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Cerritos CACT Honored by DOD ProgramCerritos CACT receives the prestigious Air Force Nunn-Perry Award. We are happy to announce that only now you can get 20% discount for any 5 of the 23 courses below – simply from coming to us from the FPB newsletter! Your discount will be inserted automatically in the process of enrolment, so simply choose your 5 courses and follow the procedure. Business Skills provides a unique series of learning opportunities for employers, development agencies, colleges and individual alike, which are both cost effective and flexible in their delivery. The Business Skills series consists of 23 books, each covering the practical essentials of a business topic.
This series is used widely by people wishing to develop specific skills; whether starting a business or working in an established organisation.
Each book has been written by a practitioner in the relevant field, and provides a cost effective way of learning. In order to gain the Business Skills Diploma you will need to complete 5 of the 23 courses. Books have a tutor pack available, providing everything required to run a seminar or workshop. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean cites Tahseen Consulting’s research while discussing the impact of workforce skills gaps on small and medium enterprise development in their 2013 Latin American Economic Outlook: SME Policies for Structural Change. In response to several messages we received regarding the potential of Arab SMEs to meet the region’s youth employment challenge, we decided to also look at the other end of the employment spectrum to determine which entities across the region are the largest employers. In our post Company Sizes in the Arab World: Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Dominate Arab Economies we found that 92% of businesses in the Arab region are under 200 employees. Below is a list of the Arab region’s largest employers segmented by country and industry gathered from press accounts, regulatory filings, and government sources. In the Arab World, a society characterized by skilled, flexible, and innovative individuals nurtured through quality education, employment, and broadly accessible life-long learning opportunities is seen as a vital precursor to knowledge-based economic development (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Economy and Planning, 2010). Long standing social aspects of career specialization have led to some reluctance to pursue certain professions (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, 1960). Despite significant gains in educational attainment, female labor market participation is estimated at 22% resulting in high levels of female unemployment (International Labor Organization, 2010). In surveying the public sector, Al-Yahya (2008) finds evidence of a low match between the skills of public sector employees and the work roles they perform particularly at lower administrative levels. Many Arab countries are unable to meet the needs of all students who want to pursue education because of dramatic increases in student enrollment and insufficient resources (United Nations Development Program, 2002).
While some gains have been made in facilitating entrepreneurship in the region as evidenced by the increasing number of new business registrations, the procedures, time, costs, and minimum capital required to start a business remain much higher than OECD countries (Klapper, 2010, World Bank, 2010b). R&D spending is significantly lower than in the developed world with very little private sector funding (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, 2010a).
Underpinned by high fertility rates and increased life expectancy, the population of the Arab World nearly tripled to 359 million growing at an average annual rate of over 2% from 1970 to 2010 (Mirkin, 2010). While employee count, sales, and assets have been used internationally to develop precise definitions of what constitutes a SME, lack of financial data on establishments operating in the Arab countries has resulted in many countries relying primarily on number of employees. The data presented below are proxied from World Bank firm-level surveys which draw on a representative sample of an economy’s private sector to shed light on a broad range of business environment topics. We analyzed data for 6,257 establishments in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen.  While the survey coding frames are very similar across countries, some countries made minor localization changes (such as aggregation of or more specificity for certain industries) as well as added additional questions to the standardized questionnaire in some cases, most notably some countries chose to also survey firm with less than 5  employees while others did not. Given the lack of an unambiguous definition of what constitutes a skills gap in previous surveys and imperfect measurement proxies, Figure 1 below shows that the present understanding of what causes skills gaps is similarly vague. An important consideration, however, is whether skills shortages are a symptom of greater problems involving market and institutional failures in the skills formation system rather than a direct cause of skill gaps.
The effectiveness of formal education and training systems is increasingly measured by production of human capital in the quantity and quality required by the labor market and whether outgoing students meet the expectations of employers (Development 2010). Private rates of return explain the motivation of individuals to pursue different levels and types of education to augment natural abilities with skills subsequently sold in the labor market. Returning to the proposition that recruitment difficulties due to skills shortages are a symptom of greater problems in the skills formation system, it seems probable that skill shortages can result from market and institutional failures in the governance and institutional quality of skills formation systems, the employability of outgoing students from the education and training system, and  informational or policy-related sources of uncertainty which motivate individual investment in skills development. HR practices related to employee development, motivation, and retention: Firms provide training to increase and maintain workforce skills levels to support core competencies in addition to developing new skills that can form the basis of future firm competencies. As mentioned in the discussion on the competence-based view of the firm, it is not enough for a firm to have a highly skilled workforce to achieve competitive advantage. Numerous theories and metatheories of workforce motivation exist which propose various sources of motivation leading to individual behavior. Strategic shifts in response to changing business environments: The competence-based view of the firm stresses the criticality of consolidating human and other resources into market-oriented competencies that allow firms to adapt to changing environments. In this figure, we advanced a typology of skills gaps that considers this discussion and captures the present understanding of the source of skills gaps from several national skills surveys.
