The American economy has taken on a split personality. A recent report says that businesses are facing a talent shortage, with literally millions of positions just waiting to be filled. Yet, there are tens of millions out of work. Many common indicators, including the unemployment rate, show that we’ve made tremendous strides toward returning to economic prominence, but there are signs that we may be sliding back into a recessionary period, which may prove disastrous in many aspects.
It’s a strange blend of positive and negative news.
For the majority of people, we’re first and foremost concerned with our own economic well-being, and our ability to find and hold a job or establish a career. That is closely intertwined with the economy at large and the ability for firms to successfully turn a profit and grow year after year. Even though there are many people filling the ranks of the long-term unemployed, there are still millions of jobs that have yet to be filled.
The question is, what are they, and who’s going to fill them?
ManpowerGroup’s 2015 Talent Shortage Survey is providing us an answer to at least the first part of that question. The survey, which is released annually, reports the vacancies that employers are having the most difficulty filling — hence, a talent shortage. By polling more than 41,000 hiring managers from 42 different countries, ManpowerGroup’s findings are fairly intricate, and dug up some surprising revelations.
For example, 38% of employers worldwide had trouble finding suitable matches for their openings, and that number has actually gone up 2% since last year. Japan was the country that reportedly had the most frustrated hiring managers, with more than 75% of employers saying they couldn’t find the ideal candidates. American employers were in the middle of the pack, with more than a quarter reporting the same thing.
There are almost 6 million job openings in the U.S., and more than 25% of American companies are having trouble finding suitable candidates.
The list is pretty diverse, and it may speak to the fact that businesses are being extraordinarily picky about who they are hiring. It also may be due to the fact that many people are heading down different career paths than what they pursued in the past. For example, one of the most sought-after groups of workers is in the skilled trades. We know that the ranks of skilled workers have been steadily declining, but the roles have seemingly reversed now, as there is a need for these workers and not enough to go around. Other jobs on the list, such as engineers, technicians, and IT staff, are seeing growth in their respective talent pools.
What the list does give us is some insight as to what employers need, and how individuals may be able to specialize in certain areas in order to supply the skills and expertise businesses require in a turbulent economy. High school students, for example, may need help deciding on a career path. The fact that employers need accountants and machine operators may help guide them in a direction that will ensure both job security and solid earnings.
Though the needs of employers differ from economy to economy, on a global scale, there are many similarities between international and domestic employers. “Talent shortages are real and are not going away,” said Kip Wright of Manpower North America. “Despite impacts to competitiveness and productivity, our research shows fewer employers are trying to solve the problem through better talent strategies. As the struggle to find the right talent continues, and candidates with in-demand skills get the upper hand, employers will be under pressure to position themselves as ‘talent destinations’ to attract the best workers that will drive their business forward.”
For those out of work, global trends indicate that the following jobs may provide the perfect opportunity to get back into the labor pool. Globally, here are the top 10 jobs employers are having the hardest time filling:
- Production/Machine Operators
- IT Personnel
- Office Support/Administrative Staff
- Accountants/Financing Staff
- Sales Representatives
- Skilled Trades
For more information on the study itself, as well as more in-depth rankings pertaining to specific geographic areas, check out the complete findings at ManpowerGroup.
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