Friday 24 January 2020

Employers must put the effort in to grow and develop their workers

Mark Ryan

IRELAND faces two challenges and a paradox when it comes to job creation: our unemployment rate hovers stubbornly around 14pc, while there are thousands of open roles that cannot be filled.

Academic institutions, the Government and its agencies have put in place several measures to try and increase the graduate talent required and "convert" or re-skill people on the live register.

But responsibility for this problem doesn't lie solely at the foot of the Government's door, or the education sector.

Private-sector employers also have a major role to play in solving the skills problem in the short to medium term by considering their role as developers of talent – not just consumers of it.

In research commissioned by Accenture, one-third of Irish employers believe that they – and not Government or third level – have primary responsibility for developing their employees' skills. Businesses, therefore, need to place greater emphasis on growing and developing existing staff as part of a broader approach to "talent flow" within their organisations – in turn freeing up positions for those seeking employment.

That means aligning talent-management strategies with business objectives, not only based on current needs, but what's required in the future, as the research demonstrates.

Some participants in the skills gap debate have already grasped this notion and are making the necessary changes, but the pace of change in our fastest-growing sectors means we are a long way off reaching critical mass to have any material impact on the live register.

Not only do we need to join the dots between employers, academia and Government, but employers themselves need to join the dots in relation to their own training and talent-management plans if the skills gap is to be prevented from becoming a skills chasm.

Mark Ryan is country managing director at Accenture Ireland

Irish Independent

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