HR bosses back data insight to tackle skills shortages

hr this oneData and insight techniques might be driving nearly every business function these days but, when it comes to recruitment at least, almost half (46%) of UK businesses still rely on “instinct and gut feel” to assess their organisation’s current and future skills needs.
This is despite the fact that the vast majority (83%) of HR leaders regard data as critical to improving recruitment and talent acquisition, and 81% admit that they need more visibility into current skills within the workforce.
That is according to new research from Capita Resourcing – based on interviews with 350 HR and recruitment specialists, 500 business leaders and more than 2,000 employees – which claims to show the vast potential that data and insight have in deliver the skills businesses crave.
It reveals that half of all HR leaders believe that at least 50% of all skills gaps within their organisation could be addressed by better use of data, while 45% believe that data and insight will enable them to predict future skills gaps before they become problematic.
However, HR departments continue to struggle to use data effectively, and nearly a quarter of senior business leaders say the function is the worst at collecting, analysing and using data to optimise and measure performance.
Even so, HR leaders are not burying their heads in the sand; more than a third (34%) report that successful use of data in other parts of the business is shining the spotlight on current usage of data within their departments, and more than half (51%) are concerned about falling behind their competitors.
Employees have also recognised the need for improvements; 92% of UK workers claim their firm could make better use of data to enhance their own experience.
When it comes to the barriers to success, data security and protection were cited as the biggest issue, with 41% of HR leaders reporting that data protection concerns are making it difficult to effectively turn data into insight.
There is also plenty of “analysis paralysis”, where organisations simply cannot manage the amount of workforce data they are generating; some 40% claim that the sheer volume of information has become a challenge. Other barriers include budgetary constraints (32%), fragmented and disparate data (31%), outdated technology (26%), and a lack of analytical skills within the organisation (25%).
Capita Resourcing executive director Geoff Smith said: “Organisations need complete visibility of skills across the workforce to make more informed, strategic decisions, not only when it comes to hiring, but also utilisation and mobility of current talent and skills. With greater insight on employees and candidates, HR can improve quality of hire, but also drive employee engagement and retention (through better cultural fit of hires), workforce diversity and business agility.
“HR leaders need to adopt a highly targeted approach to data, identifying the areas where they need greater insight into the workforce and developing a data strategy which informs, supports and measures overall workforce objectives. This means ensuring they equip themselves with the necessary skills and expertise, both internal and external, and the technology and tools to maximise the game-changing benefits of their data and insight.”

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