Why Skills Gaps Persist and How Businesses Can Fix Them

Why skills gaps persist and how businesses can fix them

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Skills gaps are a pervasive issue in many industries, often leading to decreased productivity and efficiency.

According to new research from the Association for Talent Development (ATD), roughly 82% of employers report a skills gap in their business.

In the information technology (IT) sector alone, the skills gap has increased startlingly, with estimates indicating a global shortage of 3.5 million IT professionals.

Understanding why these gaps persist and how to fix them is crucial for any business aiming to thrive in today’s competitive landscape.

Defining skills gaps

Organisation discussing issue about skills gaps.

A skills gap is a discrepancy between the skills that employers need and the skills that employees possess. 

This gap can be at an individual level, where a worker needs more skills required for their role, or at an organisational level, where a company needs help finding or developing the skills it needs to achieve its objectives.

Skills gaps can occur in any industry and at any level, from entry-level positions to senior management.

They can be technical, such as a lack of coding skills in a software company, or soft, such as poor communication or leadership abilities.

Current skills gaps in Australia

The annual Skills Priority List (SPL) released by Jobs and Skills Australia shows that 36% of occupations assessed are in shortage, with information communication technology (ICT) and science roles sitting at the top of the list.

Within the ICT field alone, roughly 70% of ICT professionals’ occupations are in shortage around Australia.

In addition, the inaugural Jobs and Skills Report emphasises the pressing challenge of skills shortages, with digital literacy gaps posing a threat to the country’s ability to leverage emerging technologies.

Acting Commissioner of Jobs and Skills Australia, Professor Peter Dawkins, says this marks a skills challenge not seen for nearly 60 years.

“A focused and coordinated effort is required to ensure Australians are equipped with the knowledge, skills and capabilities needed for today and tomorrow,” Dawkins said in the report’s foreword.

Why skills gaps persist

Fast-paced technological advancements

One of the main reasons why skills gaps persist is the rapid pace of technological advancements.

As technology continues to evolve, new skills are constantly required.

This can make it difficult for employees to keep up, leading to a gap between the skills they have and the skills they need.

Moreover, many businesses struggle to provide adequate training for their employees to keep up with these changes.

This can be due to a lack of resources, time, or understanding of the new technologies.

Changing market demands

Another factor contributing to the persistence of skills gaps is changing market demands.

As consumer preferences and needs change, businesses must adapt their products and services accordingly.

This often requires new skills, leading to a gap if employees are not adequately trained or prepared.

Furthermore, expanding into new markets or sectors can also expose businesses to skills gaps.

This is because the skills required in these new areas may differ from those in their existing operations.

If your business has a skills gap, chances are it is costing your organisation in the form of lost revenue, project delays or increased costs.

The Institute of Data’s Corporate Training program provides experts to train team members in the skills they need to get them to a state of efficiency, thereby closing the skills gap.

By leveraging external industry experts for short, intensive training periods, our programs provide a highly effective, cost-efficient solution to address skills gaps immediately.

With our guidance, your workforce can rapidly adapt to the evolving demands of your industry, ensuring that you maintain your competitive edge. Find out more here.

How to fix skills gaps

Company investing in training and development to fix skills gaps.

Investing in training and development

The most effective way to fix skills gaps is through training and development.

Investing in their employees’ skills can ensure businesses have the capabilities they need to succeed.

Training can take many forms, from formal courses and qualifications to on-the-job training and mentoring.

The key is to ensure that the training is relevant and tailored to the skills gaps identified.

Recruiting skilled workers

Another way to fix skills gaps is by recruiting skilled workers.

This can be an effective strategy if the skills gaps are significant and cannot be filled through training alone.

However, it’s important to remember that recruitment is not a one-time solution.

Businesses must continue to invest in their employees’ skills to ensure they remain relevant and competitive.

Creating a skills development culture

Finally, businesses can fix skills gaps by creating a culture of skills development.

This means encouraging continuous learning and development and recognising and rewarding employees for improving their skills.

This can help to ensure that skills gaps do not persist, as employees are motivated and equipped to develop the skills they need.

Bridging skills gaps with the Institute of Data’s corporate training

Employees bridging skills gaps with school's corporate training.

Despite the fact that online learning resources are more accessible than ever, skills gaps persist in the workforce.

That is why the Institute of Data offers a solution that goes beyond traditional online modules, providing industry expert-guided training to upskill and reskill employees efficiently and effectively.

Why traditional online training falls short:

  • Despite the abundance of online resources, they often fall short in upskilling individuals effectively.
  • The gap arises as employees need more than self-paced modules to gain professional skills.
  • Expert guidance is crucial for effective skill acquisition.

How the Institute of Data solves skills gaps:

  • Industry experts: The Institute of Data leverages a network of industry experts for accelerated workforce training.
  • Tailored training: Offering short, intensive training periods tailored to specific skills needs.
  • Immediate impact: Efficiently addresses skills gaps, minimising lost revenue and project delays.

Enquire today to find out how the Institute of Data can help your organisation upskill and maintain a competitive edge.


Skills gaps can be a significant challenge for businesses, but they are not insurmountable.

Understanding why these gaps persist and implementing strategies to fix them ensures that businesses have the skills they need to succeed.

Whether through training and development, recruitment, or creating a culture of skills development, there are many ways to bridge skills gaps.

The key is to be proactive and committed to continuous learning and improvement.

If you’re interested in further training for your organisation or team, we invite you to consider the Institute of Data’s Corporate Training program.

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