By Valerie Everitt
June 26 2008
A phrase in an article I read recently made me pause for thought. Alongside the familiar "credit crunch", it introduced the "skills crunch" - the threat posed by the shortage of skills necessary to compete in the global economy. The writer asked what would happen if the two crunches collided and also considered how a short-term economic slowdown might affect employers facing the challenge to upgrade skills and manage talent.
The resounding conclusion was that smart employers need to hold their nerve and keep on investing in their staff. Talent will be vital to organisations fighting their way out of any slowdown. Cutting budgets for training and development programmes could risk losing the very people needed to survive and thrive in the future.
The same is true for individuals: ensuring management and leadership skills are ahead of the game gives us a competitive advantage in the workplace.
As we progress the institute's medium-term strategy for education, it's very encouraging to see how many individual and corporate members are investing in the range of learning opportunities available, despite the other business pressures which can so easily side-track the best intentions.
Involvement at CPD events is growing thanks to a dynamic programme run by our volunteers through regional, Sig and sector forum events. Attendance on BIFM Training's short course and bespoke programmes continues to be very strong, attracting an audience keen to participate in interactive sessions with industry experts. For those following a more formal pathway towards a qualification, candidate numbers are also on the increase.
In all these opportunities, it's usually a partnership approach between individuals and employers that makes things happen and brings the benefits back to the bottom line. If you know your organisation values your effort and motivation, it's a lot easier to go the extra mile and make some space for study or attending an evening event. When an organisation can see the positive impact of learning and development on staff performance, it's an incentive not to trim the training budget but instead invest in management and leadership skills for individuals and their teams.
To help beat the skills crunch, BIFM is working with employers, including through the Employer Forum, to develop the next generation of education products. It's an exciting challenge and one we need to tackle together to achieve the best results.