  7. Older people can´t code: anyone over 45 who has been looking for a job has almost certainly woken up to the reality of age bias in hiring. Firms like to hire young people for a variety of reasons, some of them with some legitimacy but most based on prejudice and misunderstanding.

Taking in consideration the 7 ways mentioned by Kevin Wheeler, I feel that some of the trends can be applied to the Spanish job market. Having being recently in touch with candidates in recruitment processes- it´s clear that bias, limiting scope when looking for the right candidate and age restrictions are applicable-. Also when looking for certain type of roles where proven experience and skills are key, specific credentials are cutting down potential candidates.

Another issue that needs to be highlighted is the need of improving hiring processes where appropriate on the job tests and competency-based or strength-based interviews can provide the employer with more accurate data. By not making the best use of the people we already have, limiting our scope and not addressing bias issues we will always navigate away from the real talent.

In conclusion, as Judith Rodin mentions in Linkedin Pulse  “Not Just a Skills Gap: Outdated Hiring Practices Screen Out Hidden Talent” “The real gap is actually one of perception” 






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