New research published by Accenture confirms that many employers are experiencing a lack of access to appropriately skilled workers, paticularly in the areas of technology and R&D, but according to Ryan Shanks, managing director of Accenture’s Talent & Organisation practice in Ireland, employers themselves can be part of the solution.
In research conducted for Accenture by Amárach Research, 100 large and medium employers in Ireland were surveyed, and 1,000 of the general population, and key findings confirmed a disconnect between the skills that employees and job seekers possess and the skills that employers need now – and will in three years’ time. Indeed, some 71pc of employers surveyed in Ireland indicate that lack of access to appropriately skilled workers will impact their ability to grow their businesses.
Almost half of employers said they require science, engineering and maths (49pc) and but only 14pc of the population surveyed indicated they had those skills, and there are further gaps looming in technology and R&D, according to the research. More than half (56pc) of employers surveyed indicate the most important skills in three years will be technology skills but just fewer than a third (32pc) of the population indicate they possess technology skills.
The Accenture report, Closing the Skills Gap in Ireland: Employers at the Heart of the Solution, suggests that employers can play a much more pro-active role in meeting this skills challenge through, for example, retraining existing employees and creating a pipeline of skilled employees who can flexibly work in different parts of their organisations.
“What we believe many employers are really experiencing is a blocked skills pipeline,” says Shanks. “Employers now need to make a step change in how they manage and develop their people so that there is a strategic road map for developing entry-level employees right up to leadership levels."
“A better skilled workforce can be achieved more cost effectively with smarter matching of people and roles,” says Shanks. “We often counsel organisations to invest in tailored training and provide opportunities for job exchanges to foster an environment in which the best talent remains loyal. This will ensure an improved ‘talent flow’ through the organisation, which can help address the future skills challenge that Irish employers face.”
At Silicon Republic’s Future Jobs Forum on 8 February in Dublin, Ryan Shanks will elaborate on his view that employers need to embrace the concept of a talent flow and review their approach to addressing the skills crises. Shanks will also share some additional findings of the research not included in the report, which sheds further light on the nature of the skills gap in Ireland.