Skills Gap and Poor Talent Adaptability Cost Global Economy $150 Billion

Jeff Cattel

A lack of talent adaptability among employees at corporations worldwide costs the global economy $150 billion annually, according to just-released research by PwC and LinkedIn. The report focused on the inability for people to retrain for new skills and switch industries, two must-have characteristics in today's fast-paced and ever-changing business world.

The study, titled Adapt to Survive, mined interactions from LinkedIn's network of 277 million professionals and information from 2,600 employers in PwC's Saratoga database, which details people and performance metrics. The shortfalls presented in the report fall into two areas: lost productivity as a result of businesses unable to match talent with the right opportunities and avoidable recruitment costs, often incurred by long searches to find the right candidates. Estimates for additional recruitment expenses for filling jobs categories where employment skill gaps exist cost businesses an estimated $19.8 billion annually, a paltry amount compared to the estimated $130 billion in lost productivity from filling employee skill gaps.

"Worldwide unemployment continues to rise while jobs remain unfilled, and CEOs are worried about a growing skills gap," said Michael Rendell, global head of HR services practice at PwC, in a press release. "The better employers and employees are at adapting to changing circumstances and aligning their skills with the available opportunities, the more productive organizations will become."

The report highlighted one easy-to-implement recommendations for professionals and their employers: social media. From the perspective of the professional, social media can be the perfect network to find out about emerging gaps in knowledge and skills, and give said professionals an opportunity to skill up and become a more attractive job candidate. From the perspective of the employers, societal media can give better insight into candidates other interests that may align with company's particular skill gaps, but don't necessarily align with said employee's work experience. The report also called for educators to be mindful of what skills are growing in demand and adapt curricula as necessary and noted that governments need to play a role in shaping a national mindset toward talent adaptability.