A skills gap is the variance between the skills offered at the workforce and the skills required by the employer. A skills gap analysis is a tool used to determine the training and/or hiring requirements of an employee, group of the organization. The analysis helps in revealing the variances between the existing and the required skill levels, as well as identifying the best strategies to close the gap or reduce the variations.
The primary tools used to assess the current skill levels include questionnaires, performance assessments, group discussions, and interviews. On the other hand, the company goals and projections, as well as their long-term development plans give an idea of the desired skill levels.
Identification of employees’ training requirements and how those needs can be met assists managers in time management, work planning, and budget considerations. With good employee training system, there is usually a good level of job satisfaction among the employees and the human resources are optimized, thus improving the production levels and the overall company success level.
How to perform a skills gap analysis
Step 1: Planning
Skills gap analysis can be performed at two levels:
Individual – you can identify the skills required for a particular job, and then compare them to the actual skill level of an employee.
Team/organization – you can check whether your employees have the skills needed for a particular project or you need to source these skills externally.
Step 2: Identifying the essential skills
The skills required can be easily identified by answering the following questions:
Which skills does the company value?
Which skills do the employees require to do their jobs both now and in the future?
Step 3: Measuring the current skills
You can use the following to measure the existing skills:
Assessments and surveys
Performance reviews feedback
Skills analysis software (such as TrackStar and Skills DB Pro), that significantly reduces the time taken during the skills gap analysis.
Step 4: Taking action on the data
There are two ways in which the skill gaps can be filled – either with training or with hiring. You can, therefore, determine which approach works best for the specific skill gap.
Most companies train their employees to fill vacant positions. The right training helps in closing the gap between the present and the desired skill levels. Companies can engage the services of professional training firms to train their employees.
If training cannot reduce the skills gap, a company can consider hiring new employees with the necessary knowledge and skills.