The first step in solving talent shortages: uncover hidden talent

Most employers are struggling to find the right people to help them take their business forward. In fact, talent shortages are at a 15-year-high. So why are some candidates with valuable skills and experience still being overlooked?

Many people with dyslexia have the creativity, adaptability, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities firms are looking for as they emerge from the current health crisis. And yet, research we conducted in partnership with global non-profit organisation Made by Dyslexia shows some organisations are slow to spot their talent. Matt Higgs, Director, Global Product Management, ManpowerGroup Talent Solutions explains: “As somebody who’s spent 20 years trying to recruit people during a 20-year talent shortage, there’s a talent pool of 700 million people out there that we’re not using properly. Employers need to reassess how they think about dyslexia.”

That is because organisations moved more of their operations online to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, but for many it was just the start of their digital transformation. Entire industries are being reshaped by new technologies and that changes what recruiters are looking for in employees. As they position themselves for future success, soft skills (including the ones listed above) are increasingly sought-after. They are also the skills that people with dyslexia often excel at.

The top ten skills employers are looking for and that also closely align with the strengths of people with dyslexia are:

  • Accountability, reliability, and discipline
  • Resilience and stress tolerance
  • Initiative taking
  • Reasoning and problem-solving
  • Leadership and social influence
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Creativity and originality
  • Active learning and curiosity
  • Adaptability

Unfortunately, 55% of workers with dyslexia who responded to our survey felt their workplace’s understanding of their strengths was “poor or non-existent”. So, what can employers do to recognise people’s talent?

First, dyslexia should be viewed as a different way of looking at the world rather than as a learning difficulty, and someone who approaches challenges in a new way can be an asset to businesses that are trying to navigate uncertainty or develop the talent they need for a more digital future. Second, the tasks people with dyslexia find more difficult, such as spelling, reading, and memorising facts, can be overcome using technology. Most importantly, if employers want to take the first step towards solving their talent shortage, they should create an environment where people with dyslexia are recognised for their strengths and where they feel they can ask for help if they need it.

If you would like to know more about the small changes you could make to your recruitment practices to give people with dyslexia a better chance to showcase their skills, please download our report, The Dyslexic Dynamic, which was published in partnership with Made by Dyslexia.

About dyslexia

  • Dyslexia is defined as a “genetic difference in an individual’s ability to learn and process information”.
  • It influences as many as 1 in 5 people.
  • People with dyslexia often have strong soft skills, including problem solving, communication, and creativity but may find spelling, reading and memorising facts more challenging.