Bridging the candidate skills gap with a compromise: Part I

Posted by Guest Contributor

November 5, 2013

Could the Founding Fathers hold the talent acquisition solution?

By Brad Wilkins

Mind_the_GapThe Opportunity Nation Coalition published a study last week indicating “Almost 6 million [people aged 16 to 24] are neither in school nor working.”  Additionally, veterans are coming home from serving our country with great teamwork skills and discipline, but are unable to provide for their families.  Yet HR departments across the country bemoan the lack of qualified candidates for the 3.7 million job openings unable to be filled. This is because of what HR collectively calls the “skills gap,” which we have been trying to bridge for over a decade. 

Let’s start calling it what it really is:  The “compromise gap”

The compromise gap is when both parties stop blaming each other for the gap, and recognize that they must meet in the middle.  Employers need to invest in substantial training and career planning, and the unemployed need to adjust their expectations.  As long as HR continues to call it a “skills gap,” implying the onus is on the candidate to bring all the qualifications to the table, we will continue to have this issue.

I read a post in which a potential candidate complained about Accenture’s unwillingness to interview him for one of their overseas offices because he didn’t speak Dutch.  One of the most poignant responses encouraged the candidate to stop complaining about that requirement and to go learn Dutch through Rosetta Stone!  The reality is both parties would be better served if the company offered Dutch immersion classes to candidates who showed potential but lacked that requirement. The employee with the open position shouldn’t expect to be paid the full amount of a Dutch-speaking candidate while they are learning the language.  This would be the compromise gap in action.

My organization, Adcap Network Systems, previously had an issue with the skills gap before recognizing its solution was the compromise gap. We were hemorrhaging money to seek and train top talent from outside industries, and these employees weren’t always a safe bet. After investing a potential $100,000 on training and integrating a new team member, he or she could still leave after six months. This was not a sound business plan. Faced with the lack of available and affordable talent, we knew something had to be done.

We took a page from the Founding Fathers and created two apprentice programs to develop the right technical engineers and sales professionals for our business. In my next post, I'll discuss how Adcap built these solutions and what we've learned from the experience so far.

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Brad Wilkins is the Director of Talent Management & HR Services at Adcap Network Systems, the 2013 Cisco Partner of the Year, and recently participated in TheLadders JobMobile Atlanta panel discussion. Follow him on Twitter at @WorkingAtADCAP.




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Topics: Recruiting & Sourcing, HR & Benefits