We often see rising unemployment rates and think the talent shortage doesn’t exist anymore; however, it’s the skills gap that is still prevalent. And you might have the strongest recruiting team, but in today’s labor market, finding top talent remains difficult. Learn from Managing Director Kim Sneeder how CareerCircle is tackling this challenge by providing access to upskilling and reskilling tools to position workers for their next opportunity – and building active pipelines to address the skills shortage.
F: Welcome to Subject to Talent brought to you by Allegis Global Solutions. Similar to you, we're always trying to learn more. On this podcast, we speak to talent experts around the world covering workforce management, market trends, technology on our forever evolving dynamic industry.
Hello there. Welcome back to Subject to Talent. My name is Frank Edge and today we have our six-month anniversary episode. Thank you for all your support these past six months and we hope that you're enjoying our episodes so far. We have a team that is working very hard to bring you great episodes for the rest of the year. So please stay tuned for those.
And in today's episode, I had the privilege of sitting down with Kim and learning more about . Kim has over 20 years of experience in the talent industry. She's committed to digitally transforming the industry by providing an effective platform for education and upskilling opportunities. For the past year, she's been the Managing Director at . I hope you enjoy the episode.Hey Kim, how's it going? Welcome.
K: Wonderful, Frank. Thanks for having me today.
F: Are you comfortable?
K: I am. Thank you.
F: Cool. Very good. It's very good. Thank you so much for coming in. A question we like to start with on Subject to Talent is how did you get into this industry?
K: What a great question. As a recent graduate of James Madison University, I had interviewed with Aerotek in the staffing space and it was so ironic. I was an international business major. I spoke a few languages, my parents thought that I would pursue that career, but I was so inspired by the organization and the mission and what they set out to do that I joined the staffing industry. And I started off as a local recruiter, later went into sales, then went into national sales, supporting both government and the financial services vertical. And also spent some time running a few operations in Virginia until about a year ago.And that was 21 years of work in the staffing industry. And then about a year ago, I came over to to launch our first digital platform for Allegis. And the whole idea was how can we start to build new talent pipelines and really start to address the concern of the talent shortage?
F: Okay. Sweet, sweet. And you're from and for our listeners that don't know, can you give us a overview of what is?
K: Certainly. So was the first digital platform that Allegis and we launched it about a year ago. And the whole concept was how do we build this digital marketplace, a platform, a community where individuals could come to and gain access to the training or they needed to start to prepare for the jobs they wanted?At the end of the day, it's about building new talent pipelines. we can still meet a clients' needs by getting them the people they need; and also meet our community's needs. so many people out there that are looking for an opportunity. They're being told that they aren't qualified and we're trying to find that bridge to make sure they have the opportunity as well.
F: Okay. That's wonderful. And can you give us an example of why this business model is so important?
K: Absolutely. Oftentimes we see these rising unemployment rates and we think, "Okay, well the talent shortage doesn't exist anymore." But here's the reality, it's the skills gap that is still prevalent. So as an organization, you might need certain individuals that have a specific skill, and it's still as difficult three months, six months, nine months to find that person. And then think about all of these 10 million plus Americans that are out of work right now. Do we want to end the conversation with you aren't qualified and not provide a bridge? No. See that's why we need to think about how these individuals that are currently displaced, give them the skills that they need to then to start to solve these complex problems for clients. I often say, if we're thoughtful about this, we can truly impact our communities and our customers bottom line at the same time. COVID really highlighted, if you will, why we built in ways that were unexpected. But think about this. All of these Americans were displaced. At the same time, all of these new roles are being created. Roles that didn't exist. Think about a contact tracer, essentially someone with maybe a customer service background that has some technical training, but that role did not exist until this year. what we did was partnered with Google, we have them train candidates on the Google IT certificate, and let's say someone has a customer service background, but doesn't have a lot of practical knowledge in IT. This is a great opportunity for them to gain some experience, but also to serve our country in a way that is so needed right now. So again, I think it goes back to talent shortage meaning something different. It really is about the skills gap and getting people trained for the skills that companies so desperately need right now.
F: I bet it's a real busy time now because there's a lot of stuff going on. And like you said, this opportunity is for new positions, there's a lot of learning that can happen, right?
K: It is. And I see it across multiple industries and multiple verticals. So when I thought about the impact of the pandemic, we quickly started looking at what jobs are being introduced in the market, and then cross-referencing against what jobs are being displaced and then what skills, what they need, what curriculum, what coursework. So originally when we built , one of the statistics that just was in my brain all the time was, the 450 billion in unrealized revenue that was expected by 2030. And it wasn't always, we would hear the word talent shortage, but it's not always because of unemployment, often it's that skills gap. And so that's what we're trying to measure, in some ways will that statistic be true? I'm sure a part of it still will be, but how do we prepare people for the jobs that are available versus having those unemployment rates continue to rise.
