What SMEs Can Do to Beat the Talent Crunch

Even if you don’t work in HR, it’s likely that you’ve heard murmurings about the talent crunch the world will face as technology rapidly advances and many current members of the workforce retire. Asia Pacific is forecast to be hit hardest by the impending labour shortage, with a potential loss of 47 million employees across the region by 2030[1].

Though that may seem like a very long time from now – especially if your company is just getting off the ground – when it comes to thinking about your long-term business and staffing plans, it really isn’t that far into the future. Thinking about how to tackle the talent crunch now is well worth your time, and we have a few tips on how you can stay ahead of the curve.


Invest in Upskilling Your Employees

Show your employees you value them by investing in their futures – if there are skills they need to acquire to move forward in their role, especially in the digital realm, look into ways to help them develop those skills. This support could include offering a flexible work schedule so they can attend classes, funding a course they’re interested in, or if you can’t afford it then applying for grants that would offset course costs. Your team members will appreciate any support you can provide, and they’ll know that you value them enough to invest in their careers.


Recruit Fresh Graduates

If your team is lacking technical skills, then looking at newly minted university graduates might be the answer to adding those skills to your talent arsenal. Often well-versed in the latest emerging trends and skilled in the newest tech, these entry-level employees are a great investment – and not just financially. By bringing them on-board at your SME or startup, they’ll likely have more immediate responsibility than they would at a large company and will be in a position to grow, flourish and perhaps even teach other employees some of their knowledge.


Rethinking Job Requirements

When you’re writing a job scope for a new position, it’s likely that you end up describing your dream candidate and list every single requirement you can possibly think of. This can sometimes result in what recruiters call a “purple squirrel” – a job description that no candidate is going to successfully measure up to. So next time you have a position open, instead of making a list of lofty ideals, instead consider qualities like willingness to learn, attitude and work ethic, rather than just skill sets, degrees and knowledge. You might be pleasantly surprised by the candidates who respond.


Consider Non-Traditional Candidates

Much like how you rethink job scopes, rethinking your candidate pool can be equally beneficial. Instead of classifying something as entry-level or mid-management – or listing preferred years of experience –  list just the job requirements and the ideal candidate qualities and see who responds. By dropping your expectations of age, gender, or experience and weighing soft skills heavier than specific skill sets, you could end up with keen new employees with great attitudes and a passion for learning – a mix that can create an enthusiastic workplace culture and lead to innovation.


Embrace the Gig Economy

It’s very possible that every now and then you’ll be in urgent need of a skill set that no one in your team has: think design, content or digital issues that should be addressed quickly and skillfully. Engaging a freelancer is often the most efficient and cost-effective option – and many freelancers can now be found on gig platforms, which act as an intermediary between you and the freelancer. By embracing this type of platform, you’ll be able to meet your business needs and forge a new, lucrative working relationship.


By looking into these solutions now and considering how your business can combat the talent crunch, you’ll be in a position to make informed, strategic hiring decisions that will enable your company to grow and prosper.


[1] http://www.humanresourcesonline.net/singapore-to-potentially-suffer-talent-shortage-of-more-than-1m-workers/