The value of investment in training to tackle talent shortages

peer coaching, training

If your business faces challenges in finding employees, especially those with the relevant skills for the job at hand, you’re not alone.

It is reported that 75 per cent of Australia’s CEOs are concerned about the availability of skills, a significant increase from 58 per cent in the previous year. Consequently, many businesses are turning to training and development to fill shortages. A recent Ai Group survey found that training and development is a priority business investment for 58 per cent of CEOs this year.

Many small businesses have faced significant challenges in the past two years, employee training and development have largely been put on the back burner, and business continuity has been prioritised.

As a part of the recent federal budget, the government has responded to this critical need by investing $1.6 billion in tax breaks for small businesses that invest in training new employees and improved technology.

The time is now for small businesses to leverage this incentive and invest in training and professional development to help tackle the talent challenges of today and ensure success in the future of work.

Making it easier to attract, develop and retain talent

Despite the growing talent gap, research from PwC indicates that recruitment strategies have not changed much and that there has been a widespread lack of focus on developing and retaining talent.

Upskilling existing employees requires a much smaller investment, compared to recruiting new hires, and delivers greater long-term benefits. With 85 per cent of SMEs admitting to being unprepared for the disruption caused by the pandemic, small businesses must recognise the advantages of training.

Training and upskilling enable small-business owners to ensure their teams are equipped with the relevant skills to succeed in the face of ongoing uncertainty and in the future of work.

The goal for small businesses should be to create ways to future proof their team, to drive both recovery and ongoing expansion.

The monetary and employability value of ongoing training and development

Recent research from the Project Management Institute (PMI) demonstrates the monetary value of ongoing training, development and certification. The research found that those with a professional project management certification enjoyed increased earning potential citing a 16 per cent higher median salary on average.

Half of the 23,700 professional certification holders enjoyed an increase in total compensation, including salary, bonus, and other cash incentives, with almost a quarter reporting a total compensation increase of at least five per cent in the past year.

This demonstrates the value of ongoing training and development to the workforce and improves the ability of small businesses with a strong offering, to attract and retain top talent.

The growing need for project-based skills and training

Small businesses powered by successful project delivery are key drivers of economic growth. As ways of working continue to evolve and more and more industries become projectised, the demand for key project management skills such as leadership, adaptability, communication and resilience is expected to soar in the coming decade.

In fact, research from PMI reveals that 81 per cent of business decision-makers believe that upskilling via training courses and certifications can further professional progress.

However, according to PwC research, just 29 per cent of businesses offer on-demand, microlearning tools, or encourage social and informal learning to boost skills. Additionally, just 38 per cent use technology to facilitate agile, innovative and continuous learning.

In order to tackle talent shortages facing the Australian market, small businesses must invest in training and development opportunities to boost workforce capabilities. This investment will pay dividends, creating a business advantage for small businesses that are able to unlock the value of existing staff and ensure ongoing and future success.