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World - Employers cannot find qualified talent despite over-supply of workers

19 May 2011

One in three employers globally report experiencing difficulty filling jobs due to lack of available talent, the highest percentage since before the recession in 2007, according to the sixth annual 'Talent Shortage Survey', published by staffing firm ManpowerGroup.

90% of employers cite candidate-specific factors behind the challenge of filling mission-critical roles, including a lack of necessary skills and experience, insufficient qualifications, or a lack of soft skills, which means the world stands on the brink of a global employability crisis where there is an over-supply of available workers and an under-supply of qualified talent. To navigate this challenging landscape, ManpowerGroup advises employers to reconsider work models and people practices and develop a robust workforce strategy that "manufactures" the talent they need to execute their long-term business strategy. 

Jeffrey A. Joerres, ManpowerGroup, Chairman and CEO, commented "as the chaos and complexity of the post-recession era have irrevocably changed the way the world works, employers can no longer solely rely on a 'just in time' approach to hiring, expecting 'on-demand' talent to be available wherever and whenever they need it."

"It would be unthinkable for a company to plot its growth strategy without identifying a sustainable supply of raw materials, so employers must ensure they have the talent in place to support their business goals. The 'manufacturing' of talent cannot be achieved in the short-term, but it can be developed in the long-term so companies must strategise accordingly." 

ManpowerGroup's new Fresh Perspectives Paper, "'Manufacturing' Talent for the Human Age," also released today, makes recommendations for how employers should tackle this conundrum of a scarcity of talent in the face of an abundance of available workers, including a holistic workforce strategy that takes into account external talent supply factors such as demographic shifts, the rise of emerging markets and rapidly evolving technology as well as internal demand.  

Employers should also take a close look at the critical roles that they are struggling to recruit talent for to ensure that recruitment methods and language have kept pace with the evolving skills needed to perform these jobs, because although employers are clear in their minds about the skills they need, job descriptions often do not accurately reflect what they are actually looking for in a candidate. This is borne out by the fact that the same positions, for example technicians, sales representatives and skilled trades people, regularly head ManpowerGroup's annual list of the hardest jobs to fill.

With 28% of employers worldwide reporting a lack of experience among candidates as a key barrier to filling vacancies, organisations need to move away from traditional training and development programs and focus on experiential development by engaging employees on "stretch projects" that not only achieve the desired outcomes of the business, but also is tailored to the employee to help them achieve their full potential and help build the skills that are most valuable to the organization.

Individuals also bear responsibility for closing the gap between the talent available and the skills needed by creating and maintaining an "Individual Employability Profile" to identify where gaps exist in their skills and experience and look at ways to fill these gaps, increasing their marketability to potential employers in the process.

Joerres added "companies' inability to fill mission-critical roles because of a lack of skills and experience should serve as a wake-up call for businesses, education, governments and individuals. It is imperative that employers collaborate with these parties to address the supply-and-demand conundrum in the labour market and create long-term solutions to developing the talent they need."

The hardest jobs to fill globally are technicians, sales representatives and skilled trades workers, according to ManpowerGroup's survey of almost 40,000 employers across 39 countries and territories. These are the same jobs that employers have reported having difficulty filling for the past four years, underlining the need to re-evaluate how they are recruiting for these positions.

Jobs most in demand in 2011

1. Technicians
2. Sales Representatives
3. Skilled Trades Workers
4. Engineers
5. Labourers
6. Management/Executives
7. Accounting & Finance Staff
8. IT Staff
9. Production Operators
10. Secretaries, PAs, Admin Assistants, & Office Support Staff

Jobs most in demand in 2010

1. Skilled Trades
2. Sales Representatives
3. Technicians
4. Engineers
5. Accounting & Finance Staff
6. Production Operators
7. Administrative Assistants/PAs
8. Management/Executives
9. Drivers
10. Labourers
Globally, Employers having the most difficulty finding the right people to fill jobs are those in Japan (80%), India (67%), Brazil (57%), Australia (54%), Taiwan (54%), Romania (53%), USA (52%), Argentina (51%), Turkey (48%), Switzerland (46%), New Zealand (44%), Singapore (44%), Bulgaria (42%), Hong Kong (42%) and Mexico (42%). Talent shortages are least problematic in Poland, Ireland and Norway. The number of employers struggling to fill roles in the USA has jumped 38% percentage points to the greatest percentage in the history of the survey in the country.

Regionally, one in four employers across the 21 countries surveyed in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) reported difficulty filling jobs due to lack of available talent, although below the global average this represents a +3% percentage point increase over the 2010 survey and the highest percentage since 2008.

Those having the most difficulty finding the right talent to fill jobs are in Romania (53%), Turkey (48%), Switzerland (46%) and Bulgaria (42%).  The talent shortage appears to be least problematic in Poland (4%), Ireland (5%), Norway (9%), and Spain (11%). Talent shortages have increased by +6% percentage points in the UK, from 9% in 2010, to 15% in 2011.

EMEA employers named skilled trades as the most difficult position to fill for the fifth year in succession, followed by technicians and engineers.

Employers in the Americas are having more trouble filling jobs than the global average, with 37% of employers reporting difficulty filling positions due to lack of available talent. This 37% represents the highest proportion of employers reporting difficulty since the start of the global economic downturn in 2008, and a +3% increase over last year's survey.

The most difficult positions to fill in the Americas closely resemble those on the global list, with technicians, sales representatives, skilled trades workers and engineers leading the list of difficult vacancies. Vacancies for technicians are the most difficult to fill in the Americas for the fourth year in succession. Employers in Brazil (57%) and Argentina (51%) are having the most difficulty finding staff, while those in the United States report a significantly increased difficulty, from 14% in 2010 to 52% in 2011. Employers in Peru (10%) and Colombia (25%) are having the least difficulty.

45% of Asia Pacific employers report having difficulty filling job vacancies due to lack of available talent. This represents a +4% increase over last year's response, and the highest percentage of reported difficulty since the survey began in 2006, an increase of +17 percentage points over the six years. India reports the largest increase in difficulty globally, increasing to 67% in 2011 from just 16% in 2010. Employers having the most difficulty finding the right talent to fill jobs are those in Japan (80%), India (67%), Australia (54%), Taiwan (54%), New Zealand (44%), Singapore (44%) and Hong Kong (42%). The talent shortage is least problematic in China (24%). There continues to be a clear talent shortage of skilled sales representatives in Asia Pacific, as this position remains the most difficult to fill for the sixth consecutive year.

To read the full survey please click here


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