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Unformatted text preview: Towards a shared understanding of skill shortages: differing perceptions of training and development needs Denise Skinner Mark N.K. Saunders and Richard Beresford The authors Denise Skinner is Reader in Strategic HRM, Mark N.K. Saunders is Director of Research and Richard Beresford is Enterprise Centre Manager, all at Oxford Brookes University Business School, Oxford, UK. Keywords Skills shortages, Automotive industry, Education, Training Abstract The question of how to develop human capabilities to meet current and future needs of organisations has become an important issue at national, organisational and individual levels. An essential ingredient is shared understanding of the skills and competences deemed necessary and/or desirable for current and future performance. Current indications in the UK are that this may not exist and that there is an incompatibility between supply and demand. This paper reports on a research project undertaken in the UK automotive sector to explore the extent and nature of the differences in perception among stakeholders relating to the skills and development needs of current and future employees. Using the template approach data were collected from those providing training and those who are consumers of training. Comparison identified competing demands and differences in expectation and attainment, particularly in relation to prospective employees, potentially resulting in dissatisfaction and disappointment for all concerned. Electronic access The Emerald Research Register for this journal is available at www.emeraldinsight.com/researchregister The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at www.emeraldinsight.com/0040-0912.htm Introduction It has long been argued that the skills and competences of individuals, whether developed through formal education, training or experience, are essential for economic growth and activity. In the turbulent business environment of the last decade the question of how to develop human capabilities to meet the current and future needs of organisations has become an important issue at national, organisational and individual levels. Unsurprisingly then, training and development are frequently cited in the literature as the cornerstone of human resource management (Heyes, 1998) and are portrayed as indisputable win-win scenarios. Organisations benefit from a more flexible, committed and motivated workforce while employees experience the psychological rewards of feeling valued by the organisation and are able to undertake more interesting and challenging work. However, a necessary ingredient to ensure that these truly are win-win scenarios would seem to be a shared understanding among all those involved of the skills and competences deemed necessary and/or desirable for current and future performance. This understanding needs to encompass not only those currently working in a given industry or sector but also prospective employees and external training providers....
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- Spring '08