What Is a Skill Gap Analysis?

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  • Written By: K.C. Bruning
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2019
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A typical skill gap analysis will measure the performance of an employee against a set group of abilities. The purpose of the exercise is to determine areas where performance needs to be improved. Results typically are used to ensure that each employee gets the specific training required to perform up to organizational expectations.

The overall goal of skill gap analysis is to examine in detail how well the employees measure against benchmarks set for their positions. Each skill analyzed is a portion of that overall picture. There are different types of skills attached to each position, from the critical to the desirable.

To complete a thorough skill gap analysis, it first must be determined which skills are needed. This can include currently known needs, but the process might also reveal new skills that could increase the employee's impact on the organization. Overall, it must be determined which skills would advance the organization and help it achieve its goals.

The most important kinds of abilities to determine are critical skills. These are the elements of performance that must be completed satisfactorily for the employee to make a meaningful contribution. Without these skills, the organization cannot function properly.


After the necessary skills have been determined, a job description is developed for each position. These descriptions are then measured against the performance of all employees. A skill gap analysis involves not only determining and measuring these skills but also developing new profiles for anticipated changes in the business. Employees also are evaluated for their ability to handle these adjustments. It is for this area in particular that an individually tailored training plan might be needed.

There are several ways that information for a skill gap analysis can be collected. Some of the most common include individual performance reviews, interviews with supervisors and focus group meetings. By gathering information in a variety of ways and from diverse sources, it is more likely that the results of the analysis will be accurate.

After an organization has completed a skill gap analysis, there are multiple ways in which the information can be used. The primary benefit is that employees can be trained or have duties reassessed. Analysis results also can help executives better allocate employees throughout the organization by matching skill sets to the best positions. This can be especially useful when hiring for a new position that would be best filled by a current employee.


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Post 3

Needs analysis and gap analysis take way too long to complete if doing properly. Who has 2-3 months to gather the data and analyze it to come up with the outcomes for what will be or should be designed into the training? RARELY is training even given enough time to develop the materials, let a lone all the front end work. Thus, you rely on interviewing a few SME's to figure out what it is the people need to know and develop materials based on that.

Have evaluations and surveys at the end of the training to allow for feedback and then adjust your training according to the feedback.

Post 2

@BabaB - I can understand what you are saying. It kind of seems like the employee's needs are not considered too much with skill gap analysis. The main purpose seems to be adding more skills to the positions to have the employee contribute more to the company's goals. This may be the company's way of getting more from each employee.

This may be fine if the employees are rewarded with extra compensation. I don't know if this analysis is done regularly or just in areas where the business feels the company needs more from certain changes to certain job descriptions in order to increase the company's productivity.

Post 1

It seems like it would be a time consuming job to do skill gap analysis. Lots of different factors are involved in this assessment of separate jobs within a business. How often is this done and is it done for all positions?

I don't quite understand if the purpose is to set up new job descriptions or to help the current employees improve performance in their job.

It seems like the process is a little too precise. I think jobs should have some flexibility to give the employee a little wiggle room. To have every part of the job so narrow and defined, doesn't seem right. Of course, there has to be certain expectations of skills to fulfill in the position, but not too rigid.

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