BRIDG­ING THE SKILLS GAP

Qatar Today - - BUSINESS -

FOR YEARS, EM­PLOY­ERS IN THE MID­DLE EAST HAVE RE­PORTED A SIZ­ABLE GAP BE­TWEEN THE TA­LENT THEY NEED TO KEEP THEIR COM­PA­NIES GROW­ING AND THE TA­LENT THEY CAN AC­TU­ALLY FIND.

The skills gap is a univer­sal prob­lem that im­pacts nearly ev­ery in­dus­try, job and em­ployer. Such an im­bal­ance can be crip­pling to eco­nomic progress; it puts strain on gov­ern­ments, and leaves mil­lions un­em­ployed. Ac­cord­ing to the Bayt.com 2016 Mid­dle East Skills Gap Sur­vey, May 2016, em­ploy­ers across the Mid­dle East re­gion are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dif­fi­culty fill­ing open po­si­tions as they strug­gle to find can­di­dates with the re­quired skill sets, es­pe­cially for se­nior po­si­tions. Soft skills are re­garded as most lack­ing in prospec­tive em­ploy­ees, while tech­ni­cal skills are of­ten seen as pos­ing the least chal­lenge. Ac­cord­ing to the Bayt. com 2016 Mid­dle East Skills Gap Sur­vey, soft skills, such as cre­ative think­ing (63%) and crit­i­cal think­ing (63%), are seen as the most dif­fi­cult skills to find at a se­nior level.

What does re­search tell us about the skills gap cri­sis?

The Bayt.com 2016 Mid­dle East Skills Gap Sur­vey in­ves­ti­gates the skills gap cri­sis in the Mid­dle East. It pro­vides a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the skills gap cri­sis, both from an em­ployer’s point of view and job seeker’s point of view, and ends with a list of so­lu­tions to tackle this prob­lem in the best way pos­si­ble. The report de­scribes what em­ploy­ers mean when they say job­seek­ers are “unem­ploy­able”.

When com­par­ing the feed­back of em­ploy­ers to the per­cep­tion of job­seek­ers, the skills gap is seen even more clearly. Con­trary to em­ployer feed­back, job­seek­ers gen­er­ally re­gard them­selves as hav­ing a high de­gree of com­pe­tency across most skills, with those seek­ing se­nior po­si­tions be­ing more con­fi­dent re­gard­ing their skills and rat­ing them­selves higher on all skills, in­clud­ing soft skills. De­spite this gen­eral pos­i­tive view of their own skill level, half of the job­seek­ers sur­veyed say it is still dif­fi­cult for them to se­cure a job.

Un­der­stand­ing the causes of the skills gap cri­sis

Gen­er­ally speak­ing, the skills gap is a biprod­uct of mul­ti­ple trends that can be sum­marised into two main cat­e­gories: eco­nomic con­di­tions lead­ing firms to in­sti­tute rig­or­ous cost man­age­ment strate­gies, and mod­ern-day skill re­quire­ments out­pac­ing for­mal ed­u­ca­tion. By un­der­stand­ing these is­sues, com­pa­nies, ed­u­ca­tion providers and gov­ern­ments can learn to com­bat the skills gap and de­velop strate­gies to pro­tect them from fu­ture skill deficits. Eco­nomic con­di­tions The first driver of the widen­ing skills gap are the fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions that

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