What’s new in the world of skills in Q3/2010?

The IT Skills Study 2010, Debates on demography, the shortage of skilled workers and the calculation of the risks affecting project staffing.

The tremendous response to our IT Skills Study 2010, which was published in July, supports our view that IT business alignment is still a burning topic of discussion.

We are also very pleased about the coverage in the trade press, starting with the article in the CIO by Werner Kurzlechners.

Another article at businessweek.com goes into IT business alignment in greater depth and proposes a capability map for the implementation of IT business alignment.

There appears to be broad agreement on the prevailing trends on the IT job market. computerworld.com sticks its neck out to identify the indispensable skills of the future in this article.

A concern which surfaced in the IT world earlier in the year is now finally being addressed by policymakers and the media: the shortage of STEM skills for which BITKOM President Scheer argues there are structural reasons. He appealed directly to those responsible for educational policy to take corrective action now, particularly as regards STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

There are many reasons for the current malaise. Industry has been far more deeply aware of the issues at stake than policymakers, particularly as regards education policy, as Michael Hüther correctly criticises in his essay for the Handelsblatt.

A more encouraging framework for the immigration of highly qualified workers is definitely one important response to current demographic trends and a growing skills shortage.

The essential ingredients which business and industry must add are efficient talent management as well as, whenever possible, skills and competency management.

In this context we also warmly recommend the study by the PwC Saratoga Institute on “Managing people in a changing world – Key trends in human capital, a global perspective – 2010” which appeared in July.

This study also emphasises the increasing importance of human resources management in response to the growing skills shortage.

The Handelsblatt names the pioneering companies in Germany and explains what makes their programmes so good.

It all sounds very convincing and the programmes referred to are all excellent tools for recruiting and securing the loyalty of employees; but how can employers identify the talents and competences of their employees? Incompetent employees jeopardise corporate objectives; but how can a company know how incompetence manifests itself?

This is not only one of the objectives of our skills management concept, but also an idea proposed by two American social psychologists, David Dunning and Justin Kruger, who have discovered that the DKE, or Dunning-Kruger effect, occurs in the business world more often than one might have supposed. DKE means that incompetent people are too incompetent to recognise their own incompetence – and therefore consider themselves to be more competent than others.

The situation can only be resolved with feedback from those with real competence or with the aid of an ingenious skills management system which identifies gaps in knowledge and makes suggestions for improvements.

Franck Marle and Julie Le Cardinal from the Laboratoire Genie Industriel at the Ecole Centrale Paris have come up with some new scientific discoveries, including an algorithm for calculating the risks inherent in project staffing. The idea is that this should remove some of the risks involved in the decision-making process.

Readers for whom this all sounds far too abstract are welcome to contact us. Matching project roles perfectly with people is, after all, one of the features of decídalo.