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As unemployment lingers, key positions go unfilled, study shows | Hiring, Business & HR in NY, NJ, CT

As unemployment lingers, key positions go unfilled, study shows

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A popular misconception regarding the nation’s current unemployment situation is that with millions of  Americans out of work, surely there must be very few vacancies in the job force;  this is not necessarily the case.  CareerBuilder has reported that 2.5 million jobs are actually going unfulfilled every month.  So why can’t the unemployed, ready-to-work job-seekers out there be placed in these open positions? The answer is that it’s a lot more complicated than merely dropping people into a job opening; there is a growing talent gap in this country and it’s leading to not only lingering unemployment, but lingering issues for the companies who need qualified candidates.

CareerBuilder’s Talent Crunch study polled 1,648 hiring managers and HR professionals and 2,036 job-seekers from across the country, asking them about the current talent gap and which positions are the hardest to place in their organizations.  The study revealed that over one-third of employers have open jobs that they cannot fill.  But just as employers are having difficulty finding quality candidates, so too are workers finding it equally challenging to find placement for themselves. What’s happened is that both employer and employee are misinterpreting the others’ needs and intentions, CareerBuilder implies.

The results of the study indicated that recruiters are having the most difficulty filling the following positions:

  • Engineering: 67%
  • C-Level Positions (CEO, CFO, CMO etc.): 60%
  • Information Technology (IT): 60%
  • Research & Development: 54%
  • Production: 54%

The vacant positions across the country are not strengthening the current levels of production or quality of work being performed.  Thirty-four percent of employers said that the empty spots within their organizations are creating stressful conditions and affecting the level of work by their overloaded staff.

Twenty-three percent of employers also noted a loss in revenue due to quality-related understaffing and17% noted higher turnover within the company as a result of these vacancies and the stresses they pose.

Workers facing perpetual challenges in their job searches need to get creative, as do employers.  Fifty percent of employers said that they plan on hiring workers outside of their specific industries or fields and training them appropriately.  Thirty-one percent of employers, however,  plan to work from within their organizations by cross-training current employees to fill vacancies.  Employers have also had to re-think their incentives, amplifying current offers such as offering flexible hours (25%), higher salary (22%) and remote work options (15%).  In all, 41% of employers surveyed reported already having programs in their organizations that are structured around solving the talent gap, such as on-the-job training, mentoring and sending employees back to school to further their educations.

While employers have had to reorganize how they get things done in order to manage talent vacancies within their companies, the situation can seem a little more dire from the unemployed employees’ perspectives.  Of the current unemployed, 26% have laid off since 2008.  It’s therefore no surprise that 64% of those polled said that they would knowingly apply for a job for which they lacked specific skills, and 77% said they would take a job outside of their fields.  Fifty-four percent would willingly relocate to a different city or state to find work.

Putting the ball back in the court of the employer, CareerBuilder recommends four things they can do to bridge the talent gap:

  • Reevaluate an organization’s training programs
  • Adopt a talent management philosophy for long-term growth
  • Provide productive feedback to candidates
  • Get smart about not only attracting, but retaining top talent

Author: Stacia Argoudelis

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