Why You Should Consider a Skills Gap Analysis

You’ve probably already heard of a gap analysis. It’s essentially a method of discovering what it is you currently have and compare it to what you ideally need. The difference between the two is the ‘gap’. Easy.

But have you ever done this within your company to find out what skills you need, what you have and therefore what you’re missing? Probably not, I’m guessing, but just think about what you’re missing out on.

There are undoubtedly some people out there who are skilled candidates with superb skills looking for a role that you want to fill, but if you don’t know what you’re looking for, how will you find them? Of course, the job description is where you need to be putting all the juicy requirements, but if you don’t really understand what those requirements are, it can be hard to do.

That’s where a skills gap analysis comes in.

When you have a gap in skills, it can have repercussions throughout the business. Even a lack of one of the so-called “soft” skills can cause problems.

Years ago while working in an IT company, there was a situation where a technician needed to go on site to deal with a customer problem. The technician had been hired on his ability to understand complex hardware and software issues and fix them rapidly. He had spent years working in the IT industry and pretty much knew everything that could be known about the customer’s set up.

He arrived on site and got to work. He’d been there an hour when one of the managers asked him how he was getting on. It was an especially difficult problem he was working on at the time, and without stopping for breath he turned to the manager, asked him to leave (rather abruptly), swore and then go on with his work. To this technician, who had spent most of his time dealing with other technicians, this was a reasonable thing to do and say, but the manager wasn’t impressed.

That incident nearly caused the technician to lose his job and the IT company to lose its contract.

What skills were missing?

As is patently obvious, there was a skills gap. The technician didn’t know how to deal with people; that’s entirely clear, and so what was normal for him turned out to be borderline abusive to the manager.

Although soft skills are often dismissed by many HR managers, they can be absolutely essential in certain circumstances. In his book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, Dale Carnegie says:

“85% of your financial success is due to your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate and lead. Shockingly, only 15% is due to technical knowledge.”

That’s quite a startling number and probably not entirely accurate, but think about it. Regardless of how good you are at any particular skill, if you can’t communicate it well enough, then you’re never likely to use it. Being able to get on with people is an absolutely essential skill to have in today’s world.

And how many employers look for that while recruiting?

This is why a skills gap analysis can be such a fantastic tool. By filling those gaps with people who can excel at their role, you will be able to give your company the skills it needs to thrive.