The United States is facing a growing skills gap that threatens the nation’s long-term economic prosperity. The workforce simply does not have enough workers and skilled candidates to fill an ever-increasing number of high-skilled jobs. This means attracting talent is a key activity for growing companies.

As the country nears full employment, businesses face an even greater talent shortage that will have a stifling impact on the economy and global innovation. Business and HR leaders view the skills shortage as a top concern that needs to be addressed. Among HR professionals, 75% of those having recruiting difficulty say there is a shortage of skills in candidates for job openings. 

Until now, little has been known about how businesses are addressing the skills gap or whether there are effective remedies. Our research shows that employers are making efforts. They are investing in employee training, hiring from more diverse pools of talent and collaborating with educational institutions.

Women participating in a training program which help with attracting talent

Why innovating L&D programs matter in the recruiting process

By investing in L&D, you’re making a commitment to your employees’ professional development. This contributes to engagement and retention among your current employees, and it can be a competitive advantage in your approach to recruiting as well. Here’s why.

L&D is a priority for attracting millennial talent

According to Pew research, more than one in three American workers are millennials, which makes this group the largest percentage of the American workforce. And 59% of millennials say that opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job. So if you want to reach the largest segment of workers during the recruiting process, it makes sense to focus on what matters most to them.

It shows candidates you’re invested in their future

Millennials sometimes get a bad rap for job-hopping, but one of the main reasons they choose to leave companies is because they don’t have enough growth opportunities there. By the same token, “opportunities to learn and grow” are one of the top three factors in retaining millennials. Leaving generational differences aside for a moment, all employees can benefit from L&D initiatives. By promoting this aspect of your values during the recruiting process, you’re also more likely to attract candidates who value continued learning and embody a growth mindset–which is an important trait in today’s era of rapid change and innovation. You can offer career development programs that help employees think through their next career move and then help them achieve that goal through learning–whether it’s a horizontal or vertical move. See my blog Forget Career Ladders: 4 Steps to Career Development.

Innovative training programs can be a competitive advantage for your employer brand in the race to attract talent

As you develop your employer brand, focusing on L&D opportunities at your company can be a key way to differentiate yourself from other companies. Research from Universum and the DHI Group found that 68% of the world’s most attractive employers already have an employer branding strategy in place and believe that their employer value proposition is clearly linked to their HR/talent development strategy. Plus, Glassdoor found that 60% of candidates strongly consider perks and benefits before evaluating a job offer. For example, leading recruitment agency Robert Half found that candidates evaluate job offers holistically beyond compensation and specifically look for companies that will invest in their career development.

How to attract talent with innovative training

Innovative training programs are key to attracting talent and consequently key to the company’s survival

Companies that seek to attract top talent should start considering innovative learning and development opportunities as a way of reinforcing their employer brand and their recruitment strategy. In such a competitive job market like the one we have right now, the best candidates choose employers that invest in employees’ career development and give them a chance to keep updating their skills and knowledge, so they stay relevant. One way of innovating is to use immersive training in your training programs. Want to know why? Then read this article.