Making sure the Isle of Man doesn’t fall further down the Skills Gap
On Tuesday 12th July 2016 the Isle of Man Examiner reports the latest unemployment statistics in the article “Jobless figure drops by 132 in 12 months”. Below we delve into the growing skills gap and what solutions could be explored to prevent the deficiency in skilled workers and meet the needs of the local and wider economies.
Unemployment in the Isle of Man is reportedly at its lowest since October 2008 at just 1.4 per cent. This is in comparison to the UK at 5 per cent, Germany at 6.1 per cent and Greece’s 24.9 per cent unemployment figures.
What is more important to highlight from the report, however, are the industry related job figures, where we really see first-hand evidence of the skills gaps forming in both the UK and Isle of Man economies.
This isn’t the first time the topic of ‘The Skills Gap’ has come up – especially not on employed.im!
Understanding the Skills Gap
A common reoccurring theme in employability figures is the severe shortage of skilled individuals to meet specific employment market demands. This forming skills gap illustrates the fissure growing between what skills employers need, and what skills job seekers can offer. Some of the identified causes for this are:
- Not enough of the right graduates – there aren’t enough people being trained in the specialist industry sectors
- Ineffective automated job match programmes – employers completing job ads with ideal requirements that most applicants won’t meet results in low match rates and potential candidates
- Reluctance to provide training – many employers are expecting job seekers to provide their own training, an unrealistic ask for most
- Poor benefits and compensation – some organisations are unable to stay competitive with the pay and benefits being offered for in-demand jobs
- Deficient soft skills – with many tech-savvy graduates lacking communication and other important soft skills, even if they are ideal on paper they may not integrate well into the working environment
Figures revealed this week serve to highlight the growing challenge faced by the Isle of Man when it comes to the mismatch of skilled workers versus job vacancies. At the end of July:
- There were 104 vacant positions in the catering and entertainment sector, while 38 people with a background in that industry were looking for work;
- In construction, there were 16 jobs advertised but 53 people with experience in that industry looking for work;
- There were 60 vacancies in health and medical services but only 17 people with health-related qualifications out of work;
- e-gaming, one of the Island’s big growth industries in recent years, had 20 vacancies but nobody with an e-gaming background was looking for a job;
- in the insurance sector, there were 15 vacancies but just 5 people with that background looking for work.
It’s not just employers grumbling anymore – the Skills Gap is real, and needs addressing – quickly.
There is still a lot of disagreement and debate going on in the world about the complex issue of skills gaps and how a suitable solution can be found.
With a shortage of trained individuals and in-demand jobs in health care, engineering, advanced manufacturing, computer science and now teaching, what are the possible solutions?
- Business engagement – business and education working together to improve training and knowledge, engaging early on
- Better access to information – helping to inform student’s career choices from an early age and encouraging take-up of courses and jobs in particular fields where there is a shortage
- Apprenticeships – helping to plug the skills gap by providing a mix of education and first-hand job experience
- Retraining – building on and retraining existing talent from surplus industries could take advantage of previous experience and skills
- Explore multiple pathways to train – with options of vocational training on the job and community college accreditations around the 9-5, there’s lots on offer for individuals to train without having to leave work and return to full-time education, which is often impractical and unfeasible to most
- Mentorships – having a mentor or teacher figure is a great way to help people learn who can’t leave work for a full-time course. With guidance and support it can be an inexpensive option and flexible for the individuals involved to help career advancement
So, how are we going to address these growing problems? At employed.im we’re dedicated to helping employability in the Isle of Man, no matter what stage in the careers journey someone is at.
The team at employed.im are helping to bridge the skills gap by providing a portal equipped to provide resources and tools to guide individuals along their chosen career paths. With information openly available about industries, careers advice and training options, anyone can search on employed.im to find the latest local job and volunteering opportunities and seek the resources they need to progress their career. We’ve also teamed up with local establishments to create sector-specific jobs portals around specialist fields, check out the Isle of Man Construction Federation (www.iomcf.im) and Isle of Man Engineering (www.engineeringiom.com) websites to see examples. We work closely with Government and stakeholders to review, analyse and feedback on current developments and how we can help address each of these problem areas.
Want to find out more about what we do or have suggestions on how to tackle the Skills Gap? We’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org!