Skills are in demand on both sides of the desk as employers grapple with a competitive labour market and employees look to future-proof their job prospects.
Late last year, the National Skills Commission released its skills priority list. The Commission found that 31% of occupations are in shortage nationally and some additional skills are in shortage in various states and territories.
Skills in the deepest shortages included retail managers, truck drivers, aged or disabled carers, electricians, childcare workers, carpenters, program or project administrators and chefs.
The future of skills in the current labour market
A report from LinkedIn shed light on the top skills learning and development professionals are proactively writing into their employees’ training and careers. Eighty-five percent of L&D professionals agree that building employee skills for today and tomorrow will help navigate the evolving future of work, and 81% agree it’s more cost-effective to upskill current employees than to find and train new ones.
When it comes to professionals, the most in-demand skills LinkedIn says companies are in need of the most right now, are:
- Customer Service
- Project Management
- Analytical Skills
Sixty-four percent of Australian businesses are using learning opportunities to boost employee retention, according to the LinkedIn report. Eighty-five percent of Australian business leaders are finding it challenging to attract top talent right now, further highlighting the importance of investing in and retaining current staff.
Career cushioning in a competitive labour market
‘Career cushioning’, or enhancing one’s skills and experience to increase employability in the event of losing work, is booming — particularly among younger workers.
Employment Hero’s Talent Insights Report says 18-24 year-old workers are 9% more likely to be seeking mentorship, 14% more likely to be seeking freelance work, and 33% more likely to be expanding their skillset.
How can leaders do a better job of helping workers gain career experience?
Connect and communicate
Louise Gibson, founder, and director at With Verve, is a leadership and culture advisor who helps client businesses bring out the best in their people, says it comes down to connection and communication.
“The better outcomes we see in this space is when there’s time given and investment made in understanding, getting to know a person, getting to know the team member.”
“What makes them tick, what are their values, what are their ambitions?”
The three Cs of great leadership
After that, it’s about working with them to provide support, guide them, and give feedback on ways their development, their goals, and the purpose of their role in the business can align. Gibson uses her three Cs method: ‘connect’, ‘collaborate’, and ‘clear the path’.
Another piece of advice from Gibson is to think about your people and their careers in the long term.
“Great leaders don’t just do this with the people that are in their team at the moment, who directly report to them.”
“They’ll actively seek out and develop potential talent.”
This article originally appeared in SmartCompany to inform readers about Smart50 Workplaces, which gives national recognition to great Australian SME workplaces. Think your business deserves to be on the list? Enter now.
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