Market and Institutional Failure Induced Skills Gaps: These are skills gaps which stem from market and institutional failures in the skills formation system. Human Resources Management Related Skills Gaps: These are skills gaps which are a result of inadequate HR practices related to employee development, motivation, and retention. Structural Skills Gaps: These are skills gaps which are a result of strategic shifts in response to changing business environments that lead to a mismatch between current workforce skills and the requirements of employers.
Transitional Skills Gaps: These are skills gaps attributable to the beginning of the employee-employer relationship whether due to recent recruitment or post-merger employee integration.
Disclaimer: The contents of this website do not constitute legal advice nor solicitation to provide legal services, and they should not be construed or relied upon as such. Whether a new, small and growing business or an established organisation there is a constant need for developing skills to ensure continued staff effectiveness. Therefore whatever your training budget and time constraints, Business Skills provides an ideal solution.



Books can be used by individuals studying in their own time, or to support a one-day seminar for groups. The concentration of SMEs in Arab economies has a significant on employment creation and potential public sector responses the region’s youth employment challenge. In several countries education, health, and defense ministries employ large segments of the population. Based on GDP per person employed data from 2008, Qatar, the richest Arab nation, is approximately two-thirds as productive as Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, despite the upward trending of oil and gas which forms the majority of Qatar’s domestic product receipts (World Bank, 2010a). The social aspects of career choice has slowed economic integration, led to the substitution of expatriate labor in certain industries, and decreased productivity in low value added industries for which low skill expatriate labor is imported from abroad to perform (Ministry of National Economy of the Sultanate of Oman, 2010). While more women have entered the labor market, many have found employment in part-time work, microenterprises, and the informal economy (Flynn and Oldham, 1999). Al-Yahya also finds evidence that formal educational qualifications are frequently not related to current jobs and a high number of public sector employees who believe their current jobs require low levels of their perceived skills and capabilities. Though there is a continued long-term trend towards increased budgets for education in the region, meeting the combined demands of increased access, assuring relevance, and improving quality in the face of finite resources is challenging (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, 2010b). Though some Arab countries provide venture funding for entrepreneurial endeavors, startup and early-stage financing from banks, venture capitalists, and angel investors is very limited in the Arab World due to low liquidity conditions on exit markets. Regulatory frameworks do not protect intellectual property leading to low levels of patents and stifling private R&D expenditure. This growth has increased the demand for basic services such as health, education, housing, water, and sewerage systems which has outpaced the growth rate of national income and government revenues (Rischard, 2009).
Enterprise Surveys are answered by business owners and top managers with input from finance and HR staff.
This distribution reflects the high number of small and medium sized businesses that employ a significant percentage of the workforce in the Arab World. If the intent of national skills surveys is to devise public policy interventions that might affect the behavior of firms in remediating skills gaps, the precision with which the causes of skills gaps are identified is of critical importance. The multitude of reasons for recruitment difficulties requires the need to distinguish between situations where there are few people in the labor force who have the required skills, work experience, or qualifications to perform a job (a skills shortage) and situations where there are people in the labor market with the requisite skills, work experience, or qualifications but, due to some reason, are not attracted to a particular job (a recruitment difficulty). Effective government institutions that prevent underinvestment in skills, provide adequate regulation, and coordinate stakeholders are key elements of effective national skills formation systems. Accessibility to education and training  institutions, quality, and the degree to which education and training systems produce employable students influence the preparation of individuals with the skills, work experience, and qualifications to meet labor market needs.  In this respect, education and training institutions can impact allocative efficiency in labor markets which can result in skills shortages. Individuals engage in an investment optimization process in which they participate in education and training as long as the value stream of future earnings is more than foregone earnings, training, and equipment expenses. Market and institutional failures may influence firms to engage in substitution behavior where they hire employees which they know require additional skills to meet firm needs in the face of skills shortages.
