Skillsoft Blog

A Smarter Approach to the Global Talent Crisis

By Kieran King

Right now, organizations have an ideal opportunity to optimize the most important investment they make—their people investment. While many businesses are feeling the pain of finding skilled talent and they know a sizable part of their workforce may retire soon, few talent teams have quantified the size of their skill gaps nor do they have a solid plan in place to close them.

Myth: Yes, we have skills gaps, but it’s not that serious of an issue.

Truth: There IS a global talent crisis and most HR leaders are underprepared.

By 2020, the global labor market faces a shortage of 38-40 million college-educated workers and 45 million secondary educated workers.[1] According to the PWC 17th Annual Global CEO Survey, 63% of CEOs are concerned about the availability of key skills. In that same report, we learn that 50% of CEOs plan to increase headcount over the next 12 months.[2] Despite many HR leaders thinking that the talent gap is not a serious problem, it truly is.

How do you know what skills your employees have, which ones they need and where the gap exists? Defining the skills they already have versus the skills they need is the first step to surviving the talent crisis. Offering a culture of continuous learning aligned to goals and closing those gaps is the next.

The good news for HR functions is the emphasis being put on securing and keeping good talent. According to The 2020 Workplace, “the increased focus on talent is making the human resources function within organizations more integral to an organization’s success.”[3]

Kieran King is Global Vice President, Loyalty Strategy at Skillsoft. Follow Kieran on Twitter: @kieranmking and link up with Kieran at

[1] The world at work: Jobs, pay, and skills for 3.5 billion people by Richard Dobbs, Anu Madgavkar, Dominic Barton, Eric Labaye, James Manyika, Charles Roxburgh, Susan Lund, Siddarth Madhav. McKinsey Global Institute, June 2012.

[2] 17th Annual Global CEO Survey. PwC, 2014.

[3] The 2020 Workplace: How innovative companies attract, develop, and keep tomorrow’s employees today by Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd. Harper Business, 2010.

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