How to Bridge the Skill Gap and Stay Relevant

| 4 min read

The 2015 Deloitte Millenial Survey reveals that only 28 percent of millenials feel that their current organizations are fully utilizing the skills that they have to offer. On the other hand, every year there are several talent shortage surveys, with employers citing “skills-gap” as one of the major reasons for talent shortage. This is an odd dichotomy that exists in the job market right now.  Here are some tips if you find yourself on the wrong side of skills gap.

Not very long ago, a bachelor’s degree would suffice to last an entire career. Yet today we find students grappling with unemployment and loss of work satisfaction within five years of obtaining their college degree. This is a clear indication that in the current scenario a college degree becomes outdated even before the students are able to put pay to their education loans. This phenomenon is not industry specific; neither does it discriminate on the basis academic qualifications. Even low-skill jobs such as that of a welder now require specialized education including the ability to read CAD blueprints.   Thus there are no two thoughts about the fact that in the present times, individuals must consistently hone their skills to remain relevant in the workforce. There has to be some way to stay afloat. Those ways are discussed below:

Be sure about your skills

In a survey by Udemy, the leading e-course provider, 95 percent of respondents thought they were overqualified for their current role, while 54% said that had little idea what skills they need for their current job. Clearly, there is huge confusion as many of the workers are not even aware of their own skill gap, even when their inadequacies are keeping them from earning more money and obtain better job opportunities. If you fall in this trap, it’s really going to take a toll on your professional success. Therefore, it is advised to regularly assess and reassess your skills with complete objectivity. Be brutally honest about the feedback. Keep interacting with your boss to know if you are meeting expectations or not.  Self-awareness helps.

Indulge in peer-to-peer learning

When there was no internet or the concept of e-learning was too new, learning new things meant leaving your job in favor a short term or long term university course. Not only was it financially an expensive proposition, but there were many other time and strategic constraints. Luckily, today’s generation doesn’t have to deal with all these challenges, all thanks to new technologies and services such as Udemy, Coursera, Khan Academy and others. These inexpensive resources allow workers to upgrade their skills without putting them under any financial and time constraints.

Pursue relevant certifications

Instead of spending your 20’s in classrooms taking lectures and preparing assignments, prefer specialized courses and certifications. Not only will this shorten the time commitment, but also your learning process will be highly directed and focused. You can devote the extra time to master the skill on the job. The most attractive part of Lead Six Sigma and other similar professional certifications is on-the-job training, which any day works better for a skill upgrade than a classroom based course. These courses are able to embed tangible skill sets like adaptability, analytical thinking, and decision making in a candidate that employers generally seek.

Explore your skills from outside the workplace

If you find it a little problematic to list skills that you earned in a job, such as in case you are a fresher in that field, then you can refer to your life beyond the workplace to come up with certain transferable skills. Analyze your internships, education and volunteer work to show skills that are not taught in a job. These can be behavioral skills, or your communication prowess such as knowledge of a third language.

Use your period of unemployment for professional development

A professional’s life has periods of planned and unplanned unemployment. You can use these periods as an opportunity to gain new skills and refresh old ones. Utilize the unemployment benefits to skill training, professional development and higher education. Some countries like Denmark and Switzerland already have these unemployment benefits connected with skill development programs.

Bottom-line:  The most important step to overcome the skill gap for a worker is to acknowledge his shortcoming. If you honest analyze yourself and are willing to put efforts towards your own professional development, it can actually put some forward momentum in your career.


About Author:

Saurabh Tyagi is an expert author, with an experience of over 4 years in writing content for articles and blogs. He loves to write on topics related to career, education, real estate and technology. A gadget freak and social media enthusiast, he also keenly follows the latest trends in online jobs.


Nathan Jeffery