Talent Gap Analysis Explained: What Makes Recruitment Effective

Volodymyr Bilyk
13 May 2021

The talent gap is a natural occurrence within any business operation. The needs and goals are changing – thus changes the demands for personnel. 

While some of the growing business needs are within the scope of employee training, only recruitment can solve talent gaps. 

This article explains what talent gap analysis is and why it is critical in building an effective recruitment process.

What is a talent gap analysis?

The recruitment process is a cause-and-effect type of operation. It revolves around finding solutions for emerging needs. Predicting hiring needs is a sign of a well-rounded recruitment operation. Talent gap analysis plays a vital role in getting there. It is the cause of recruitment’s effect.

But what exactly is a talent gap? 

  • In general terms, the talent gap is a term to describe the lack of expertise or skilled professionals for specific positions within an organization. 
  • For example, the company is moving to cloud services but lacks qualified cloud engineers to handle this task. That’s a talent gap. 

What is a talent gap analysis?

  • It is a tool to assess and identify current and future hiring needs within the organization or specific department.
  • The overall goal is to understand what kind of talent you need to hire to ensure the proper functioning of the department and, consequently – meeting business goals. 
  • As such, talent gap analysis paves the for talent planning, which is the cornerstone of the effective hiring process with a cost-effective recruitment pipeline.

In of itself, the talent gap is not a negative term. The talent gap might occur because of short-sighted business decisions, but that’s not the only reason why it can happen. 

  • A company’s growth leads to the transformation of business needs that create a talent gap for a particular operation. That’s the most common reason.

There are two types of talent gaps:

  • Unforeseen” – the one that comes seemingly out of nowhere. In reality, it is a result of ignoring a small problem up until it grew into a big issue. That’s what happens if there is no talent gap analysis in place.
  • Foreseen – these are the talent gaps that emerge after undergoing the talent gap analysis.

Talent gap analysis breakdown: How to do it Right?

Talent Gap How to do it right?

1 Planning the Process

Planning and forethought are critical for the successful realization of any project. When it comes to human resources and recruitment – it is even more critical as the poorly thought-through activity may result in ballooning HR and recruitment costs and needless productivity waste. 

The thing with talent gap analysis is that it seems like you can do it on the spot, but in reality, for it to gather valuable insights, you need to know what you are looking for.

The planning itself usually goes like this:

  • Understanding goals – outlining the skills required to handle specific operations and breaking them down into dedicated positions. 
  • After that, you can understand which gaps can be fixed through additional training and which gaps requires recruitment.
  • The other side of this process matches the outline with the current employee’s skills—tools like Skills Base or Skills DB Pro help handle this task. 

2 Mapping Skills\Talent Hierarchy

Understanding gap impact is the next step towards assessing talent gaps in the organization. After all, you can handle all of the gaps at once – there must be priorities to make things work. 

The best way to understand the talent gaps is through skill\talent hierarchies. Here’s what it means:

  • Skills and positions are broken down by several criteria: applicability, sustainability, and immediacy. 
  • Applicability – how well talent\skills fit in the current organization in terms of utility – i.e., whether they are critically impactful to the workflow.
  • Sustainability – position’s potential to stay relevant in the future. This factor is critical for niche competencies. 
  • Immediacy – talent\skills you need to achieve goals now or in the near future (that’s one of the critical concepts of talent planning).

3 Gap Identification

This one is tricky. The thing is – while talent gap analysis is primarily a data-driven process, its interpretation goes far beyond crunching numbers. 

How to identify a talent gap:

  • The critical element is understanding business goals and projections – these things provide a direction.
  • Then, you need market intelligence on trends regarding the economy, technology, etc. 
  • Additionally, you need to have data on labor market capacity. These two provide reference points. 
  • Talent gap analysis provides you with internal data regarding the competencies and needs of the organization.
  • To understand the gap, you need to project internal data onto business goals. This juxtaposition exposes gaps concerning current goals. It enables further talent planning. 

The next step is to compare your research results with available industry and labor market data. This data will help to understand the complexity of the solution. 

4 Change Strategy

With talent gap analysis data in place – you need to figure out how to fill the gaps. While solving the skill gaps is usually covered by already present HR employee training programs (with a couple of tweaks), solving talent gaps is different. 

Even with the industry and labor market data at hand and a thick book of contacts – it is tough to find the right talent for the company. While skills and competencies may be easy to match, other factors make or break candidates and solve talent gaps.

I’m talking about culture fit, soft skills, and emotional intelligence. One of the critical aspects of solving a talent gap is providing a long-term solution. That’s the real challenge of handling talent gaps even with talent planning strategy intact.

Why can a recruitment agency help solve talent gaps?

Talent Gap Analysis Recruitment Agencies

Handling talent gaps on your own is an honorable but ultimately unfeasible feat. You need market intelligence, a birds-eye view of the labor market, and sprawling networking to make it work. However, getting the right talent to solve gaps is not that simple. 

Because of that, it makes sense to collaborate with recruitment agencies to streamline the process and smoothen the rough edges.

Here’s why:

  • Recruitment agencies maintain much more diverse networking to gather labor market insights. Because of the nature of their work, they have more data to work with. This aspect helps to understand the context of the situation.
  • Furthermore, recruitment agencies have deeper talent pools. This aspect helps solve gaps with quality candidates, thus lowering the chances of bad hires and minimizing its possible impact.

In conclusion

Talent gap analysis is one of the fundamental tools in understanding people’s impact on the company’s growth. 

When done right – it clearly outlines and maps out what kind of talent the company needs to succeed.  

If you need help with handling talent gap analysis and solving talent gaps – our recruitment and HR consultants can help you.

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