Skilled talent is essential to turning great new ideas into viable products and services, and to effectively identify and cultivate markets for those new products and services. Unfortunately, entrepreneurs across the country frequently report that they have the jobs – and need to fill those jobs in order to survive and grow – but are unable to find sufficient numbers of candidates with the required skills. In addition to general skill deficiencies, entrepreneurs specifically cite a severe national shortage of graduates with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – or STEM.
While the skilled talent shortage is not unique to startups, new businesses are hit particularly hard. Talent and brain power are startups’ most valuable assets. Without access to high-skilled employees, even great ideas can, and often do, fail as viable businesses. Moreover, the shoestring circumstances of most startups during the initial years typically mean that new businesses can’t afford the training programs necessary to turn high-potential employees into high-value employees. Also, as the scarcity of skilled talent has driven up the price with regard to salaries and benefits, many cash-challenged start-ups simply can’t compete.