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Skills Gap Looming


Businesses in many sectors are reporting not only a skills shortage but also a very challenging recruitment environment. Attracting and retaining staff in the current climate of low unemployment, high cost of living and increased choice of roles available to those keen to move jobs has created a problem for businesses.



Redundancy is reported to be at a low level at present (though there was plenty of it during the pandemic) and one reason for this is the apparent desire to retain talent within organisations. We are also hearing a lot of discussion about the value of recruiting older workers with existing skill sets, though there remains a huge amount of unconscious bias around employing those over 45 years of age but that's a subject for a different article.


However, there is something else going on in the labour market too. Older, experienced workers are leaving the labour market and either joining the ranks of the self-employed or taking early retirement if they are able to afford this. They take their skills with them and, unfortunately, as baby boomers move ever closer to retirement, if companies do not put processes in place to allow them to pass on the knowledge, then the skills will be lost.


And yes, it does indeed work the other way too. The younger generation has much to teach the older one. When I managed admin teams I found a balanced mix of age, gender and background worked well. Provided that everyone felt valued for what they could bring to the team, the majority were then willing to pass on knowledge openly and naturally.


Everything I've read so far on this subject points to two key areas that will tempt older workers back to the workplace: Flexibility and respect for skills brought to the table. I would also add the importance of being able to make a difference. It’s not only millennials who want to do this, most people feel the drive to do this at some point in their lives. Yet somehow, somewhere, something goes awry. These experienced workers are not called for interviews. Their age isn’t ever the reason just as the younger female applicants are never passed over due to their potential to start a family, and the people of colour are never passed over because of their skin tone.


So, you know what lots of them do? They start a business of their own. Because the skills that, for whatever reason, employers say they want but then don't take advantage of, are really in demand. Plus running a business gives you even more skills that are of huge benefit to employers; determination. Time Management. Marketing. Finance. Organisation. Management of teams and workload.


So here's the thing: employers, those skills that you really need? They are out there. But we are offering them out on a freelance basis. We are out here. Working. Available to your business, often on a flexible basis. So you can have as many, or as few, hours of high-quality experience, knowledge and skill as you want. You just need to look to LinkedIn, your local trades magazine, small business and networking groups instead of Indeed, and CVLibrary. The experience you need is available; you just need to look outside the box a bit.


And if the gaping hole in your business is high-quality admin support provided by someone with lots of experience (35 years and counting).... you know where to find me.



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