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What is The Skills Gap...Is It Real?

The skills gap is essentially a shortage of people skilled in a specific field of work such as STEM (science, technology, education, and math) industries. Some argue that this gap is simply not real while others would argue that is real, persistent and growing wider each year. We would tend to agree with the later sentiments. A skills gap can look different or unique to each individual depending on the line of work they are in. The STEM industry has some of the largest growth areas in the creation of new jobs available but is feeling the sting of not having enough qualified candidates to fill these newly created roles. Some companies are taking on more strategic, aggressive and results driven tactics to gain suitable employees.

In the US alone the skills gap has become quite substantial, according to The National Federation of Independent Business, 45 percent of small businesses reported that they were unable to find qualified applicants to fill job openings. In addition to the shortages of workers for jobs such as nurses, construction workers, truck drivers, oilfield workers, automotive technicians, industrial technicians, heavy equipment operators, computer network support specialists, web developers and insurance specialists. While non-profit organizations are also feeling the bite as they are also unable to attract and retain newly qualified candidates for their roles mainly due to their lower salary ranges compared to larger corporations.

The ISACA, a non-profit information security advocacy group, predicts there will be a global shortage of some 2 million cyber security professionals by 2019. With an additional 240,000 jobs for information security analysts and other cyber=security related roles going unfilled. Identifying the cause of this skills gap is difficult because there does not appear to be once specific contributing factor to this phenomenon. Youth and adolescents are struggling to enter the workforce due to lack of adequate education and training.

College graduates are finding their career fields lack hiring incentives, bonuses, and amazing work environments with premium benefits so they end up quitting thinking they can do better as a CEO and build a new start up only to experience the realities of the skills gap as an employer. Experienced workers in retail stores and factories now have higher unemployment rates forcing them into the gap. Retirees are choosing to come out of their retirement due to the steady incline in the cost of living.

So whats the cause of all this you ask? This amazing visual just about sums it all up pretty nicely.

What can we do? Closing the skills gap will likely involve a greater emphasis on training current and prospective workers. Investing in STEM training and education in areas of lower socioeconomic status. Business and Education professionals collaborating effectively to create alternative resources and platforms for students to develop specific skills targeted towards growing career fields. Another possible solution could be to hire international and oversees workers to fill available positions. This could potentially yield a higher employee retention level. There might never be a one size fits all solution but potentially a combination of several ideas could at least create a safety net.

The skills gap creates a domino effect directly impacting students, the labor force, employers, the economy and the global market overall. Find out how you can avoid falling into the skills gap, email us at

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