Skill Shortage? Stop Complaining and Do SOMETHING!

by Michael Haberman on November 7, 2011 · 3 comments


In a recent issue of the Atlanta Business Chronicle writer Randy Sutherland reported on a panel discussing the hiring situation in the Atlanta area. In a panel discussion called “Jobs of the Future” at the Atlanta SHRM conference the panelist talked about the fact that despite high unemployment there remain over 2000 high tech jobs unfilled in the Atlanta area. Sharon Bartels, President of Gwinnett Technical College said “We must teach people how to get ready for that field in short term and so it’s really about reinventing a person’s view of the workforce.” A Georgia State Senator, Barry Loudermilk reports that the number one concern for Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. was “a qualified workforce.” He also reported that Gulfstream has a 7 year waiting list for their planes.

They are not the first companies to voice the complaint that there are not enough workers to fill various special positions, be they high tech, medical, science or technology. The complaint is typically that the educational system is failing or people are not stepping up and taking responsibility. And both of those are true. But the question I have is WHY AREN’T COMPANIES STEPPING UP and  taking some responsibility. If your business is suffering due to the lack of skilled workers let me offer this solution. TRAIN THEM YOURSELF!

Here is what you can do:

  1. Work with a school to design a program specifically to train workers that will get them up to speed in the shortest time frame possible.
  2. Hire capable people who have basic skill sets and loads of potential.
  3. Pay them an introductory salary to learn.
  4. Be rigid in the landmarks and progression you expect them to exhibit.
  5. Upon successful completion of the class you have trained workers.

Yes this will cost money, yes this will take time. However, what are you missing in revenue now by not having those workers in place. Would Gulfstream gain by being able to reduce that waiting list by one year or more? Would all the Sharepoint consultants who bemoan the shortage be able to sell more projects? How many other companies would offset the costs of this training by the gains reaped with more capable workers?

What do you think?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave "theHRCzar" Ryan November 7, 2011 at 8:57 am

Yes we have people for that vacancy – but they are not the right people.

At some point thought folks are going to have to be responsible for themselves and seek out these opportunities and prepare for them.

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Michael Haberman November 7, 2011 at 9:13 am

Oh I agree Dave. People do need to take responsibility. If you want to go to work for a company and are told you do not have the skill set needed then ask “How do I get it? Where do I get it?” But at the same time companies need to quit complaining too and need to set about creating their own talent pool.

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