Is there a skill shortage or are you just not being creative enough?

April 16th, 2019 | By Laura Weaving, MD of Duo

Is there a skill shortage or are you just not being creative enough?

Hardly a day goes by without seeing something in the press about skill shortages, and how apparently, in the UK, we are in the middle of the worst skill shortage for 30 years. But the controversial question is – do we really have a skill shortage, or are we just not doing enough to find good talent in a challenging market?

With years of experience operating in “skills short” industries including Oil & Gas, Engineering, Digital & Creative, IT and Manufacturing, I don’t really believe we do have a skills shortage.

Businesses need more innovative solutions to finding and hiring talent

Despite the very true realisation that there are less people entering into STEM subjects and that a significant amount of skilled workers in these industries, particularly within Engineering & Manufacturing, will retire in the next 5-10 years, my real question to businesses worried about the skill shortage affecting their industry – what are you doing about this?

Aside from investment into education for future skill sets, through Apprenticeships and University courses, which, whilst important, doesn’t help the here and now, what are we doing right now to create talent pools of skilled workers for our businesses?

Using recruitment agencies, job boards, cv searching sites, or other traditional, reactive, recruitment tools is no longer enough. We operate in a digital age, with greater challenges and competition for talent, and due to this there is a need for a more creative, and proactive solution.

I challenge, any business, or business leader, discussing the skill shortage problem, to really assess how strategically you are looking at attracting and retaining talent. Some key questions to consider:

  • Do you have a well defined employer brand?
  • Do you know, and communicate, your employer value propositions?
  • Do you fully understand your target talent personas?
  • Do your value propositions match the needs of your talent personas?
  • Are your recruiting solutions different to competitors in your industry?
  • Do you communicate your talent goals effectively? Both internally and externally?
  • Do you have a robust & strategically developed succession plan?
  • Are you consistently engaging with a developed talent pool?
  • Have you created, and tested, an engaging talent culture?

If you answer no to any of the above questions, you could be doing more. Address all of these questions, develop a creative talent strategy, and you may just see the “skill shortage” issue magically disappear.

By Laura Weaving, Managing Director, DUO

For a free talent review of how your business is doing at addressing skill shortage issues please contact me on