As the economy continues to evolve at unprecedented rates in the 21st century, it has become harder and harder for businesses to find employees with the currently relevant skills that they need. Today, many employers struggle to find the talent they need to remain competitive. Even the solution of looking for new employees through traditional educational programs has become less successful, because modern business is progressing so quickly that many things learned in the classroom are irrelevant or outdated by the time a student gets his or her degree. In order to compensate for these new challenges, businesses must be ever more innovative in their searches for new employees. Here are a few tips for businesses looking for new talent in the modern job market.

Place a Lower Value on Formal Education

For many decades, a relevant degree has been the mark of a potentially able and valuable employee. Though there is still a great deal of truth to this, a degree should not be considered as the final word on whether or not a potential employee is suitable for the position. Many workers today choose to teach themselves skills through online learning opportunities, entirely bypassing the formal educational system. Though such employees lack a traditional degree, many of them are as good as or better than the prospects who have attained degrees in their field. Hiring staff should place a higher emphasis on skills than on degrees to avoid overlooking potential talent.

Be Willing to Hire Freelancers

One of the greatest economic developments of the past decade has been the increasing presence of freelance workers. Though these workers may not be willing to hire in directly with your company, they can be invaluable assets because of their real-world experience in their fields. Freelancers are the workers of the future, so be sure that your firm does not overlook them simply because of an outdated mindset of retaining more traditional employees.

Build a Virtual Team

Many modern businesses can conduct their operations without the need for all employees to be in one place at one time. This presents a huge opportunity for employers, as it opens up hiring prospects to people from all over the world. Though working in the virtual space will take some getting used to, especially for companies that are used to a more traditional way of doing business, the benefits are enormous. If you find someone whose talent fits well with your business and is willing to work for you remotely, do not pass up the chance to bring on a valuable asset simply because of geographic distance.

Create and Update Training Resources

The same problems that make it difficult for employers to find new workers with relevant skills still apply once a new employee has been brought on. Now more than ever, businesses need to play an active role in keeping the skills of their employees up to date. Employers need to create useful training resources for employees that are consistently updated to ensure that the skills gap does not re-emerge within the business itself. For businesses that are smaller and may not have the time or money to create such resources, online learning courses can be used to keep employees ahead of the curve.

As the years move along, the gap between the skills employers want and those that potential employees have continues to grow wider and wider. With these basic strategies in mind, however, modern businesses can largely circumvent the skills gap by adapting themselves to the way in which the modern job market works. Also remember to offer generous incentives to top performers to ensure they stay with you, as talent that is valuable to your firm will also be valuable to competitors.