The Skills Gap Is Costing Employers – Are You Adjusting ?

Companies are losing substantial amounts of money because of a skills gap that keeps important positions unfilled — prompting employers to step up efforts to fill the voids.

The findings of a recent important survey might surprise the general public. An assumption often made about companies is that if a job goes unfilled for a short period, it simply means the company saves a little money. However, that assumption is usually incorrect. The opposite is often true — companies actually lose money because of the lost productivity when crucial positions are vacant. Because companies have emerged lean and mean after the recession, it is rare that positions are unnecessary and can be easily absorbed.

The survey, conducted by CareerBuilder last fall, showed that on average a company loses more than $14,000 for each job that stays vacant at least three months. And that more than half of employers (54 percent) reported openings for which they cannot find qualified candidates.

The reasons for the losses, according to the companies:

• Lower morale due to employees shouldering heavier workloads – 41 percent
• Work does not get done – 40 percent
• Delays in delivery times – 34 percent
• Declines in customer service – 30 percent
• Lower quality of work due to employees being overworked – 30 percent
• Employees are less motivated – 29 percent
• Loss in revenue – 25 percent
• Employees making more mistakes, resulting in lower quality of work – 25 percent
• Higher turnover because employees are overworked – 22 percent

CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson says the trend is not transitory. “The skills gap is an issue that is not going away anytime soon,” said Ferguson. “There is a growing disconnect between the skills employers need and the skills that are being cultivated in the labor market today. This causes workers and companies to miss out on realizing their full potential and, in turn, causes the economy to fall short of its potential.”

Larger corporations are stepping up efforts to retrain workers to give them the skills necessary to fill the vacant jobs and in addition the corporations are working closely with colleges, junior college and other organizations to support their training efforts. Part of the problem, according to the survey, is the rapidly changing pace of technology. For example, there is a shortage of petroleum engineers because the boom in new technologies to extract oil and natural gas occurred faster than colleges and universities reacted to the trend.

However, even jobs that might require less training are becoming increasingly complex, such as customer service. These vital employees are not just answering phones, they’re working with intricate computer systems and handling sensitive issues for your customers.

The survey showed that companies were increasingly flexible about retraining workers on the fly and investing more money into training programs.

As a franchisee, you have to work with your franchisor to secure the resources needed to train new employees. Not only is this valuable for developing your employees and making your franchise an attractive place to work, the research suggests it may be a necessary adjustment for the health of your bottom line.

Andy Roe is the General Manager of SurePayroll, Inc., a Paychex Company. SurePayroll is the trusted provider of easy online payroll services to small businesses nationwide. SurePayroll compiles data from small businesses nationwide through its Small Business Scorecard optimism survey, and exclusively reflects the trends affecting the nation’s “micro businesses” — those with1-10 employees.

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