The Skills Gap
The U.S. economy is a complex machine influenced by many variables. Often times we hear about the skills gap that exists in reference to recent graduates being pumped out of the college and university system without the skills needed in the areas of demand in the labor market. Areas of high demand have increasingly been related to programming with the boom of web 2.0 technologies, app development, the influence of cloud computing and the fact that society is increasingly mobile. What we hear less of is the current labor force. We have many different generations working from Baby Boomers to Millennials. What about the people currently in the workforce? Do they have the skills required to keep companies competitive? When “experts” identify the solution to the skills gap, they often refer to training those in the college environment but isn’t training also the solution for those currently working? Just think for a second about how much the world has changed in the past 5 years. It’s hard to keep up unless you are continuously training yourself and unless companies demonstrate a commitment to training their own employees, it is rare when employees takes it upon themselves to do so. Of all the training needs, what do companies prioritize? What do they want most?
Companies Want Leaders
I know – it sounds obvious or perhaps cliche but companies really do want leaders. A new survey by Global Novations, revealed that 60.8% of employer respondents indicated that developing the next generation of leaders was their top training priority for 2012. Strengthening employee engagement and addressing skills gaps for critical roles were the number two and number three priorities. The survey also revealed that the majority of companies indicated they planned on using self-paced, online learning delivery and blended delivery over other methods. Another indicator of the importance of social media was that when asked what methods of content delivery for informal learning methods would be used in 2012, 38.3% of respondents indicated they would use social networking. Given the turmoil businesses have had in the last few years during this poor economy, one has to wonder if the surge in the interest for developing the next generation of leaders was inspired by the lack of leadership from so many in the existing generation. We are at a critical point in our economy where businesses need to completely retool their infrastructure to prepare for a new economic reality and they need to prepare the people who will lead the transition. Leadership training is essential to developing highly adaptable talent cultures that can rapidly respond to the fastest evolving technology-driven economy we have ever seen.
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