Why is there a workforce shortage, and what can I do to help?

The workforce shortage is a big topic of discussion across the country, and shows no signs of slowing down. Businesses everywhere are struggling to recruit and hire employees, despite the high levels of unemployment. So, what is causing this workforce shortage, and what can be done to help?

One of the causes we have seen for the workforce shortage is the skills gap, according to a study done by Joseph B. Fuller, Manjari Raman, Eva Sage-Gavin and Kristen Hines titled Hidden Workers: Untapped Talent. This gap generally consists of isolated workers, who for some reason or another were away from the workforce, and missed out on advancement training. In turn, it can be difficult for an unemployed candidate to find the resources they need to improve their skills, leaving them in the dust, more or less. Job postings have also come around to requiring “hybrid” skills. One in eight job postings now ask for skills that were previously attached to a different job title. This also continues to increase the skills gap, lessening the chances of an unemployed candidate getting the position.

Education can also be a cause for the workforce shortage, as less and less Americans are completing school, whether that be at the high school level or college. Without a diploma, or in some cases a degree or certification, this hidden talent can be overlooked due to “lack” of qualifications or, again, skills. This is not to say that those without a diploma or degree are unqualified, as many are willing to learn, or make up for it with experience in another way.

In some cases, employees are given no choice but to take steps back from their current position, due to becoming a caretaker, whether for a child or an elder. This could mean either cutting back hours, or leaving a role completely. The cost for care in both cases is high, and oftentimes out of budget for many. This then plays into the lack of skills, as jobs keep moving, and caregivers are staying home, out of the workforce, further increasing the workforce shortage, and the skills gap.

Finally, health alone can be a barrier to employment, whether that be mental health, physical health problems, or disabilities. In Hidden Workers: Untapped Talent, it states that employees find it difficult to find a job that allows balance between work and health issues. This can also be at fault of the employer, creating a difficult space for those with disabilities or developmental challenges.

In all of that, research shows people want to work. There isn’t necessarily a lack of people who want to work, but instead a lack of job opportunities they “qualify” for. This hidden talent often states feeling distressed or discouraged at applying for or beginning jobs, when it is something much easier for people without these barriers.

See how AxisU can help your company tap into the hidden talent HERE.

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