• Developing the capabilities of existing staff.
  • Seeking out new recruitment channels.
  • Tapping into different labour pools.

South African industries need to adopt a proactive approach to the skills deficiency the country is faced with if they are to survive the highly competitive and fast paced business environment. Due to the shortage of skills in South Africa, particularly regarding technical skills, industries are now compelled to compete for skilled human resource.

The 2015 Talent Shortage Survey conducted by ManpowerGroup, a multinational human resource consulting firm explored the matter in its annual survey, using a sample of 750 businesses in South Africa.

The survey found that 30% of South African employers cited the lack of industry-specific qualifications or certifications in terms of skilled trades as a challenge, while 26% cited a lack of candidate experience. Further, 19% of employers identified organisational factors as an issue, while 15% cited industry-specific qualifications and certifications in terms of professionals as a challenge.

When asked what kind of impact the talent shortage was having on their availability to meet clients’ needs, 22% of South African employers said a high impact, 46% said a medium impact, 21% said a low impact and 10% said no impact at all.

Following are some of the most widely-used strategies for addressing talent shortages at the global level as reflected in the survey.

“In order to address talent shortages, hiring managers at the global level are most likely to be adopting new people practices (39%), although this proportion is down from 47% in 2014. More than one in five (22%) employers seeks to explore new talent sources in order to tackle the difficulties they face filling jobs, while 18% are implementing alternative work models (down from 23% last year),” it is stated in the report.

One in five employers (20%) at the global level are revising their people practices to provide more training and development for existing staff. Most commonly, this takes the form of training to develop new skills (13%) and training to enhance existing skills (12%). There is also a trend for utilizing non-traditional recruiting practices, both internally and externally to the organization, selected by 18% in 2015, compared to 13% in 2014 and 10% in 2013. Some employers are offering enhanced benefits (5%) and/or higher starting salaries (5%), while 5% are seeking to redefine qualifying criteria to include individuals who lack some required skills or qualifications but have the potential to acquire them.

With regard to seeking out new talent sources, 10% of employers are seeking to explore previously untapped talent pools, particularly candidates from outside their immediate region (3%) and young people (3%). Meanwhile, 8% of employers are appointing candidates who don’t have the relevant skills at present but do have potential to learn and grow.

Employers who report implementing alternative work models to address talent shortages are most likely to be increasing focus on improving their talent pipeline (7%), although the proportion taking this approach is down from 10% in 2014 and 13% in 2013. One in 20 (5%) are redesigning existing work procedures, for example by sharing work assignments between different employees.

Reasons for difficulty in filling jobs:

  • A lack of available applicants.
  • The lack of candidates with the required technical competencies. The technical competencies employers are seeking include candidates who have industry-specific professional qualifications and those with industry-specific skilled trades certifications.
  • Lack of experience.
  • Lack of workplace competencies.
  • Candidates with salary expectations that exceed what is offered.
  • Candidates don’t want to work in the location where there are vacancies
  • Company, business sector or occupation has a poor image.