Over the past twenty years, companies have been scrambling to find and retain staff, particularly in IT and engineering, spending significant resources. But a skills gap remains, and now experts are calling for a different approach altogether. Rather than hunting down talented, highly skilled staff, employers can invest in staff training and work with freelance experts whenever necessary. In industrial IT, calling in outside engineers for remote support is a more cost- and time-effective route.

But why did the skills shortage issue arise in the first place? Why did 2.4 million STEM vacancies go unfilled in the US in 2018? Although consecutive US administrations have invested in upscaling STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) education, the number of graduates in STEM college degrees is still insufficient. The US heavily relies on non-national graduates to fill job vacancies. 

For business owners with vacancies, this can be a real headache. How can anyone run a business if there are no skilled employees to step into existing vacancies? The answer up until now has been simple; investing in attracting the best-qualified candidates with fat salaries and added incentives. 

But the smartest CEOs out there have started to take a different, two-stranded approach, by 1) offering comprehensive company-specific staff training, and 2) hiring in experts on a short-term basis to fix a specific problem. 

The cost of on-site training pales into insignificance beside the cost of attracting and retaining highly-skilled staff. Moreover, employers can tailor the training to suit the precise skillset needs. In-house training is also a great way to motivate and retain staff as well as build strong teams. 

When it comes to bringing in experts on a short-term basis, companies like SupportPoints have led the way in industrial IT connecting PLC experts with companies who need them. The savings are substantial as the costs are limited to fixing specific issues at specific times rather than adding a costly layer of skilled staff on an on-going basis or indeed of replacing tried and trusted equipment. 

Having spent many years working in a wide variety of industries and identified issues surrounding skill shortages when it comes to maintaining, fixing and updating PLCs, the people behind SupportPoints stepped into the breach. They created a platform bringing together over two thousand experts in various areas. Companies who need specific expertise can post their issues and have an expert respond within a short time. 

This eliminates the need to attract, hire, and retain highly-skilled employees, not to mention paying hefty salaries.  For Industrial IT  technicians, this is an opportunity to work on a freelance basis and share expertise across many different industries. Knowledge is a commodity, and the SupportPoints-platform is a place where this asset finds suppliers and customers. 

Taking this two-stranded approach does put an end to the war for talent. The cost savings are significant,  the new opportunities for team building during in-house staff training great, and expert PLC technicians can now turn their knowledge into a high-return asset.