F: Amazing. Thank you. And this crisis, this pending skills gap. What are the risks if we don't figure it out?
K: I think the risks are tremendous. Again, as we'd talk about that unrealized revenue, think about the impact of that, $112 million, 450 by 2030. Think about the domino effect of the impact of that. And then also think about the fact that, again, we have these individuals that are looking for opportunities. If we don't start to find a way where we're giving them the tools, how many times are we going to tell them that you aren't qualified and leave them in that place? There has to be a way. To me, I say for 21 years I jumped out of bed with all the passion in the world, because I believe that we could solve complex problems for companies.And I believe that started with the people. But when you have to tell someone time and time you're not qualified and you leave it there, that's not so inspiring. I think it's important that we start to solve it so that we do get that the clients can have that full realization of revenue. And then I think that we start to do meaningful work in our community. Think about the impact of impacting someone's life and impacting a client's bottom line at the same time. And that's inspiring. I can get out of bed for that.
F: That is inspiring. I like it. We have such a high pace of change in the world these days, keeping up with the latest and making sure that educated is really important. what are ways that someone can help balance education and experience to get their dream job?
K: Yeah. One thing that I've learned coming into this, I've been humbled by the understanding that the education sector is twice as large as staffing. Which coming from those 21 years, I thought staffing was massive. The reality is there are a lot of choices. And I think you have to understand, number one, commit to the fact that this is about lifelong learning. It's not going to be that you gain a skill and you're set for life.With the pace of technology change, you're going to constantly have to be upgrading your skills. And I think having a trusted partner where you start to understand, what do I need in this situation? Is it a hybrid model? Is it a boot camp? Is it self-paced? I think understanding the options that are out there and then the skills that you need to acquire and finding that trusted partner to help make some suggestions.
F: I liked how you said it's a lifelong thing like learning it's very important. I remember early in my career, one of my first jobs, there was a C-level executive in the office, very inspiring woman. And she was doing this finance degree even she's top. She's made it. She had a great career and she was there, but she was still obsessed with learning. Yeah, I was like, "Okay, that's what I've got to remember. I've got to keep on learning and there's no way you can ever stop." Because everything's changing and you've got to keep up.
K: That's exactly it. And I think as technology continues to progress and just the needs. I found myself in this new role, I'm constantly in that let's say opportunity of learning every day, but it makes you more marketable in industry. And I also think you can do more for the organization, which is really powerful.
F: we're approaching a crisis with the talent gap within the next 10 years. What are ways that we can prepare and help mitigate it?
K: Such a great question. I'll say this. I think it starts with the mindset shift. And I say that from personal experience, I've had to really change my mindset because I think most of us have lived under this expectation that we have to have someone with two to three years of experience. Sometimes we'll hear they have to have a college degree. Maybe you've heard things like we don't have the infrastructure to onboard someone that doesn't have experience. We need to have them hit the ground running. I mean, these are all the things that we say, I say or have said.And the reality is I think the bigger question is what happened in those 12 months where I didn't fill the position? And then when I did fill the position, did I still make concessions because I had to have somebody? So that's a reactive approach that puts us in a tough spot. I think as we start to look at our organizations and our groups, what are the key skill sets that are missing? What technology changes coming down the pipeline that we need to prepare for? And then almost look at in two dimensions. within our current staff, who can we upskill? Who can we give access to the training or skills they need for the next level? And then where can we start perhaps building new talent pipelines? What would be for lack of a better word, a feeder skill set? If you're looking to hire a trainer, could you find a teacher that's looking to make a career change and then give them access to the training? But I think if we're proactive around our individual group, what we need, and then how do we start to find the people in community, get them access to training?Then the last piece is the onboarding. It is true that a lot of teams don't have the infrastructure maybe to onboard. But I think when we can start to think about what to do it? Can they do a combination of on-the-job training while they're also taking their coursework? Are there internships,apprenticeships? Can we find ways to get them practical experience?I recently heard of a group of members on our team that are doing pro bono work on the side for some nonprofit, so that they're helping the nonprofit accomplish what they need to. But they're also taking the knowledge and they got from the coursework and applying them. I think we just have to keep our minds open to say, "What are the possibilities versus what are the restrictions?"
F: Okay. I love that. And I love the work that they're doing there. What other ways can people stay valuable and add to their education to progress with their current careers?
