Almost every sector is facing skills shortages – both more generalised and within specific areas. It is easy to suggest that companies cannot find the candidates they require or the skills that they need because these simply don’t exist. Rather is it possible that South African businesses do not have the skills they need to run good businesses because they are looking in the wrong places? It’s standard practice to put out an advertisement for your dream candidate, but what do you do when you don’t find the right candidates? That’s exactly what’s happening even though we are experiencing an unprecedented unemployment crisis.

A very practical and longer term approach is to be more proactive and look within when it comes to both identifying and developing skills. This all comes down to good succession and replacement planning – and not just for top and critical positions. Of course, it all starts with a skills audit which will deliver you a skills gap analysis. Many companies aren’t taking this seriously enough yet, and the process remains ad hoc and incomplete in many instances. It is time for a change of mindset. A skills audit provides you invaluable information that you can use immediately for internal employee selection, training and promotion. By doing this, you ensure that the correct person is deployed in each position. Effective career pathing and succession planning cannot take place without a foundation of accurate and up to date information.