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Survey: Economy, Skills Shortage Top Concern

June 24 2011

A shortage of skilled labor joins the economy and rising costs as a top concern for Wisconsin and Illinois companies, according to results of QPS Employment Group’s second-quarter employment forecasting survey.

The economy remains the top concern for the companies, at 61 percent. However, its effects are decreasing: Eighty-six percent cited it as a top concern in the prior quarter’s survey. Insurance (42 percent), fuel (40 percent) and material costs (39 percent) round out the issues of concern to the respondents.

The majority of companies believe there is a shortage of skilled labor, with 37 percent rating the skills shortage as a top concern for their company.

Fifty-four percent of respondents said they believe there is a skills shortage, compared with 33 percent who said there is not. Forty-four percent say positions are difficult or extremely difficult to fill.

Meanwhile, 56 percent of respondents do not plan to increase hiring and 71 percent say salaries will stay the same this quarter. Thirty-nine percent do plan to increase staff levels.

Among the most-difficult skills to fill are general skilled/technical, at 22 percent. Machine operators/machinists were next, at 21 percent. Among the hard-to-place skills were general labor (18 percent) engineering (16 percent) and sales (15 percent).

QPS Employment Group, a Brookfield WI-based staffing firm, has 20 offices in Wisconsin and Illinois. The company surveyed more than 220 companies including manufacturers, banks, printers, distributors and information technology firms throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.

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