Companies Seek To Fill Skills Gap By Retraining Their Own Workers

Companies in search of workers in today’s tight labor market are increasingly training existing employees, seeking to improve internally the skills they need as the modern workplace becomes more digital. The skills gap is due in part to declining birthrates, an education system that hasn’t produced workers with some of the most sought-after skills and the quickening pace of digitization in the workplace, Mr. Taylor said. A low unemployment rate has made it harder-and perhaps more expensive-for companies to lure employees with the right skills from the outside. The most in-demand technical skills among employers are trade skills such as carpentry, plumbing and welding, according to a 2019 SHRM survey. The company launched a push in 2017 to add 5,000 workers with data science skills. Business leaders with the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board-which includes Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook, International Business Machines Corp. CEO Ginni Rometty and Walmart Inc. CEO Doug McMillon-said long-term solutions to the skills and worker shortfalls include educational and immigration overhauls, as well as the tapping of underused pools of workers such as veterans, retirees and the formerly incarcerated, according to Mr. Taylor. Over the same time, 45% of companies offered cross-training to develop skills not directly related to an employee’s job, an increase of 6 percentage points.

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