HR managers are interviewing job applicants who fill out their resume on the job application form in order to consider accepting a job as a company.

Workplace skills are changing rapidly — among LinkedIn members, skills for the same jobs changed roughly 25% between 2015 and 2021, and they’re expected to change 40% by 2025. That’s because companies now need a different set of skills on their side to stay competitive. 

Digital skills, in particular, are growing in demand, causing current and future employees to worry about their career outlook. For example, one in three business school students don’t believe they have the digital skills now required for their industry. 

At the same time, almost all companies (98%) are experiencing skill gaps. Many are investing in upskilling/reskilling initiatives, promoting current employees into new roles and showing future employees that their organization values learning and development. But there is a worry that, amid the Great Resignation, they’ll lose those newly-trained employees to competitors.  

So although upskilling/reskilling current employees is a promising solution for addressing skills gaps, it’s only half of the story — incoming employees will also need the right skills to take their company to the next level. Here are a few ways staffing agencies can help close skills gaps in the hiring process. 

Emphasize learning and development opportunities

Perhaps now more than ever, learning opportunities are of high value to job seekers, especially as the way in which they work continues to change: 

  • One of the top reasons employees quit their jobs is a lack of career development opportunities. The chance to learn and grow in their careers is also a primary reason job seekers accept a new position. 
  • More than 60% of employees are considering a new career or industry, or are thinking about going back to school — they’ll be attracted to a company that supports learning opportunities and can help them get started on a new path.
  • “Opportunities to learn and grow” was also the top driver of a great work culture in 2020, above “belonging” and “organizational values.” Skills development opportunities signal a workplace culture that values its employees and their professional growth.

If a position includes learning and development opportunities, hiring teams can emphasize them in job descriptions. This will attract applicants who want to grow their skillset and better contribute to their new company.

Look beyond the resume

Some candidates may not already possess all the skills, education, and experience required in the job description. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be a good fit. 

Consider candidates who have a strong desire to learn, who can adapt quickly, and who excel when given new challenges. These candidates will likely be able to pick up whatever skills they lack while on the job. They may also have developed certain skills along their career journey that they haven’t thought to add to their resume. 

Looking at applicants as complete, unique individuals may reveal them to be ideal employees.

Encourage unqualified candidates to upskill

If there are any absolute must-have skills for the role, it may help to provide an explanation in the job description of why those skills are necessary. In some cases, candidates may be able to acquire those skills quickly before applying.

Even rejected candidates will appreciate feedback on what they need to do if they want to qualify for that role, or a similar role, in the future. This feedback leaves candidates with a better impression of the company and the recruiters, as well as a clear path forward, should they decide to apply again later. 

Partner with educational institutions

One way to ensure incoming talent is well-equipped for the ever-evolving workplace is to source candidates fresh out of career training programs, community colleges, and four-year universities. This kind of hire not only provides employers with skilled team members to support their business growth, it also helps graduating students secure professional work experience in their field.

It’s becoming more imperative to keep skills gaps in mind when hiring new team members — and these strategies can help supply businesses with employees who have a learner mindset and are willing to develop the skills their company needs to succeed.