Employability matters more than skills

Amidst all the talk of Gove and the Government; a drive to go back to a better yesterday of rigour and tough exams I keep hearing employers speak less about a baccalaureate of 5 GCSEs and more about employability. The old dictum “hire for attitude and train for skills” seems to be what matters most. Continue reading

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There is no talent shortage – part 3

The Corporate IT Forum has just found out that one result of offshoring entry-level IT roles has fuelled a shortage of experienced IT staff in the UK. Simply, if you offshore all the work that entry level IT staff would usually do to gain experience, after a few years, you have a lot fewer staff in the UK experienced enough to fill the more senior roles. For a more detailed review see this post in Tech Republic.

What we find interesting, is the corroboration of Peter Capelli’s theory (see previous There is No Talent Shortage post). While they can see their behaviour is causing them a problem, they are not willing to take a long view within their businesses. The obvious answer is to reduce the off shoring, but all they are willing to do is to provide a few apprenticeships – and pay higher salaries for the experienced people they need, due to the shortage of candidates they have caused.

 

 

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Antifragile and Skills

Reading a recent issue of New Scientist, I came across an interview with Nassim Nicholas Taleb, mostly about his antifragile concept. In essence, Taleb believes that the opposite to fragile is not robust, but antifragile – something that gains from disorder. Nature builds things that are antifragile – things that go wrong help to make the system as a whole stronger, e.g. evolution is based on taking advantage of bad copies of DNA. Continue reading

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There is no talent shortage – part 2

We recently came across this radio show conversation from the USA. Professor Peter Capelli, Director of Wharton Business School’s Center for Human Resources, was discussing his latest book – Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs: The Skills Gap and What Companies Can Do About It. It is well worth a listen.

The following is a generalisation, but recruitment agencies will back it up. Capelli makes the point that businesses want perfect fit employees, but are not prepared to train them themselves. So, rather than investing in training, they are creating a skills shortage which by its nature creates an increasing number of unemployed people who do not have the exact skills requested and raises employment costs because shortages raise salaries and lengthen the time to recruit people. One of the questions Capelli asks, because he knows most businesses cannot answer it, is “How much does it cost you to not have a position filled for a month?”. Continue reading

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Dire Need to Increase Funding for Skills Training in Developing World

The UN’s latest report on skills, 10th Education for All Global Monitoring Report, highlights the need to find alternative routes to educating young people.

Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, said at the launch: “We are witnessing a young generation frustrated by the chronic mismatch between skills and work. The best answer to the economic downturn and youth unemployment is to ensure that young people acquire the basic skills and relevant training they need to enter the world of work with confidence. Many, and young women in particular, need to be offered alternative pathways for an education, so that they can gain the skills needed to earn a living, live in dignity and contribute to their communities and societies.”
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There is no talent shortage

I came across this post today and it set me thinking. When we talk about talent are we really talking about people with the skills we want? When I ran an IT department, I used to recruit non-IT trained people and train them to have the skills I wanted. I can remember the conversations with recruitment agencies which followed  the path:

  • I want to recruit a trainee programmer
  • What skills do you need?
  • Ability to think; ability to learn; able to fit into my team; …
  • Ok, but I can’t look those up on my database. What skills do you need – SQL, Visual Basic, …?

In general, I got better, more productive employees my way than recruiting the candidate with the perfect skills match on the database.

I wonder whether some of our current problems are down to so many organisations wanting to recruit the perfect person, with the perfect skills. That is always going to restrict the number of potential candidates. Surely it is better to accept that whoever is recruited is going to need to adapt to their new job. For some that is getting used to the way things work in their new organisation; for others, it is training in the additional skills they need.

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Supply chains compete – not companies

The Humber and other places around the North Sea are buzzing with news on Renewable Energy. Prompted by projects like the Siemens factory and the Green Port Hull development, big and small companies alike all over Europe are being urged to be part of the network that will supply this emerging industry. As Logistics guru Professor Martin Christopher puts it: “supply chains compete not companies” and the offshore wind industry is a team game.

If all goes well, an estimated £15 billion will be invested in offshore wind turbines. A lot of pieces will have to be sourced, made, assembled and installed to build a very big jigsaw out at sea. In other words, a huge logistics and supply chain challenge.

Logistics is all about moving things around within a business and the supply chain is what connects that business and its products with a market and customers. Continue reading

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The Humber can lead on Renewables but the competition is fierce

Everyone across the Humber Region is willing the Renewables industry to reverse local economic trends and generate jobs; for the Humber to become the Aberdeen of clean energy. The champagne is on ice for when the Siemens project is given the final go-ahead and then, the 10,000 turbines offshore will start to be assembled and move out to the biggest wind farms in the world. Let’s get real. We are running away with the Renewables League before a ball has been kicked and, quite a lot of other places are having a better pre-season.

Last November in a Report by PwC commissioned by the City of Aberdeen, Jonathan Roger, Centrica Energy CEO, is quoted as saying that the Renewable industry has yet to centre itself anywhere and the Report goes on to conclude that this is Aberdeen’s opportunity. I was in Norway a couple of weeks ago and, whilst they do not have anything like the domestic wind market they do see themselves as challenging for the work. The same is true in Holland and Germany with stronger logistics and manufacturing skills already in place. Back in the UK, Newcastle is building momentum and the first turbine training centre is already up there. The point is that the Humber needs to wake up and smell the competition.

The Humber can win this race. First off, The Humber is the best location with near access to the three major wind farms out in the North Sea and there are green shoots in other renewable areas but, if we are not careful, we could be the best shop on the Renewables high street – with empty shelves.

The Neptune Proteus harnesses the tides

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Building distributor management skills in emerging markets

Here’s a post from Tielman Nieuwoudt; a key member of Archomai’s International network and contributor to the Transformational Logistics Blog we support. Based in Johannesburg Tielman is Principal at the Supply Chain Lab and, has vast experience of supply chains across Asia and Africa. Here’s a post on skills in emerging markets. If there are other people interested in contributing to the debate – contact us.

Implementing a 3rd party distribution system in emerging markets can be a challenging undertaking.  Often distributors don’t have the required skills and need additional support and training in order to be successful. Below are a number of issues to consider. Continue reading

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Logistics needs more sex appeal

Mike Wackett, News Editor of Containerisation International, has posted a thought provoking short article in IFW this week with his thoughts on the conclusions of a PWC study.

He comments on some of the things that Archomai have been promoting for a while: increasing the attractiveness of logistics as a career, not just a job; improving training; the increasing importance of logistics training in emerging nations. Continue reading

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