K: Yeah. I like to think of a candidate having a 360 view. I think historically we were limited to what I would call an auto match function. You take some of the key buzzwords, you throw them into a and you match or you don't match and that's somewhat limiting. when I think about a 360 view, I want to understand what courses have you taken. I want to understand what certifications gotten. I want to understand what projects worked on.We do a lot of work with returning mothers and we were talking about the fact that sometimes in this antiquated system we work in, a recruiter might say that they need their references from the past two years. And if you don't have them, you're no longer considered an applicant. Well, unless you're going to talk to my two-year-old, I might not have a reference for you. And what kind of things have you done from a 360 view that you've been able to gain experiences? And sometimes they come from life experiences.I can tell you the life experiences that I have earned over the last three years, having two three-year- have nicely complimented the 21 years of experience at Aerotek. Because they do teach you things like prioritization, time management. And we have to take patience and we have to take those things into account when we're thinking about ourselves holistically.
F: I bet. Yeah. I learned a lot from parents and the stories of managing their children and their careers. Yeah. I think it's actually incredible how some people do it. If we think about upskilling, why is upskilling something that you should continuously do throughout your career?
K: And the reality is the pace of technology change is constant and it's continuous, and it's always evolving. I can't necessarily tell you what skills are going to be in demand in the next two to three years, because we don't even know. But again, what's inspiring is that is there are ways to get practical experience and get access to that training. I read a statistic recently that said 55% of the workforce will need upskilling by 2022. I've heard-
F: 55%. Wow.
K: 55%. And if you think about it, sometimes we think of upskilling people we'll put definitions around going back to school or doing this extensive labor-intensive training. And sometimes upskilling is a six weeks course. Sometimes upskilling can be done at night for one hour, but it is access to new skills and new technology that are out there.My team currently, our developers are doing training on React just to make sure that they have that education. And again, that practical experience. So sometimes you see it in what I would call and not perhaps a full transition of work or job skill.
F: Yep, yep. Totally. And what are things that offer to help with people's career advancements?
K: Yeah. I use the word community because one of the foundations of our community is around trust. Because a lot of times people don't know what they're missing. They might not know what skills are in demand, especially if a member is coming in and they don't have, in this case, a technology background. They might not know what their past experience or their 360 view matches too. And a lot of the times what we're doing is providing them information and education around what skills are in demand in their market, what jobs are in demand.And then we also, because we vetted a lot of these education partners, taking that vast education space and then really looking at what are their needs based on their learning style. Do they need a hybrid view? Do they need self-pace? Do they need access to trainers? And then finding curriculum that meets their needs. And then we're certainly helping them after they have their education around how do we start to represent you in the marketplace? How do we tell your story? And again, creating that 360 view.So sometimes when they go to make their resume, I've even heard people say, "I don't have relevant experience." And by asking questions about who they are as an individual and what they've been involved in, you typically find that they are discounting so much that they've done because they haven't thought of it as relevant experience.And I would say sometimes what they discount is the confidence in themselves. Because can you imagine if you've been told over and over again, you're not qualified or maybe you don't hear back after you put your resume in. That's what happens in human nature. I think you start to believe it.
F: Yeah. Yeah.
K: It's a risk.
F: Yeah, but it's knowing what's out there, what could you do. I actually took the test on your website.
K: Oh wonderful. The TraitifyTest.
F: Yeah. I really enjoyed it. Yeah. I like where you get back and you learn a little bit more about yourself. You never know what's coming next.
K: That's right.
F: Yeah. And I guess as we work longer and longer, and we live for longer and longer then yeah, maybe I won't be in this career for all my life, maybe. Yeah. We'll switch. And I guess we're seeing that more often these days.
K: We are. And I think we talked about lifelong learning earlier. It's also about a lifelong journey. What I needed when I first graduated from college might be different than what I needed when I got my first promotion. And then that might look different when you perhaps get married or maybe you have children, or maybe you're taking care of your parents at some point in your life. I always say, it's never about no, it's about not now.And then sometimes it's yes and yes now. And so how do we start to understand what people need at this stage in their journey? Do they need remote or do they want to be in the office every day? Do they want to travel? Do they not? It's really understanding the person because if we understand the person and we understand what the organization needs and you start to match those up in a meaningful way, productivity's through the roof.
F: Yes. Yeah. And I want to talk about technology. So as technology continues to influence almost everything do in our lives, how do you think it will impact our career search as time goes on?
K: Yeah. I think technology from the candidate side adds a significant value. I think through technology, they can start to understand what skills are in demand, real-time in their markets. That information's available. They can also understand what curriculum is available to them. What I love about technology now in this space is let's say you're working 40, 50 hours a week. You want to be upskilled. Maybe you also have things that you have to do outside of that home. you don't have a lot of time to dedicate.Well, now you don't have to go to a brick and mortar type environment. Through technology, you can do virtual and digital approaches to upskilling, which is powerful. And I also think we can scale faster. Through technology, we can reach out and find those groups of communities and bring them in. I think we can provide that bridge directly to them for the education. And then most importantly, through technology, we can start to educate the marketplace around this newly certified or newly skilled talent to say, "In addition to all the candidates that you're currently reviewing, here's some newly created talent pools that are just entering the marketplace." I always say that we want to build a digital company, but never forget the beauty of a handwritten thank you note. And I believe that technology allows us to do that. And then we never forget that human touch that is just so, so important.
