Skills gap 'threatens to hamper UK business progress'

Friday 26 July 2013


Business leaders recognise the importance of having the necessary talent within their organisations, but are failing to do enough about it, a new report has claimed.

In a survey conducted by leadership, management and development consultancy Cedar, 97 per cent of respondents said they were lacking the right calibre of employees to be successful.

Some 95 per cent of firms reported having skills gaps, with 69 per cent claiming to have a shortage of leadership skills, 56 per cent performance management skills and 55 per cent people skills.

The study also identified talent gaps in a number of key organisational levels, with 24 per cent expressing concern about a lack of first-line and middle management talent, and 17 per cent about a shortage women in senior positions.

More than half of the HR professionals surveyed said the senior executives at their organisations did not have a shared understanding of what talent meant.

And in 63 per cent of cases, there was no published talent management strategy.

Even where there was a strategy in place, 84 per cent said this was not completely aligned with the overall business strategy.

Just 26 per cent of firms were found to measure the business impact of their talent management programmes and initiatives.

Penny de Valk, chief executive of Cedar, said that if British companies are to remain competitive in the global marketplace, they need to start taking the issue of talent planning and talent development more seriously.

"People are one of an organisation’s most valuable assets, and having the right people in post is crucial to business success," she stated.

"Senior executives must start to collaborate more effectively with their senior HR colleagues to agree a shared vision of what 'good' looks like, and pull together joined up talent strategies which both examine the current gaps in their companies and complement their existing business strategy."

Ms de Valk suggested that holding executives responsible for the quality of their people is "critical" to an organisation’s performance.

She commented that filling in a nine-box model for talent management once a year, or managers defaulting to recruiting in their own image, will not drive organisational success.

"Instead, organisations should undertake regular audits to identify any particular areas that need improvement - from a skills and talent point of view, and put in place strategies to develop those specifically," Ms de Valk added.

"More broadly, talent should be the responsibility of the whole business; it is too important a resource to be confined to one department."

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Posted by Sarah Parish