Survey: Employers Struggle To Find Qualified Employees

35% Have Struggled To Hire Staff With Requisite Skills

Employers Struggle To Find Qualified EmployeesA good employee is hard to find. So reveals a new survey of thousands of international employers, more than a third of which say it's difficult to fill vacancies even though unemployment has soared to record highs in Europe and the number of people out of work in the U.S. remains stubbornly elevated.

Conducted by the world's third-largest recruiter, Manpower Group, the study found that 35% of the nearly 40,000 companies surveyed globally during the year's first quarter have struggled to hire staff with the requisite skills. That's the highest shortage since 2007.

More than half (54%) of employers that have experienced difficulty say the inability to locate quality workers will have a high or medium impact on their ability to meet client needs. In 2012, only 42% of such companies said the employee dearth would affect their services. In the U.S., jobs most difficult to fill include skilled trade workers, sales representatives, drivers and IT staff. Identifying people for accounting, finance, management and executive positions also proved tough, employers around the world said.

While the talent shortage is endemic globally, the problem is most pervasive in Japan (85% of employers), Brazil (68%), India (61%), Turkey (58%), and Hong Kong (58%). Nearly 40% of employers in the Americas said they were having difficulty filling vacancies. Countries experiencing the least problems finding qualified talent include Ireland (3%), Spain (3%), South Africa (6%), and The Netherlands (9%).

A few weeks ago, the International Labor Organization estimated that worldwide 73.4 million young people – 12.6% of persons ages 15 to 24 – will be without jobs in 2013. That's an increase of 3.5 million between 2007 and 2013. Many of the unemployed "often simply do not possess the key skills employers are looking for, indicating a clear mismatch between educators and employers in preparing young people for the workplace," the survey said. Jonas Prising, president of the Manpower Group, said the survey's startling figures should serve as a "call-to-action" for governments, educators and businesses, which "must collaborate effectively on post-crisis curricula, targeted skill development and skills matching."

In the ad specialty market, companies also expect to be looking to fill open positions. A full 30% of distributors said in Counselor's most recent State of the Industry survey that they planned to add to their companies' headcounts in 2013, whereas only 4% of respondents forecast that they were planning to decrease their number of employees this year.