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Identifying skills gaps in your workforce

By Beatrice Thomas

A skills gap is the gap between your employees existing skills, and the skills your company will need to reach its strategic goals. 

Employers may identify gaps in several dimensions: 

  • Jobs (*see our definition of jobs versus positions here) 
  • Organisation units 
  • Locations 
  • Competencies 
  • Diversity 
  • Headcount 
  • Positions 

While headcount and position are often thought of first in skills gap analysisthey’re the least relevant in workforce planning. 

Rather, it’s understanding the difference between current and future workforce supply and demand, along with skills trends, that will help build your workforce recruitment and development strategy. 

Employers also need to consider the criticality of the skills gaps in meeting their future goals. 

Read more on skills shortages in CCIWA’s expert economic analysis. 

Skills Matrix is one way of analysing the skills capabilities in your organisation. 

The Skills Matrix will: 

  • assist you to identify the skills gaps occurring in your business;
  • identify possible risks to your business if a key employee leaves or is unable to complete operations; and 
  • identify proficient employees that could take on further responsibilities, be considered for promotion or take on mentoring roles in your business. 

See our Skills Matrix and Quick Analysis Questionaire.

Apprenticeship Support Australia Manager Lena Constantine suggests companies look at how they can skill local workers into the roles they need using apprenticeships, traineeships, internships and graduate programs. 

“That's a long-term strategy, so businesses have to start thinking about how that's going to work and how that will play out in their business and then they have to stay on track,” she says. 

Companies should also tie a skills analysis to succession planning of their aged workforce, she adds. 

They should ask: 

  • Where you want to pass on knowledge?
  • Where can you see a skill that you need in the future? 
  • How do you get to that skill?

CCIWA Workforce Skills Manager Rebecca Elder says businesses must “ensure that the knowledge from those planning to retire is captured so that it can be utilised to train their successors”. 

Identifying skills and workforce knowledge gaps is key to ensuring that a business prioritises training in the areas that are most needed and will provide the best return on investment,” she adds. 

  1. Develop a business strategy   
  2. Scan the environment   
  3. Model the workforce   
  4. Identify the skills gaps   
  5. Develop a workforce strategy   
  6. Implement the workforce strategy   
  7. Monitor and report 

Click on the links to explore CCIWA's workforce planning model. 

CCIWA’s ASA can help your business undertake a skills analysis and provide advice on traineeships or apprenticeships to help your business thrive. 

For more on boosting employee engagement see here. 

A skills gap is the gap between your employees existing skills, and the skills your company will need to reach its strategic goals. 

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