How to address the skill gap that hinders Innovation?

Vidya Gopinath for keySkillsetVidya Gopinath for keySkillset
Vidya Gopinath for keySkillset
How to address the skill gap that hinders Innovation?

Table of Contents 

  •  Introduction 
  •  When skill gaps are expected to occur within organizations 
  •  What lack of qualified workforce can mean for companies 
  •  Bridging the skill gap: How to do it? 
  • Conclusion 


Employers often find it difficult to find qualified candidates for job openings. And that often puts unnecessary pressure on company productivity. Skill gap identification is very important. A company that lacks competent employees is most likely unable to keep up with market trends. Because most, if not all, companies have this mismatch between the skills that companies expect an applicant to have and the skills that the applicant actually has, skill gaps are a truly growing problem. According to a statista report, in 2022, about 83% of industries in the South Asian country of India said they lacked talent. The construction industry has the greatest shortage of skilled workers at around 85%, closely followed by the IT and technology industries at 84%.

However, the important aspect is in how to address the skill gaps. By focussing on innovative learning techniques, it is now possible to upskill or reskill the existing employees to bridge this gap. Key competencies or skills are the driving force for innovation, which is the key to a company's survival. By investing in employee skills development, your company addresses the skill gaps in the workplace which are needed to sustain market, product and process innovation. 

In the meantime, as per a survey conducted by mckinsey, the respondents believe that their companies lack the talent they will need in the future. See the data below: 

When skill gaps are expected to occur within organizations 

What the lack of qualified workforce can mean for a company

In a rapidly changing economy, filling the skill gaps in the workplace can be a challenge. According to the World Economic Forum, nearly 8 in 10 global CEOs worry about the availability of the skills they need. About 60% of workers believe their current skills will be obsolete in the next 3 to 5 years.If there is a shortage of talent for certain areas or positions, the company may take longer to fill those positions. This shortage can affect the company in many ways as follows:

  • A loss of productivity 
  • Higher staff turnover 
  • Lower morale 
  • Lower quality of work 
  • Inability to grow the business 
  • Loss of revenue

The skills gap can be explained by a number of factors

Before bridging the skill gap, companies must do skill gap identification and understand why it exists. A number of explanations are possible for skill gaps in the workplace, some of which are listed below: 

  1. Technology: The world of work is changing as a result of the rise of disruptive new technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation. In the coming years, many jobs may become obsolete, and new ones will be created to support these new innovations. Gig economy also implies a fundamental shift in how people find work. The types of skills and job roles that employers require are changing due to these advancements, and qualified candidates are in short supply.
  1. Education: There are problems in education. Employers see gaps in areas such as basic literacy, numeracy, and IT.
  1. Training: Lack of training is another reason. Whereas in the past people were hired and then trained according to the requirements, today companies tend to look for ready-to-go candidates. Expectations and requirements often reflect this, as experience is valued more than potential. 

Bridging the skill gap: How to do it? 

After skill gap identification and the reasons for it, the question may now arise how to address the skill gaps. As per the Harvard Business Review, replacing the current workforce with fresh blood is a pervasive strategy but it's not the absolute solution. 


  1. There are not enough skilled or trained professionals to fill the gap
  2. It's more expensive and risky to hire someone new than to train someone already in the company 

Basically, employers need to identify and signal the skills they need and develop mechanisms to recruit, train, and retain employees.  There are several ways to develop a future-proof workforce that is ready for digitization. This involves training in various forms. They are: 

  • Reskilling- process of preparing employees to take on new responsibilities.
  • Upskilling- acquisition of new skills in order for an employee to improve in their current role.
  • Digital training- focuses on the digital skills required in today's workforce.

So, here let us look at some low cost ways for bridging the skill gaps. 

  1. Make the investment scalable- when you spend on upskilling or training your employee bring them back in house and get them to share their knowledge with others. 
  2. Maximize the knowledge already existing in the organization. Arrange for peer-to-peer training 
  3. Consider dedicated innovation time. Employees won't gain any new skills by just repeating the same old tasks. So let them pursue things they love. 
  4. Companies can also look at online modules or keySkillset programmes that help to bring the knowledge for everyone in the organization at just one cost. 


Addressing the skill gaps in the workplace requires an extensive skill gap analysis. This requires effective HR processes to correctly evaluate employee performance, determine the skill gaps, as well as identify the knowledge that is currently lacking or underdeveloped. Developing a culture of lifelong learning can encourage employees to develop new skills. Businesses looking to empower their employees and upskill them can take a look at our business learning solutions here. 

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