Survey: Talent Shortage Persists

June 1, 2009
Companies still report lack of skilled workers even as unemployment rates rise

Despite the slow economy and rising unemployment, 30% of employers surveyed worldwide say they still face skilled-workforce shortages.

Manpower Inc. reported in its "2009 Talent Shortage Survey" that manufacturing-related occupations including skilled trades, technicians and engineers rank among the top five positions that employers are having the most difficulty filling.

"This year's talent survey suggests a mismatch between the type of individuals available for work and the specific skills that employers are looking for," said Jeffrey Joerres, Chairman and CEO of Manpower Inc., in a prepared statement. "In an environment where companies are pressured to shift their mindset to think more strategically and creatively about how to do more with less, the same approach is being applied to how they manage their talent. Employers are looking for ways to accelerate their business strategy with fewer people. It's this specificity of skills required in the individuals that employers are now seeking that is creating a sense of talent shortage amidst an overabundant pool of available workers. This conundrum is frustrating both employers and individuals."

Manpower surveyed nearly 39,000 employers across 33 countries and territories in late January to determine the extent in which talent shortages are impacting today's labor markets. U.S.-based employers appear to be in a better position to locate talent than many other major markets. Of U.S. employers surveyed, 19% said they had difficulty filling positions, a decline of three percentage points from the previous year.

Canada also reported a lower talent-shortage rate with 24% of employers saying they had trouble locating skilled workers in 2008 compared with 31% the year earlier. The lowest talent-shortage rates were reported in Ireland (5%), Spain (8%), United Kingdom (11%), China (15%) and the Czech Republic (17%).

The countries struggling the most with locating skilled workers include Taiwan (62%), Japan (55%), Australia (49%), Poland (48%) and Mexico (44%).

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