The Skills/Talent Gap is Nothing New


The Skills/Talent Gap is Nothing New

Trends get blown-up and overplayed all the time, think beards, camo gear, Soulja Boy and LMFAO ((you know the Party Rock Anthem guys?) LMFAO indeed, all the way to the one-hit wonder bank, say hi to Milli Vanilli while you’re there), but anyway!

Oh yeah, we are talking about trends…we love to pile on a trend (4square was another one), today one of the hottest trends in human resources, recruiting and talent management is centered around the skills or talent gap. I remember the President, then candidate, Barack Obama using it in a town hall meeting. At that time the unemployment rate was higher, downsizing and outsourcing was all the rage in Corporate America.

People were losing their shirts – no literally their shirts, shoes, cars and homes too. Suicide rates went up, so did foreclosures and bankruptcies. Companies told employees, “We have to do more with less”. So many employees worked like dogs to show their worth and loyal in order to keep their jobs. (that still happens by the way)

Then companies under pressure to explain why they weren’t hiring sited the skills/talent gap. “We have a lot of applicants for a few positions however many of those who apply aren’t qualified for these jobs.” They also said “There is simply not enough talented people available to fill these positions.” With statements like that, education was called into play, training was questioned, talent communities were analyzed and basic intelligence was dragged into the conversation too.

I often say, nothing new happens in the world of talent management and human resources, case-in-point, the skills or talent gap is nothing new. It’s been around for decades maybe even centuries.

My grandmother was a Caterer in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. She would often work her fingers to the bones by covering multiple events in one night, especially during the holiday season. We were kids back then but we would help out. She would train us on how to cut fruits and vegetables, cook eggrolls, fry chicken, barbeque ribs and load the car up safely. We also learned how to unload the car, wash the pans and dishes and clean up the kitchen.

My grandmother often worked alone, not because she was selfish or greedy but because she could not find good help. No one wanted to work those long hours and provide the type of service needed when dealing with wealthy folks and their food. People quit on her, half assed their jobs, left her in the lurch and then, after the hard work was done, they would beg for a 2nd chance.

Ironically, my grandmother’s brother was also a small business owner. He had a construction company, nothing major, just a group of guys that could hang a wall, door, or clean up a construction site. Even with those duties he (my great uncle) had a hell of a time finding dependable, reliable and experienced guys to help him. Many good workers would either work for other companies for bigger paychecks and benefits or they would start their own companies themselves. My great uncle had to hire the less desirable guys; the ones with drinking problems, or criminal records, or could barely read. He would always say “Good help is hard to find.” Well guess what unc? The same is still true today.

Turns out, I am small business owner now with my resume writing company, the Resume Crusade, and although I am not looking to “hire” anyone, I work with a lot of people and the plain and simple truth is, yes there is a talent gap, it’s real and it has levels. There are people with degrees, even multiple degrees but they are still part of the talent gap. There are people with experience but its old and outdated so they are part of the gap as well. And of course there are others who have very little education or experience.

The other day I was doing chores and I thought about my grandmother and great uncle and the memories came flooding back – this skill/talent gap thing is nothing new.

(You just have to make do with what you have)


  1. Janine Truitt

    Good post and point. I just spoke to some HR practitioners about this very thing. I said to them: what if better talent never comes? How will you make use of what you have. It is nothing new and in my opinion another scare tactic.

    Good job, CDF!


    1. newresource (Post author)

      Thanks Janine!

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