F: Yeah. The human beings and that's why I say kind of an impact. It's not really changing. We're still human. I think that human touch is really important to keep, especially because I don't want a robot taking my job.
K: That's it. That's right, that's right.
F: That's the real reason.
K: That's right.
F: Human touch is so important. let's keep it.
K: It is. And I think with the work that does, especially when we're thinking about whether it's confidence or whether it's figuring out what someone's really looking for. So much of that is embedded in trust. And I want people to know that they have a trusted source out there. Because if you limit it to just the technology, I think it has unanswered questions that people sometimes don't continue to explore because they don't have those.
F: Kim, in your article Changing The Way The Industry Views Talent, you talk about companies valuing the work people have done against the roles currently available. Can you elaborate on that?
K: Yeah. I think oftentimes when you see a job requisition get posted, and if you use that traditional form of or just the technology, you put the CV in and then does it match or not? I think what that eliminates is the ability to see that view of who that candidate is. So maybe the certifications they've had, the courses they've taken, internships, apprenticeships. Even in their personal life experiences, have they done pro bono work?
F: Okay, that sounds cool. And is there an area for 2020, from a skills point of view, that Career Circle is focused on?
K: Yeah, absolutely. So, two primary areas that we are hyper aware of, I would say. One is our partnership with Google. So, they have the Google IT certificate, and we have trained thousands of people across the US. And that certificate works really well for, I would say, entry-level help desk roles. But here's the other piece that I think is powerful. We do a lot of work with women reentering the workforce, the veteran community, and certainly underrepresented communities. And what we find, there's probably about 51% of our population that have taken the Google IT certificate, that might not have that IT or help desk background. And so, what we're looking for now are ways that we can get them experience with customer support, to really get them into the marketplace. So they come in, they might do a customer service representative type job with that Google IT certificate, and then work their way on this longtime, lifetime journey, if you will, of learning, so that they can get into help desk and then continue to move up within the IT space.So that's one piece. The second one is creating expertise within the Salesforce ecosystem. And the IDC report came out in October 2019, and it spoke to the 4.2 million jobs that Salesforce was going to be creating by 2025. And we already see a deficit, again, within the skills gap. And we have over 500 people that we're currently training, and over 50 that have been certified as a Salesforce administrator, and in looking at other roles within Salesforce as well. Again, getting them into a space that jobs are constantly being created, so that they are upskilled and ready for them.
F: You say this is a good kind of progression there. You've got the Salesforce administrators and what other kind of roles is this creating?
K: within the Salesforce ecosystem, you can have the Salesforce administrator, business analysts, developers. so many jobs within that ecosystem. But again, that foundation certification, if you will, as the Salesforce administrator and that's a six to eight-week course. The great part about it is self-paced. It's all digitally delivered, but they do have access to an instructor twice a week. it's that nice hybrid approach to say, "You can do it on your own schedule when you need it." But when needed, you do have access to a live instructor. you get that connectivity that I think a lot of people want and need.
F: Yeah. Yeah. And for , what are your hopes for the future with your current mission?
K: Oh, that's such a great question. And this is literally why I leap out of bed every morning. I'm passionate about people. I'm passionate about, again, creating that bridge where someone doesn't have to be told you aren't qualified. Where we can tell this is how you can get qualified. I'm passionate about helping people see over the course of their life, that they can make decisions for what they need at that point and continue to grow their career, that there are no ceilings or limitations.I'm also equally passionate about solving complex business problems for customers, always have been. And I believe that the root of a lot of our crisis, if you will, is embedded in people and not having enough. And reaching out and understanding from clients, what are the skill sets that are most in demand? Where do we need to build talent pipelines? I think you start to marry those two things, supporting people and supporting clients with building those talent pipelines. I think we can mitigate risk against some of that crisis that's predicted.
F: Okay. That sounds fantastic. Thank you so much, Kim. I really enjoyed our chat. I'm so glad you were able to make it today. Thank you so much.
K: Thank you so much for having me.
F: Thank you for listening in today. I hope you enjoyed our conversation with Kim and learned more about . If you'd like to check out, you can go to their website at careercircle.com. And if you'd like to learn more about AGS, please go to our website at allegisglobalsolutions.com.
If you have any questions for Kim, feel free to tweet us @AllegisGlobal with the #subjecttotalent. Also, if you have any suggestions for topics that you'd like us to cover, you can email us our firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you enjoyed our podcast today, please share it with all your colleagues, subscribe, rate us and leave a review. Thanks again for a great six months. Until next time, cheers.