The willingness and ability of firms to provide training and development depends on a number of factors. By understanding the sources of motivation, firms can design HR policies to encourage productive employee behavior which enables full deployment of workforce skills. The ongoing renewal of competencies has implications on business processes, market positions, and expansion paths (Teece, Pisano et al. When facing difficulty in recruiting employees from the external labor market under current market conditions due to lack of required skills, work experience, or qualifications a company demands, firms engage in substitution behavior by hiring staff who require further training. Structural skills gaps can be viewed as a strategy-skills lag in which current workforce skills lag new or expanded skills required by alternative strategic directions associated with competency renewal. Clients and customers care deeply about having positive communication with your company’s employees. Each tutorial can also lead to a recognised award upon completion of a tutor marked assignment. We also observe much similarity across the region in terms of industries which are large employers (telecom, services, construction, diversified conglomerates, aviation, and financial services).
The social preference for public sector jobs has precipitated a crisis in which regional governments are unable to create suitable employment opportunities to absorb the youthful population entering the labor market.
Rapidly evolving cultural values and changing views on familial obligations continue to be influential in labor market participation and obtaining higher levels of education (Miles, 2002). Citing deficiencies in soft skills like communication, teamwork, analytical skills, and innovative thinking, a recent survey of the private sector also found that 46% of regional CEOs do not believe that education and training systems in the Arab World prepare students for the workplace (Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, 2008).
Despite positive gains to promote educational opportunity and increased national spending on education, poor educational quality continues to hamper regional human capital development and the ability of Arab countries to compete in the global economy. In terms of nurturing businesses, the Arab World has approximately 100 business incubators as compared to 1,600 in the United States to serve rather similar populations (National Business Incubation Association, 2011). There is weak government policy making in research and innovation in spite of various studies which have shown that critical components necessary for innovation systems, research, market-oriented R&D, and entrepreneurship need to be concurrently fostered and linked in knowledge-based economies (Cooke, 2001, Pietrobelli, 2009). The Arab World is experiencing rapid urbanization which has resulted in increased poverty, inadequate solid waste collection and disposal, toxic and hazardous waste problems, poor or non-existent sanitation facilities, and degradation of urban environment and coastal areas (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, 2009).
The sampling frame for each country is stratified by business activity, firm size, and location and is confined to formal establishments excluding fully government owned firms. Across these countries, we found 72% of firms were from the manufacturing sector, 22% from the services sector, and the remaining 7% from the construction and transport sectors. Of the several skills surveys we reviewed, seven specifically ask respondents to identify the causes of skills gaps. Similarly, market failures and institutional quality can result in a situation where new entrants to the labor force appear to be qualified but are subsequently found to lack skills.
Managerial calculations of the returns to training may be complicated by informational gaps surrounding technology, future skill requirements, and benefits of training (Lall 1999). In England (30%), Scotland (7%), Northern Ireland (19%), and New Zealand (16%) many firms cite employee motivation as a cause of skills gaps (Zealand 2008; Shury, Vivian et al. Firms may also hire new entrants to the labor market who are apparently trained and qualified for occupations but who are subsequently found to still lack a variety of the skills required.
Causal ambiguity and environmental complexity makes it difficult for managers to determine the sufficiency of the current human resources pool relative to desired states of the human resources pool to achieve adapted or future business outcomes. Poor communication skills or lack of workplace professionalism can lose your company credibility and business.


What is less clear, however, is whether these industries have produced high skill and knowledge-content, high wage jobs. Defining the size and growth of knowledge-based industries is especially difficult in the Arab region. These findings are indicative of a vast disconnect between current regional human capital levels and the skills demanded by private sector employers. At the higher education level, the region’s education systems are failing to produce the right quality and mix of human capital needed for knowledge-based development. These components include educational systems, institutions conducting basic, applied, and interdisciplinary research, business incubators, funding institutions, and professional societies. Demographic trends are also having a number of societal implications related to marriage and the family, status of women, and care of older people (Mirkin, 2010). If the EU’s definition of what constitutes a small and medium-sized enterprise is applied (micro firms  <10 employees, small firms 10-49 employees, and medium-sized firms 50 – 250 employees), 92% of firms in the Arab World would be considered as small and medium-sized enterprises with 25% classified as micro businesses, 44% as small businesses, and 23% as medium-sized businesses. The primary focus sectors include manufacturing and service establishments corresponding to ISIC Revision 3.1 codes 15-37, 45, 50-52, 55, 60-64, and 72. Within the manufacturing sector, food and beverage, textiles and garments, and other manufacturing (primarily ISIC Rev.
