In the current tight labour market, the challenge for businesses extends beyond merely sourcing candidates. It's about finding individuals with the specific skills to excel in their roles while ensuring the existing workforce isn't lagging in key competencies.
As every recruiter knows, attracting candidates with your job posts doesn’t necessarily guarantee a pool of sufficiently skilled workers. This disparity, known as the “skills gap”, is a significant concern that can deeply impact a business's success.
With the future of work constantly evolving, artificial intelligence (AI) could be a game-changer in addressing skills gaps. Here’s what you need to know about skills gaps and how AI can provide solutions.
What is a skills gap?
When we talk about skills gaps, we're referring to a situation where not only job candidates but also existing employees fall short of the necessary skills to meet the demands of their roles. This issue is becoming more and more common in our fast-paced economy. The gap isn't just in technical skills; it also includes vital “soft skills” such as written communication and leadership. The skills gap can affect a company's productivity, innovation and growth, emphasising the need for continuous learning and development alongside strategic hiring practices.
The consequences of a skills gap
In a recent study, Wiley Education Services identified the following ways that a skills gap might impact company success:
- Reduced productivity: An understaffed team means less work gets done and deadlines get missed. Managers might have to roll up their sleeves and pick up the slack.
- Inconsistent performance: Employees lacking the necessary skills could underperform, creating work that doesn't hit the mark. This can have a ripple effect, putting important projects in jeopardy.
- Dipping profits: A shortage in skills could translate to a dip in sales, affecting the company's bottom line.
- Struggling to keep pace: Companies grappling with skills gaps might lose their competitive edge, especially if rivals have successfully bridged their own skills gaps.
Can AI solve your skills gaps?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic for businesses across the globe, with the launch of user-friendly platforms like ChatGPT placing the technology firmly in the mainstream. Put simply, AI leverages technologies like machine learning and natural language processing to mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind. Here are three areas in which AI can help businesses overcome their skills gaps:
- Recruiting: AI can be a game changer for recruiters who spend countless hours writing detailed job descriptions, scouting talent across multiple platforms and scanning resumes. With AI and machine-learning tools, these tasks can be at least partially automated. AI can even analyse a candidate's soft skills to help pinpoint top contenders. A February 2022 survey from the Society of Human Resources Management found that 79% of employers use AI and/or automation for recruitment and hiring.
- AI-driven internal mobility and upskilling: AI doesn't just assist in external recruitment, but also evaluates existing workforce skills, facilitating internal mobility. Using AI, companies can identify employees ready for upskilling or reskilling, thereby filling vacancies internally and fostering growth. Used in this way, AI is a powerful tool for addressing skills gaps from within.
- Operations: AI algorithms can analyse vast amounts of data and perform tasks swiftly and accurately. When AI takes on repetitive or mundane tasks, employees can spend more time on strategic initiatives. AI is being used to streamline business operations like data analysis, supply chain management and chatbot programs.
AI implementation: potential challenges
AI technology is in its infancy, and businesses may face unexpected challenges or risks when implementing AI. Before you go all in, take note of the following barriers.
- Data privacy: Privacy is top-of-mind in the digital world, and AI programs can be a target for cybercriminals. Many AI algorithms require extensive amounts of personal data, and without effective cybersecurity practices, data could fall into the wrong hands.
- Customer trust: Consumers are wary of misinformation when AI is used in business. According to Forbes Advisor survey data, 76% of respondents expressed concern about AI seeding misinformation on a business’s website. The survey authors encourage firms to focus on accuracy and trustworthiness.
- Bias and discrimination: The current generation of AI systems are only as good as the data they are trained on. If the source data is biased, the AI results will be as well. This might lead to discriminatory decisions based on gender, race or socioeconomic status.
- Intellectual rights: If AI is used to create products or generate designs, the question of ownership can become murky. A business owner might end up in court, facing an expensive battle over intellectual property rights.
Page Outsourcing: your skills gap solution
While AI certainly boosts recruitment efforts, it works best when combined with the human insight and intuition that Page Outsourcing brings to the table. We understand that businesses might be strapped for time or lack the necessary resources to fully exploit technology — and that's precisely where our experts step in. Harnessing the power of AI and other recruitment technologies, our global team offers comprehensive, end-to-end talent solutions that can be scaled up and down based on your needs.
To learn more about how Page Outsourcing can revolutionise your recruitment processes, contact us today and take the first step towards a more efficient, tech-driven approach to talent acquisition.
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