As staff shortages continue to make hiring a nightmare, businesses are being forced to employ workers lacking in the key skills required for the job. According to a new survey, both employers and employees should bite the bullet and take responsibility.

The Misco report on training practices in organisations, released last week, was conducted among those responsible for training within organisations. The report is the first edition in the series, and intends to provide explanations for the behaviours and attitudes of respondents in relation to training practices.

Questions focused on soft skills training, with the aim of learning why employers are facing skills shortages which hamper their development prospects.

The key takeaways from the study were twofold. First, individuals, trainers felt, need to take responsibility for the development of their own soft and technical skills. On the other hand, they were just as adamant that employers need to give more importance to employee training.

Staff training was seen as one of the ways of closing the gap between what employers are expecting from their staff and the skills of their employees – but trainers felt that their main challenge was a lack of time to conduct such training adequately.

One finding which is perhaps self-evident is that employers prefer to recruit ready-trained staff, than train them themselves. This raises the question – if no employer is ready to dedicate the time, energy, and associated cost to conduct the sort of training that can raise the level of an employee – who will?

Employers would do well to heed another finding from the survey about the benefits of training.

Some might understandably be of the view that investing in an employee is a risky endeavour at a time when workers are always on the lookout for better job opportunities, with little by way of workplace loyalty.

However, one key benefit of training, the survey finds, is that it increases employee retention and fosters a long-term outlook in management and staff alike.

Could training, if given its due importance, actually be far more important and beneficial than it first seems?

The top five skills that are most important to organisations are:

  • verbal communication skills
  • decision making skills
  • teamworking skills
  • customer care skills
  • inter-personal skills

The top five skills that employers find most lacking in staff are:

  • decision making skills
  • working towards priorities
  • strong work ethic
  • self-organisation/time management
  • enthusiasm

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