How Creative Employers Can Overcome the Talent Shortage


Today’s employers are faced with a new kind of challenge when it comes to hiring the best and brightest talent. Although many people are out of work, there are a growing number of open positions that require specific skills. And the individuals with these skills -- skilled trade workers, engineers, IT staff, mechanics, etc. -- are in top demand. There are just not enough workers with the right skills to fill open positions, and ManpowerGroup’s seventh annual Talent Shortage Survey reveals that 49 percent of U.S. employers are struggling to fill open positions. But there are progressive actions that employers of all sizes can take to secure the right talent for future productivity. Two simple considerations can be effective: identifying transferable skills from both internal and external candidates, and using creativity to put people in the right positions.

Identify Transferable Skills

To address this talent shortage, employers must move away from a “stopgap” hiring mentality and address the bigger picture of how to attract and retain quality talent for the long term. First, identify current employees with transferable skill sets for existing and future job openings. Second, expand the talent pool by identifying and recruiting candidates with transferable skills from other industries. For example, many skills required within engineering and accounting can be applied to different industries. This holds true for sales reps and marketing professionals as well. Candidates may lack specific industry knowledge, but their skill sets often already support the technical requirements of roles. Employers must broaden their mindsets when it comes to hiring.

Use Creativity to Develop Best Talent

Entrepreneurs understand creativity, and applying creative vision to workforce models can produce effective results. By re-examining the assets that are right in front of them, employers can oftentimes find immediate solutions to hiring challenges. We refer to this as the “race horses pulling plows” challenge. It’s vital that employers ensure their workforce’s potential is used intelligently and profitably. In the same way a farmer wouldn’t use a race horse to plow his field, employers must seek out untapped skills to build strong, prosperous workforces. The challenge becomes apparent when corporations need to attract junior talent, but only have highly skilled and technical roles available. As a result, potential stars are working in maintenance roles when their skill set could be better utilized elsewhere. By shifting this talent upwards, employers can free up the more process-focused roles that are suitable for junior talent and allow them to hone their craft. Ultimately, a creative approach to hiring can help employers build from within.

Employers need to take a long-term view of their talent management strategies and identify those transferable skills within their current workforce to utilize existing talent and create the most valuable path of development for future workforces. Those employers adopting a more creative approach to optimizing workforce skills will be in a stronger position to ensure their next-generation of staff is skilled, stable and engaged.

Jeremy Mahan is director of sales for the Midwest division of Manpower, the global leader in contingent and permanent recruitment workforce solutions.

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