Hiring & Retention
April 11, 2024

How Staffing Firms Can Help Identify & Address Skill Gaps

No matter what industry you’re in, today’s business climate calls for an adaptable, highly-skilled workforce. Yet as new technologies emerge and worker demands continue to shift, many companies are struggling with a noticeable skills gap that’s left them ill-prepared for the future. 

According to a survey from Salary.com, 74% of organizations polled said it’s more difficult today to attract qualified candidates than it was in the past. The inability to fill roles with the right people has the potential to set companies back in their plans for growth, leaving them vulnerable to their competition. 

Fortunately, staffing firms can play a pivotal role in both identifying and addressing these skill gaps—read on to discover how. 

Key industries facing skill gaps

Before we get into ways staffing firms can identify and address skill gaps, it’s helpful to know some of the top industries facing this challenge. Though many businesses are dealing with ongoing staffing shortages, here are some of the key sectors grappling with skill gaps overall:

  • Insurance. The U.S. insurance industry faces a serious shortage of skilled workers, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating that the industry could lose around 400,000 workers by 2026. Experts point to data analytics, digital marketing, and cybersecurity as skills that will become increasingly in-demand for the insurance field in the years to come.
  • Manufacturing & Construction: As of February 2024, there were roughly 600,000 open manufacturing jobs; for construction, that number sits at an estimated 439,000. The Manufacturing Institute estimates that upwards of 2 million manufacturing jobs may go unfilled by 2030 if workers do not pursue careers in the field.

  • Retail. The advent of ecommerce and omnichannel shopping has created the need for retail workers to have more skills in fields like data analysis and digital marketing in order to broaden their understanding of online purchasing behavior. Many retail workers don’t have these skills yet, creating a mismatch between available candidates and required capabilities.

  • Tech. According to a recent Robert Half survey, 95% of technology managers are finding it difficult to hire enough skilled talent. Thanks to the rapid acceleration of AI-based technologies and new cybersecurity threats, businesses are finding it harder to recruit enough talent with adequate training in these areas. 

One thing that the skills gaps in these industries have in common? They underscore the  increased need for workers with up-to-date training on new technologies in analytics, marketing, and cybersecurity. 

Strategies for staffing firms to identify skill gaps

Staffing firms are always thinking of how to find the right candidate for the job in order to keep their customers happy. But they can go a step further in helping fill more roles by spotting potential skill gaps early on—both with an organization’s existing workforce and when screening potential new candidates.

1. Perform a competitive analysis

When working with a new company, staffing firms can create a visual map of all the desired skills needed within that organization and compare this to competitor profiles or industry standards. This may help identify other unseen gaps in a company’s workforce, allowing staffing firms to better screen for skills their clients may not even know they need to stay competitive.

2. Examine current employee performance

Staffing firms can also analyze current employee performance at an organization to measure potential patterns of underperformance or areas where there may be unidentified skills gaps.

3. Provide comprehensive skills assessments—and look for potential

Once staffing firms have a better understanding of what skill gaps exist for their clients, they can focus on screening potential candidates with more precision. Not only should staffing firms understand what each candidate’s current skills are, but what new skills they’d like to learn and what current skills might be enhanced through additional certification or training.

Strategies for staffing firms to address and solve skill gaps

Once staffing firms have mapped skill gaps within an organization and begun screening potential hires, they can look for  potential reskilling and upskilling opportunities. This ensures that they provide a bigger pool of qualified talent for their clients, helping them close the skills gaps within their organization. 

1. Provide access to experts + apprenticeships

Staffing firms can rely on their networks of experts and trained professionals to pair potential hires with the right person to upskill or reskill them for employment. Especially when it comes to soft skills like written or verbal communication, staffing firms may be able to connect candidates with coaches, mentors, or other consultants who can help them expand these skills in order to be better suited for a role. Staffing firms might also encourage or facilitate apprenticeships, which are having a resurgence according to the Department of Labor, and can help a potential candidate become certified in something new.

2. Lean into tech training

It’s no surprise that one of the biggest contributing factors to skill gaps is the advent of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and data analysis. According to a recent survey from Deloitte, 68% of executives report a moderate-to-extreme skills gap in AI alone. Staffing firms that can help upskill potential candidates and update them on the latest tech will be better positioned to help place these candidates in new roles. There are tons of online classes and certifications people can explore these days; encouraging potential candidates to take these on can help them become a better fit for your clients. 

3. Keep collaboration and communication ongoing

Throughout the hiring process, staffing firms are wise to keep the lines of communication open with their clients in order to find the best possible candidates for the roles required. Through close collaboration with company leaders, firms can even design tailor-made programs that prep new hires with the specific skills needed to succeed at a company.

Why the best staffing firms are ready to help clients bridge skill gaps

Staffing firms are critical in providing a wider pool of qualified candidates to companies in search of that perfect fit. By performing comprehensive skills analysis and screening on both the company and candidate side—and finding ways to upskill and reskill candidates before they apply for a job, staffing firms can help match even more skilled workers with companies in need.

Continue reading