With the global talent shortage at a decades-long peak, it is clear that organisations can no longer solve workforce challenges by doing what they’ve always done. Instead, leaders need to take a critical look at their workforce and assess creative ways of bringing in a different type of talent in order to address shortages in this regard.  

“Businesses should look to cultivate communities of talent inside and outside of the organisation in order to complement existing skills,” explains ManpowerGroup South Africa’s managing director, Lyndy van den Barselaar.

The latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey found that 10% of surveyed local employers anticipate an increase in payrolls for the last quarter of 2019, 6% expect a decrease and 82% forecast no change. Opportunities for job seekers are expected to be strongest in the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Business Services sector and weakest within the Transport, Storage & Communications sector.

“While the statistics show that the hiring environment is challenging for job seekers, it is important to note that those businesses expecting to hire also face a challenge in terms of the talent shortages and skills gaps,” says van den Barselaar.

However, there are ways that businesses can tap into new sectors of the workforce to solve organisational shortfalls.

Reach out to retirees

An aging workforce can be a valuable workforce, if harnessed in the right way. The institutional knowledge of workers approaching or after retirement can be put to work mentoring or working part time to better prepare the next generation.

A proactive step for businesses could include a phased retirement and mentoring program. “No matter what career stage someone might be in, having a mentor presents a positive opportunity to learn and develop. Mentors can help their mentees to identify areas for growth and development, as well as provide the opportunity to have real conversations about their careers. Having a workforce that is focused on learnability and growth is just as positive for the organisation as it is for those being mentored,” says van den Barselaar.

Be open to NextGen work

A full workforce doesn’t have to consist of all traditional 9-5 workers. Today, nearly 9 in 10 workers are open to NextGen work – which can be defined as part-time, contingent, contract, freelance or temporary work.

As the next workforce becomes more mobile, both workers and organisations can turn to flexible employment opportunities to fill any gaps in the organisation and ensure productivity is high.

Be flexible inside the organisation

Finally, both companies and employees need to be agile and consider how someone’s skills can be moved around the organisation for the best possible outcome.

“It is no secret that learnability is going to be the largest enabler for the next generation of workers, as they have to adapt to new ways of working as technology continues to change the way we live,” explains van den Barselaar.

By adequately upskilling, talent can move up into valuable leadership roles in an organisation – a win-win for both the organisation and the employee in question. “Solving the talent shortage is a critical need for employers, and the smartest approach is a multi-pronged effort,” concludes van den Barselaar.

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