In terms of personal success, getting into full-time professional employment for the first time, is not dissimilar to getting onto the housing ladder. It’s one of the keys that unlocks the door to future prosperity; failing to make a breakthrough early drags on everything. The danger is that the chances of success diminish as time passes by; commoditised work may pay the bills (sort of) but life chances slip away, and the potential of a generation goes unfulfilled. Maybe…
Anyone that has been in a position where they have been part of the recruiting process is likely to recognise this; you read a CV, you guess this person is probably early-mid 20s; is highly educated and possibly over-qualified (in what is probably an arts, social sciences or humanities or other ‘soft’ subject); has probably applied unsuccessfully for hundreds of jobs that might be suited to their level of education, but not the skills or knowledge they actually have.
Without 2 or 3 years direct experience in the field or a relevant vocational qualification they are unlikely to be seriously considered. Across the world, there are many people that fit into this category, and they represent a talent pool of significant potential value to employers, and the recruitment industry by enabling agencies to add value to services.
One way of reducing the talent gap that has left skills in short supply and which is holding back growth in many businesses may be to utilise this hungry and ambitious pool of people that are eager for their first break. They may not be polished but rough diamonds are easily refined when treated properly.
Habitually promoting 1st and 2nd jobbers within, up into the next rank can be a policy that brings mixed outcomes, depending on the attitudes of the employees in question. It may be undesirable to continue with some for reasons of capability or approach. However, for those organisations that wish to retain because they are the right shape and fit, promoting from within is a win-win.
Whether promoted from within, or vacated by those moving on to pastures new, this of course leaves entry-level roles that are suitable for the raw talent that is queueing up. For recruiters, the trick is to stop looking for perfect candidates and identify those that are capable.
Research which focuses on workforce skills, such as the Skills and Employment Survey underlines the potential here. One survey report on the subject stated that just 15% of employers that responded reported advanced ICT skills were required. On questions relating to broader skill sets, survey respondents rated communication, problem-solving, teamworking, customer handling, and planning and organisational skills as the most important for their jobs.
It seems that in many cases, assessing capability is less about using computers and their software or specific subject matter knowledge, both of which can be learned; it is more about understanding innate qualities such as people skills, thinking ahead, organising and solving issues, ‘soft’ skills and abilities which may take longer to develop, or for which some may not even have an aptitude. In essence, what they don’t know can be taught, but it is more difficult to learn something for which you they have no natural predisposition.
Put into practice, training and mentoring are likely to be an essential element for making each hire a success. Agencies could work closely with employers to add value to the process of identifying, hiring and then assisting, making sure each candidate gets the support needed to onboard and perform their role.
Of course, there are many dimensions and complexities to creating talent rather than trying to attract it, however the broad concept forms the basis for another way to channel workers who are available to help close the talent gap and skills shortage.
ETZ’s leading timesheet and invoicing solution, streamlines the back office processing of your recruitment agency. Our complementary solutions, ETZ Comply for onboarding and document management, and Caspian for business intelligence give agencies further capability to streamline and uncover opportunities. To find out more call us on +61 (0) 405 458 821 or book a demo.
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