Skilled workers that companies rely on to drive their businesses forward are becoming increasingly elusive, and it's likely that thousands of companies across the UK will face significant skills shortages in the coming years.
Manpower's 2012 Talent Shortages Survey found that, even though many companies are still cautious in terms of hiring, one-third of employers across the globe have already identified a lack of available skilled talent as a significant barrier to business performance. At the same time, research from the Fawcett Society has found that unemployment among UK women has risen to a 25-year high. So, why is it that even though businesses are crying out for a skilled workforce, women remain a largely untapped source of talent?
We live in the "Human Age", an era defined by the skills and potential of people, so having a diverse talent pipeline that captures abilities across different ages and genders is more important than ever. If HR professionals continue to overlook women as a key source of talent, it could affect the performance of the businesses and indeed the whole economy for years to come.
There's no doubt that gender equality has been a key challenge for businesses for many years, but in an ageing population the issue will only get more pressing as female workers will increasingly need to juggle the demands of work, and caring for children and elderly relatives.
In order to tackle the issue of attracting and retaining female talent, it's vital that employers take a close look at their existing talent management models, which may need to be completely redesigned to respond to this change.
This may seem like a massive task for businesses, and will certainly require investment and organisational change. But if employers fail to address gender equality now they will almost certainly reach a talent crisis point in a few years, which will inevitably involve significant organisational upheaval at a cost and pace that the business may struggle to manage.
Diversity has far-reaching implications
By 2050, it's expected that there will be almost twice as many people over the age of 65 as there are under the age of 15 in Europe. With an ever-shrinking talent