Jobs available, qualified candidates not

Call it a double bind. Compelled as they are to freeze increments and cut jobs in these pressing times, companies must also try and retain key talent, for replacements are hard to find.

A whopping 48% of employers in the country are experiencing difficulty in filling positions in their firms, a survey by ManpowerGroup has found. Particularly difficult to fill are the ranks of IT staff, engineers, sales and marketing people.

“Access to talent is the key competitive differentiator and leaving key positions unfilled due to talent shortage will be a problem in the years to come,” says Sanjay Pandit, managing director, ManpowerGroup India.

Blame it on a lack of adequate technical expertise and hard skills in the candidates, not to forget domain specific qualifications and soft skills.

Other human resource players appear to concur with the findings.
“Functions, such as hardcore research and development, innovation and technology, where specific skills are needed, are generally areas facing acute talent shortage,” says Sunil Goel, director of talent search firm GlobalHunt India.

Undesirable geographical locations and the candidates’ quest for higher pay only make things more difficult for companies.

“Firms often face a mismatch between the expertise of candidates who have applied for a post and the job requirements,” says a senior official from a health care firm in Bangalore. “We then reject the candidate and start hunting for those who come closest to fitting the role.”

Such shortage of talent leads to firms investing heavily in training new recruits, to make them productive.

In the IT sector, for instance, the average amount spent on training an individual is around Rs2 lakh, Santanu Paul, managing director, TalentSprint, a talent management firm, points out.

According to estimates by education services firm Aspire Human Capital Management, less than 25% of the country’s youth are employable, and get jobs compatible with their qualifications.

“The remaining 75% are either unemployed, disguisedly employed (getting jobs incompatible with their education) or are forced to be self-employed,” says Amit Bhatia, CEO of Aspire.
For all that, talent shortage can be addressed, says the Manpower survey. The solution — focus more on retention in jobs where recruitment is difficult, increase salaries, partner with educational institutions to create curriculums aligned to talent requirements.
(With inputs from Suparna Goswami Bhattacharya)

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