U.S. employers make dent in skills gap

Milwaukee-based ManpowerGroup has released the results of its eighth annual Talent Shortage Survey, revealing 39 percent of U.S. employers are having difficulty finding staff with the right skills, down from 49 percent in 2012.

U.S. employers report a slightly more pronounced talent shortage than their global peers, 35 percent of whom report difficulty finding the right people for key roles. According to the survey, nearly half (49 percent) of U.S. employers recognize that talent shortages impact their ability to serve clients and customers.

“Our survey reveals a collective awakening of employers to the impact of talent shortages to their business,” said Jeffrey Joerres, ManpowerGroup chairman and chief executive officer. “Globally employers are reporting the highest talent shortages in five years, and our results show that although many companies recognize the impact these shortages will have on their clients and bottom line, more than one in five are struggling to address the issue. The good news is solutions do exist, and HR leaders have the power and expertise to reshape their company’s future. Those who act now to put in place new strategies to attract and retain talent will be those who successfully navigate this uncertain environment.”

Survey participants acknowledge they are taking steps to overcome difficulties in filling critical positions by adopting new people practices, modifying work models and sourcing talent differently. Among the most popular approaches are expanding training and development for existing staff (23 percent); recruiting more from untapped talent pools (20 percent); and appointing people who lack the skills today, but have the potential to learn and grow into a job.

“The improvement in the U.S. talent shortage is encouraging because it tells us companies will not allow talent mismatches to hamper business growth,” said Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup president. “Rather, employers are becoming more willing to invest in existing talent to help them advance, and also broadening their approach to sourcing new talent, both of which are starting to ease the strain of the talent shortage.”

The research shows that globally the roles most difficult to fill are skilled trades workers, engineers and sales representatives. Employers also are reporting that accounting and finance and management/executive positions are increasingly hard to fill.

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