To read this content please select one of the options below:

Skills audits: an integrative literature review

David McGuire (Department of Management and Human Resources, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK)
Orla McVicar (Department of Management and Human Resources, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK)
Umm E. Habiba Tariq (Department of Management and Human Resources, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 16 August 2022

Issue publication date: 2 January 2023




Skills audits represent an important vehicle for analysing and monitoring skills coverage across organisations and nations and identifying skills gaps and mismatches that exist. In so doing, they provide valuable data on the competitive positioning of organisations and nations and help determine priorities for investment. The purpose of this paper is to examine the use and prevalence of skills audits to improve individual, organisational and societal outcomes.


Following the guidance of Torraco (2016), this paper takes the form of an integrative literature review. The authors conducted a series of keyword searches using databases such as Google Scholar, ABI Inform, Science Direct and Emerald. Title word searches used the terms: “skills audit”, “skills analysis”, “skills inventory”, “skills mapping” and the authors reviewed articles that were published between the period: 1990 to 2020.


Skills audits remain a useful tool to assess skill attainment and progression on university and college programmes, giving individuals a better understanding of their particular strengths and allowing them to develop realistic career plans and goals. From an organisational perspective, skill audits add value where they are strategically linked to job design, recruitment and training initiatives. They are also useful in helping organisations identify skill shortages, particularly if they relate skills outages to future growth areas. Finally, skills audits can sustain career counselling, but need to remain flexible in categorising skills in relation to the gig economy and remote working.


The topic of skills audits remains an under-researched topic in the training and human resource development literature. To date, limited studies have been carried out examining their use and effectiveness. This paper sheds light on a topic worthy of exploration in the field.



The authors are grateful to the two anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful comments, which encouraged greater reflection in relation to key aspects of the paper.


McGuire, D., McVicar, O. and Tariq, U.E.H. (2023), "Skills audits: an integrative literature review", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 55 No. 1, pp. 34-46.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles