Skill Mismatch and Talent Retention: comparing young generations and companies

Skill mismatch e talent retention, giovani e aziende

In recent years, companies and young people have been facing a crucial problem: the skill mismatch, or the imbalance between the skills required by companies and those of young workers. This phenomenon, which has becoming increasingly evident, has a significant impact on the economy and on the growth opportunities of young people and companies.

The advent of new technologies and global economic dynamics led to a quick evolution of labor markets. Companies are constantly looking for talents who can adapt to quick changes and add value to their operations. On the other hand, young people often find themselves unprepared or underprepared to meet the demands of work, due to an education that does not keep pace with the changing needs of the market.

This phenomenon is all the more true when you are in an industrial environment, where companies complain about the difficulty of finding candidates who have both technical and transversal skills for various reasons, including:

  • A school system that does not prepare enough for technical work and does not offer much space for STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

  • An aftermath of the effects of the economic boom that leads workers to seek greater economic well-being and the desire to “climb” social positions by approaching office jobs, and moving away from more technical professions.
  • A society that lives in speed, immediacy and even instantaneity, that deprives companies of the time to narrate the goodness of their work, and at the same time deprives young people of the necessary training.

This situation generates frustration for companies, which struggle to find the right profiles to develop their businesses and remain competitive.

Skill Mismatch in the Bergamo area

The phenomenon of skill mismatch is also a major problem in the Bergamo area, and generates a significant vacuum for both businesses and workers. Statistics reveal that, for every 100 unemployed persons, there are at least 82.8 vacancies in companies that cannot be filled.

With an unemployment rate of 3.4% in the Bergamo area, it is estimated that there are at least 17,000 people looking for work*; from this it can be assumed that throughout the province there are also numerous job positions that remain uncovered due to the lack of professional profiles consistent with the required skills.

This situation represents a significant challenge for the Bergamo area, as companies are facing a shortage of skilled workers, while the unemployed struggle to find suitable employment opportunities.

Furthermore, the progressive lack of skills within the workforce accentuates the problem, as there are workers with great technical experience but with little digital skills, and vice versa people with great digital skills but without concrete work experience.

Imex, Employer Branding and corporate attractiveness

A complementary problem to the Skill Mismatch in search of the candidate with the right skills, once identified, is Telent Retention, the ability to avoid the talent drain going beyond the concept of remuneration as the only attractive factor for a young person.

At the end of January, Imex had the opportunity to discuss this topic and to test itself thanks to Confindustria Bergamo and Delta Index, with the participation in a project promoted by the Sesaab group to raise awareness and support companies in terms of employer branding.

With an ad hoc tool we carried out a brief internal company analysis, which helped us to measure the level of attractiveness of the company in a young person, where by young person we mean a candidate at most on the threshold of 30 years, with little work experience, a high level of digitization and little ambition to find the permanent job. 

The analysis tool helped us understand the mechanisms that regulate the process of choosing a company in the eyes of a potential candidate, and the actions to be taken to attract motivated young people, retain them and make them stay:

1. ATTRACT: this phase precedes the selection of the candidate, it takes place through social communication, promotional activities, interaction with the educational system: if a company wants qualified young people it must go and look for them in their chosen places, schools. In fact, young people are looking for identity, and seek information first of all through social channels: a company that communicates in a young and informal way, that shows its daily operations and work environment is potentially more interesting than others.

2. SELECTION: in order to select young people with suitable soft skills it’s necessary to focus on the potential of the candidate, developing a balance of skills that takes into account 4 fundamental skills:

  • Organization (organizational capacity)
  • Motivation (motivational skills)
  • Autonomy (ability to make decisions)
  • Relationship (soft skills)

Already in the interview phase it’s possible to put the candidate in front of concrete facts and technical problems, to identify potentials and weaknesses.

3. TRAINING: when a young person begins his working adventure in the company it’s necessary to train him, make him independent, productive, but above all make him feel an important part of the workflow. Continuous dialogue, comparison and clear and achievable objectives are fundamental in this phase for the retention of the new resource.

3. RETENTION: young people are attracted not only by the salary, but also by the atmosphere that reigns in the company, by the fact of feeling part of it, by the informal work environment and by the ability to convey to the young people passion for what one does.

Imex is a constantly evolving company where our perception of the well-being of those who work for us and with us also evolves; the path we have taken is only the first step towards the creation of an even more modern and attractive company, in step with the times and capable of sharing an eye to the future with the younger generations.

  • Source: Osservatorio del Lavoro della Provincia di Bergamo on data from Istat, Anpal and Eurostat (April 2023)