As governments attempt to influence the technological and industry structure of their countries, the absence or weakness of government mechanisms to coordinate and align skills formation institutions can create a need for skills that cannot be predicted by free market mechanisms which can result in skills shortages. Since the impacts of government industrialization policy may be unknown to individuals, information gaps about the future trajectory of industries and emergent skills needs, the returns to investing in particular skills sets, and projecting the future returns of education and training investments can result in market failure. Both of these scenarios can result in skills gaps as firms absorb employees from the external labor market who do not have the required skills, work experience, or qualifications when facing recruitment difficulties attributed to skills shortages.
In situations of market or institutional failure, staff development may require training to retain competitiveness in addition to remediating inadequate pre-employment skills formation.
Competency renewal may involve changes in company strategy, goals, markets, business models, products and services, working practices, or technology.
However, it is unclear to what extent temporary, transitional phases associated with the beginning of the employee-employer relationship can be considered a cause of skills gaps since presumably such transitory skill gaps are likely to decrease as employees complete induction training and gain confidence in their roles. And poor communication skills between coworkers or bosses and subordinates can spell disaster for morale and productivity. For instance, business presentation skills seminars can be tailored for employees at different levels, from those new to or uncomfortable with public speaking to experienced presenters or trainers who are looking to take their presentation skills to the next level. Several of the institutions critical to the innovation system are weak in the Arab World (Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, 2009).
This section reflects briefly on these four thematic areas to advance a typology which takes into account the present understanding of the source of skills gaps. Skilling investments may also be subject to short-termism in which individuals are unwilling to invest in skills with uncertain and longer-term return horizons. Employee poaching, the tendency of firms to recruit employees with transferrable skills from other firms, and turnover may serve to limit firm-based training since training firms incur the cost of employee training only to lose the employee and resulting benefits of the training to another firm. Several studies have found that task complexity and whether a task is considered interesting or not may be more suited to certain types of motivational inducement systems (Gagne and Deci 2005). Evolving business strategies in response to the competency renewal process may require specialized skills that current employees lack resulting in skills gaps.
Generally induction training is firm specific and focused on acquainting new employees with the company structure, specific job requirements, and organization policies (Bijnens and Vanbuel 2007). If any of these problems plague your company, consider on-site business communication skills training. The motivation of the labor force to engage in lifelong learning to ensure continued relevancy of skills may similarly be impacted by return uncertainties.
Depressed levels of training and development due to a variety of factors can lead to skills gaps that erode creation and production of firm competencies jeopardizing the application of workforce skills toward market-oriented business objectives.
HR practices are both a way to develop workforce skills as well as to ensure alignment between workforce behavior and firm-level goals. These findings suggest HR practices require tailoring to specific firm, job, and industry contexts to induce productive employee behavior.
Similarly, changing job requirements due, for example, to technology adoption or job promotion, might mean that once proficient employees now lack skills to perform new or evolving roles.
A more appropriate indicator of causality would be whether an employee exhibits post-induction training persistence of a lack of skills to perform a job which results in the compromised ability of a firm to meet business objectives. Capital market weaknesses in terms of a lack of funding to finance education and training investments can lead to underinvestment.
HR practices, through their influence on employee motivation, induce productive employee behavior to apply their skills. The consequence of misalignment of HR practices with sources of workforce motivation can affect employees’ choices regarding the direction, level of effort, and persistence of behavior which can lead to skills gaps.
Increasing and maintaining workforce skills in light of competency building and renewal in response to changing opportunities implies that skills gaps can emerge as firms struggle to respond to internal and external forces that threaten firm competitiveness. Such an output indicator would then point toward an insufficient induction and integration program, rather than state of completion of the induction or integration program, as a potential source of skills gaps. 3.1 code 50 and other unspecified services), hotels and restaurants, and retail were the largest industries surveyed.
Externalities and labor market rigidities may also alter the incentives and returns to skilling resulting in sub optimal investment in skills formation. Nevertheless, firms appear to view transitional stages in the employee induction process as a significant source of skills gaps.
The many factors which can alter the expected return to particular skills or which signal sectoral growth or promise affect individual skilling decisions which may result in skills shortages. For example, HR systems which promote employee involvement, participation, training in group problem solving, socializing, high concentrations of skilled employees, and higher average wages have been shown to reduce turnover (Arthur 1994; Delaney and Huselid 1996).



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