It may seem odd, given the recent global economic news, to discover that nearly 34% of employers worldwide are reporting difficulty finding the talent they need to fill positions. But that’s exactly the challenge facing many employers. Moreover, this represents a 3% increase over the 2010 figures and the highest rate since the beginning of the global recession in 2007.
With high unemployment in so many markets, how is it that so many positions are going unfilled? It would be easy to assume that the open positions require highly specialized skill sets. But that assumption would only be partially correct. In fact, many economic experts point to an ongoing shift in overall employment trends towards a greater reliance on service and support personnel, and a decreased need for unskilled labor in the manufacturing sectors. The latest recession only exacerbated this trend.
The difficulty in finding appropriate talent is most acute in Japan, India, Brazil, Australia and Taiwan. And the problem is affecting more than a firm’s productivity. Those who are having difficulty filling jobs report that the ensuing vacancies are negatively affecting customer service, the ability to attract investment capital, shareholders perceptions and other important groups.
According to recent surveys, the Top ten positions that are most difficult to fill are:
2. Sales Representatives
3. Skilled Trades Workers
6. Managers and Executives
7. Accounting and Finance Staff
8. IT Staff
9. Production Operators
10. Secretaries, Personal Assistants, Administrative Assistants and Office Support Staff
Notably, of the reasons listed for the difficulty in finding appropriate candidates, only one (lack of available candidates) is market driven. The rest can be attributed to organizational or candidate-specific reasons. The Top eight reasons listed globally for the difficulty in locating candidates are:
1. Lack of experience
2. Lack of available applicants
3. Lack of hard job skills or technical skills
4. Lack of knowledge about a specific business or lack of academic background or formal qualifications
5. Looking for more pay than is offered
6. Don’t possess the right values or mindset
7. Lack of soft skills and interpersonal or communication skills
8. Don’t possess the right personality or intelligence
Filling the gaps.
Despite the acute need for additional talent, only 20% of employers are utilizing training and development to fill the gaps. And only 6% of employers are working closely with educators to develop programs and curriculums to help close the knowledge gaps. Most employers are broadening their search beyond local areas, appointing people from within who have shown an ability to “learn on the job,” and changing their recruitment and advertising strategies.
Surveys also indicate that a large percentage of employers – as many as 33% – have suspended all searches except for critical positions, in the belief that they will be able to buy the needed talent at a later date, using higher pay and incentives to attract qualified candidates. However, if many employers in a market simultaneously decide to begin searching again, then the talent drought is likely to only get worse. In these situations, the well-prepared staffing and recruiting firms are likely to find very profitable opportunities