Enabling Modern Technology Jobs through Optimised Human Resource Management Practices

Enabling Modern Technology Jobs through Optimised Human Resource Management Practices

Güera Massyn Romo (University of Johannesburg, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch361

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Annual surveys on the state of human capital and the trends in addressing persistent skills gap management issues, specifically in the Engineering and Technology industries, attempt to highlight the scope of the unavailability of skills. These skills management challenges are addressed both by academic research and industry reporting. The industry reporting plays a significant role in shaping employer perspectives, and subsequent actions, on skills management practices.

The Manpower Group conducts a global annual talent shortage survey, interviewing over 38 000 employers. The 2012 and 2013 survey results (Manpower, 2012; Manpower, 2013) focus on the inability of organisations to fill required positions. Deloitte Consulting’s annual surveys (Deloitte, 2013a; Deloitte, 2013b) provide the survey results of 1300 businesses in 59 countries, citing reasons for the inability to find suitable candidates and what organisations are doing to overcome this constraint. These surveys confirm that there is a lack of available candidates with the right technical expertise and employability skills. The global results for the Manpower Group surveys suggest that more than a third of interviewed employers find it difficult to fill specific jobs (34% in 2012 and 35% in 2013). Skilled trades and engineering jobs top these surveys year on year, suggesting that there is a lack of focus on developing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills (STEM skills).

The reasons cited in the surveys for the difficulty to find suitable candidates include a lack of technical, industry and generic skills and experience; undesirable geographic locations; candidates expecting higher remuneration (Manpower, 2012); the unwillingness of candidates to relocate for the short-term nature of work offered; overqualified applicants; and the poor image of the company (Manpower, 2013; Deloitte, 2013b).

These surveys predominantly use aggregated labour demand and supply data, coupled with perception based assessment from business leaders and potential employees to inform the general state of the skills gaps crises rather than using a true verified measure of actual skills available and the shortfall in the skills expected. These indirect measures do not provide quantitative data to help focus interventions. The Deloitte Consulting IT survey (Deloitte, 2013b) for example, refers to high-performing individuals who can operate across technical and functional business silos. Skills gaps reporting in these surveys usually group skills in categories such as low, middle and high skills, which leaves the exact jobs included and excluded open to interpretation (ACT, 2013). These perception-based surveys do add value for educational feedback or identifying important areas for policy debate such as the brain drain phenomena and the inconsistency of engineering registration and practice requirement across Africa (Royal Academy of Engineering, 2013). These surveys contribute very little to our understanding of what the exact problem with our skill pipeline in industry is.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Supply and Demand of Skills: The economic model of price determination in a competitive labour market.

Human Resource Management Practices: Strategic process in organisations that is responsible for managing the workforce.

Skills Shortage: Deficiencies within the labour pool, which creates problems in recruiting new staff caused specifically by the shortage of individuals with the required skills in the accessible labour market.

Talent Pipeline: The market provisioning mechanism for talented human resources to satisfy organisational human resource needs.

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