One of the primary reasons unemployment is low even though there are millions of jobs available is the skills gap. Many of the employees that are available for work lack the necessary skills for the available positions.

This leaves companies with one of two choices: buy the talent they need, or build it.

Buying Talent

One strategy for acquiring the talent you need is to create a more compelling employee value proposition for passive candidates. To attract someone who already has a job, who likely has some seniority, and who is invested in the company where they work, is going to require that you provide them with something more than they're getting now.

The employee value proposition that attracts passive candidates does not need to be entirely made up of a greater financial package, even though that may be a piece of the overall package. It might also include a different role, greater responsibility, or potential for advancement within a new company or a new market.

If you cannot acquire the talent you need for a specific position or for a certain skill set, and you can invest in building an employee value proposition for passive candidates, buying talent is an option.

Building Talent

For many companies, if they had the money to invest in buying the talent they need they would have already done so. When your financial resources don't allow you to buy the talent you need, you must apply a different set of resources—and a bit of resourcefulness—to the challenge of building the team you need.

For some positions and some skill sets, training and developing the skills within the individuals you hire is the most effective choice they can make. Even though you may not be constrained by financial resources, building skills takes time, and it takes effort. You are paying with time and energy instead of money.

To build talent, you must have people that can coach, train, and develop the skills you need in others. They must have the ability to transfer their skills to someone else. This requires training resources. If you have these resources and competencies, building talent is an excellent choice. 

In light industrial staffing, many employees have never taken a shop class, and they lack the skills to be a maintenance mechanic, a skill set that would've been more frequent three decades ago. In skilled and degreed segments, like professional, managerial, and accounting roles, unemployment is shockingly low, coming in at something around 1% for this population. In both cases, building the talent you need may be necessary.

Choices, Choices

Making a good choice between buying the talent you need or building it isn't easy. You may have to buy some talent, and build in other categories. The right answer is what is going to work best for you and your company.

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