Survey: Hiring Quality Candidates More Difficult

Analysts Say "Skills Gap" To Blame

Hiring Candidates More DifficultGood help is getting harder to find. That’s according to a new study from Express Employment Professionals, a staffing firm that says 83% of the 115 company franchises it surveyed reported that it is “somewhat difficult” or “very difficult” to fill job openings in 2014. Up from 78% last year, the survey finding suggests it is becoming more of a struggle for employers to connect with quality candidates.

The difficulty could be down what analysts are calling a “skills gap.” More than half (52%) of the companies surveyed say they’re having a harder time hiring because there is a gulf between candidates’ skills and the demands of open positions. As a result, the U.S. unemployment rate – officially at 6.1% remains unnecessarily elevated, analysts say. "Because of the skills gap, the unemployment rate is still higher than it should be. The gap is real," said Bob Funk, CEO of Express, and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

While inadequate qualifications among candidates may be preventing companies from filling open positions, the low pay some firms offer for available jobs could be dissuading top-notch candidates from onboarding. "Except for those at the top, wages have consistently declined over the past few years," says Rebecca Smith, deputy director of the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group for workers. "What you're seeing now is more temp hiring without benefits. Workers aren't happy about that."

Fortunately, in the advertising specialty industry, distributor firms like Overture Premiums and Promotions (asi/288473) say that adding qualified personnel hasn’t been a significant issue. “The challenges we typically face when hiring are finding individuals that fit our culture and share the same long term goals as our company,” says Tej Shah, VP of marketing and e-commerce. “We have a company filled with people passionate about what they do. Making sure we find individuals with the same type of dedication, work ethic, and ‘quirkiness’ regardless of what department they work in, is very important to our growth.”