The way we work and interact with each other is about to change forever. Last spring, Learning House and Future Workplace surveyed 600 human resource leaders about the nationwide skills gap crisis, the state of hiring processes, and the difficulties of identifying qualified candidates. Today, as job openings in critical IT support roles continue to rise during the new work-from-home reality, leaders need to be more creative about how they source and onboard talent.

Approximately 47 percent of leaders surveyed state that colleges have not properly prepared students for the working world. The survey also revealed that 35 percent of employers felt it was the responsibility of colleges and universities to make potential employees “work-ready”.

As employers work to support the “new normal” with volumes of dispersed teams, and educators work furiously to adjust programs, this brings to light a critical dilemma for hiring managers. Which should take precedent when hiring a candidate – their hard skills/degree/technical certifications (credentials), or their soft skills/ability to train (potential)?

Difficulties of Hiring for Credentials/Hard Skills

Tech Executives walked into 2020 understanding the resource shortages caused by the skills gap.  But, they did not walk into 2020 comprehending the increased need for critical support resources caused by the recent pandemic.  Technology and IT jobs are the hardest to fill, followed by management jobs. These positions correspond to what employers believe are the in-demand college majors — computer information systems, finance, and economics.

If employers hire for skills based on a degree, there is a chance that the new hire is only partially equipped to perform the job.

Difficulties of Hiring for Potential/Soft Skills

The top three soft skills currently sought out by employers: teamwork (38%), the ability to adapt to change (37%), and leadership (37%).   Today’s new normal sheds even more light on the importance of these 3 skills.

Challenges surmounting these gaps have been budget shortfalls and lack of available talent to train employees. This becomes even more problematic for companies unaccustomed to supporting fully dispersed teams.

As a result, employers are becoming more open to innovative ways to address their skills gap.

Alternative Methods to Address Hiring for Both Credentials and Potential 

Discovering creative ways to address the IT support skills gap during this disruptive time is crucial. Employers have to seriously consider hiring candidates without traditional four-year degrees – which may allow job seekers who need to redefine their career paths to search for alternative credentialing.

Registered apprenticeships offer an alternate model. While not always thought of in the U.S. as a natural option, registered apprenticeship programs can offer employers numerous benefits, such as structured training that includes dedicated program Success Coaches for each apprentice, streamlined recruitment practices, increased loyalty and retention, and enhanced performance.

At Franklin Apprenticeships, we are here to help employers build their workforce, so companies can focus on sustaining their business. We have the tools, technology, and network necessary to build, execute, and manage modern apprenticeship programs that fit unique organizational requirements.

Employers will need to continue thinking outside the box today to train and retain the workforce necessary to support the growing demand during this disruptive time.  Fortunately, employers now have more options to think outside the box and influence the direction of this ongoing conversation.

Are you interested in exploring apprenticeships as a talent acquisition strategy for your organization? Contact Franklin Apprenticeships to learn about the power of high quality, registered Help Desk and Network Engineer apprenticeship programs.