Employers Cite Lack of Skills for Filling Job Openings

You might think that with 12.5 million people unemployed in this country, any company with a vacancy would have no trouble filling it. But U.S. companies say they often can’t find people with the right skills or experience for the job. And so it goes unfilled.

Nearly one in two American employers (49 percent) say they’re having this trouble, according to the 2012 Talent Shortage report, which surveyed some 1,300 American employers and was released Wednesday by the staffing agency ManpowerGroup.  That’s just slightly more positive than last year, when 52 percent of employers said they faced similar hiring challenges.

However, what’s surprising-and perhaps troubling-about this year’s results is that 56 percent of employers say they expect their unfilled jobs to have little or no impact on customers and investors. Apparently businesses have gotten accustomed to doing more with fewer employees, a trend that began during the recession and continued through the rocky recovery.

But for the nation’s jobless rate to decline from 8.1 percent in April, employers must hire hundreds of thousands of workers each month, economists say. Though many companies are adding jobs, the numbers have been too low to push down the rate substantially.

Among the toughest jobs to fill, employers say:

- Skilled trades

- Engineers

- Machinists

- IT staff

- Nurses

The takeaway: Job seekers may want to consider getting retrained or educated in any of those fields to maximize their job opportunities.

Meanwhile, companies in other countries are generally having an easier time filling vacancies than their U.S. counterparts: just 34 percent of 38,000 employers polled worldwide cited difficulty this year in finding the “right” employees to hire.

But in some countries, the rates are even higher than in the United States. In Japan, 81 percent of employers reported hiring challenges, while in Brazil the figure was 71 percent.

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