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How to diagnose a skill gap in a company? (Part 1)

A skill gap in a company is the gap between the level of skills of the employees and the one required to occupy their position or to meet the specific needs of the company. But how to detect a skill gap? Focus on the tools available to a human resources team to diagnose it.



Skill gaps in companies


Zoom in on the definition of the skill gap concept and the different scales of analysis to measure it.


What is a skill gap?


A skill gap can refer to two situations:


  • the gap between the skills or skill level of employees and the level of skills required to hold a given position


  • the gap between the skills of employees at a given moment and the skills needs of a company to achieve its strategic goals.


The competency-based approach allows companies to identify skill gaps, and thus to propose appropriate training to increase employees’ skills. In the event that the skill gap cannot be covered internally, companies can then recruit new talent.


Related: How do you bridge a skill gap in companies? (Part 2)



The skill gap scale


Skill gaps can be identified at two scales: the individual scale and the company scale.


The individual scale makes it possible to identify a specific skill held – or not – by an employee at a given moment. This approach is particularly useful when new projects involving new tasks are being developed.


At the organizational level, the general approach aims to identify possible gaps in the face of new skill requirements resulting from structural changes or the emergence of new technologies.


Whether the organization wants to analyze its needs at the individual or global level, it can rely on certain key tools to diagnose skill gaps.



What tools can be used to diagnose a skill gap?


There are various methods for diagnosing a skill gap, but all rely on the data held by the company.


Use a skills repository as a starting point


The skills repository is a tool that allows companies to list in detail all the skills present within their organization. When it comes to diagnosing a skill gap, this human resources management tool is indispensable. It provides an overview of the skills available at the company level, but also for each employee. The skills repository allows organizations to confirm or deny the presence of skills and their level of mastery.


Related: What’s a jobs & skills repository? How does it relate to skill mapping?



→ The annual interview


The annual interview is a particularly opportune time to diagnose a potential skill gap. During annual interviews, managers and team leaders can assess the level of employees on a set of key skills related to their positions. This peer evaluation allows for the collection of data, a true foundation of information needed to diagnose a skill gap.


Related: HR data to boost employee engagement



Employee self-assessment


The employee self-assessment is another mode of diagnosing a skill gap. Unlike peer reviews, in which managers and team leaders conduct skill assessments, self-assessment allows each employee to assess him or herself. It is an interesting tool to assess the skills of the employees and to allow them to highlight the gap between their current and desired skill level.



→ The SWP


Strategic workforce planning (SWP) is a forward-looking approach to human resources management. It allows companies to take stock of the skills available internally and to identify the changes that will affect them. In this way, the organization can implement the necessary actions to remain competitive and achieve its strategic goals in a changing context.


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Illustration credits: https://www.istockphoto.com/fr/portfolio/Tawatdchai_Muelae