Skills Gap: Myth or Reality?

By December 10, 2014 No Comments

By: Maurice Gilbert

none of the aboveMany employers have faced this scenario at one time or another: they have a need for a certain type of professional (ideally with a specific degree, so many years of experience and a particular skill set), but any and all candidate searches come up empty.

CareerBuilder published a report earlier this year that stated that “more than half of employers nationwide have an open job for which they cannot find qualified candidates, and eight in 10 have difficulty filling positions altogether.”  It might seem as though organizations are currently facing the added challenge of overcoming a skills gap – a shortage of the right kind of professionals in the job market.

But that may not be the case at all.  In fact, some wonder whether the skills gap even exists, particularly at this scale.  Inc.com business writer Cait Murphy suggests there’s no such thing as the skills gap for the labor force as a whole.  Employers’ difficulty in finding suitable candidates might be due in large part to their being entirely too picky.

If companies are too rigid about the depth of experience a candidate must bring to the table, the credentials he boasts, the size of his portfolio, and so on and so forth, they may have dreamed up the perfect candidate, yes; but in the process, they may have set a standard that cannot be met in reality.  At least not in a reasonable time frame, anyway.  The danger here is leaving a critical position unfilled for an extended period of when there are perfectly able candidates available to man the role and begin advancing the company’s goals.

Should your firm face what seems to be a shortage of qualified candidates, consider long and hard whether its expectations are unreasonable – is the problem truly a lack of talent out there, or a failure on the company’s part to recognize top talent when it sees it?


Maurice GilbertMaurice Gilbert is Managing Partner of Conselium Executive Search, which specializes in placing Compliance Officers and Legal Counsel for clients in the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific.  Maurice is also CEO of Corporate Compliance Insights, a worldwide publication devoted to governance, risk and compliance issues. Maurice can be reached at maurice@conselium.com or maurice@corporatecomplianceinsights.com.

Published by Conselium Executive Search, the global leader in compliance search.  

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