Is there really a talent shortage?

Is there really a talent shortage?

Things are looking up. The economy seems to be getting stronger. Hiring freezes are thawing. People are finding work.

It’s not entirely positive – both job hunters and employers are struggling. Competition for job opportunities remains fierce, and hiring managers seem to have their pick. And yet, positions remain vacant, and employers find it difficult to find what they’re looking for. We still have a talent shortage.

But do we really? With all of those people out there looking for work, perhaps we’re missing something.

With the economic downturn, many companies were forced to restructure, to make deep cuts, and to strategize new ways to remain productive while saving money. Maybe now, as the recovery continues – slowly and, we hope, steadily – employers have an opportunity to change their perspective.

Consider ways of expanding the labour pool. Here are a couple of ideas:

1) Take another look at immigrant talent. It’s a topic that has been covered many times before, but we still haven’t learned to put the ideas into practice. A recent report reveals that Metro Toronto loses over $2 billion a year by failing to integrate immigrants. Professionals from all over the globe bring skill sets and experience to rival home-grown talent – employers can consider how to put this talent to work for them!

2) Training your employees is money well spent. Dismissing candidates because they don’t have experience with a key software package, even when they are enthusiastic and ambitious, may be short-sighted. And don’t forget your current staff; a small investment in a management course could allow you to promote from within – and backfill a more junior position rather than searching for a more experienced (and, possibly, more expensive) external hire.

3) Potential over Perfection. Sometimes hiring managers are surprisingly single-minded, seeking out ‘the one’ – that person who has the ideal combination of skills, experience and personality to make them the complete package. Or maybe it’s the one who was just like the last one! There is no such thing as perfection, but there are a lot of people out there with great potential – we just need the new point of view in order to seek them out.

“There are lots of possibilities beyond just doing what we have always done.” (from Talent Shortage: Is Our Mindset to Blame?)

What steps is your organization taking to find a new perspective on identifying talent?

~ Bradley Cuzen

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2 responses to “Is there really a talent shortage?

  1. Bradley, you highlight how hiring managers are interacting with potential candidates. I think there are tons of great candidates and talent that can be molded into incredibly valuable resources. Companies need to believe in what the potential candidates can bring and focus less on fulfilling the position with the “perfect” resource. There is always something that a candidate can learn when they start in a new position and always complimenting experience and views that they can bring to the table. If they expect the candidate to know everything, they are looking at the wrong place because they are looking for an internal candidate. As a follow up to this, what is your view on the “perfect” candidate?

  2. @Paolo, I totally agree with you. I think it’s easy for a hiring manage to fall into the trap of trying to fill a role with a clone of the last person who was in the role or, as you say, to find that elusive ‘perfect’ candidate. Of course, there is a lot to be said for cultural fit, and making sure you hire someone who has the right traits to succeed in a position. However, trying to match someone to a list of tick boxes runs the risk of missing out on someone with great potential.

    No one is perfect – whether it be candidates, hiring managers, or even recruiters! I’m just going to say it – the perfect candidate doesn’t exist. But recognizing who brings the most to the table – especially when it comes to the ability to learn and grow with a company – can bring you pretty close to the mark!

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