Despite Unemployment, Many Jobs Hard to Fill

Survey Reveals Talent Is Elusive for Many Employers.

Despite Unemployment, Many Jobs Hard to Fill

By Yahoo! HotJobs staff

Manpower's fifth annual Talent Shortage Survey reports talent shortages in many countries and industry sectors. Despite continuing high unemployment rates, 31 percent of the employers worldwide report having difficulty filling key positions -- an increase of 1 percent since 2009.

The hardest-to-fill jobs are skilled tradespeople, sales representatives, technicians and engineers, according to the survey of more than 35,000 employers across 36 countries. These are the same top jobs that employers have reported struggling to fill for the past four years, demonstrating that there is an ongoing global mismatch in these key areas.

(In this survey, the term "skilled trades" refers to a broad range of job titles that require workers with specialized skills, traditionally learned over a period of time as an apprentice. Examples of "skilled trades" jobs include: electricians, carpenters, cabinet makers, masons and plumbers.)

"As the global economy slowly recovers, employers will remain focused on maintaining financial flexibility and doing more with less," says Jeffrey A. Joerres, Manpower chairman and CEO. "Applying the same mindset to their workforce, employers have gotten more specific about the combination of skill sets that they are looking for, not only seeking technical capabilities in a job match, but holding out for the person that possesses the additional qualities above and beyond that will help drive their organization forward. This conundrum is upsetting to the ubiquitous job seeker, who will need to take more responsibility for his or her skills development in order to find ways to remain relevant to the market."

Jobs most in demand by employers in 2010:

  1. Skilled Trades
  2. Sales Representatives
  3. Technicians
  4. Engineers
  5. Accounting and Finance Staff
  6. Production Operators
  7. Administrative Assistants / PAs
  8. Management/Executives
  9. Drivers
  10. Laborers

The top 10 is little changed from 2009, though management and executive positions have apparently gotten slightly harder to fill.

The survey shows that 34 percent of employers in the Americas are having difficulty filling positions, due to the lack of suitable talent available in their markets. This is a decrease of 2 percentage points from the 2009 survey, and is 3 percentage points greater than the global average.

Manpower's Fresh Perspectives paper, "Teachable Fit: A New Approach for Easing the Talent Mismatch," details how employers should broaden their search for suitable talent by considering industry migrants, location migrants, role changers and workforce entrants.

"Employers need to recalibrate their mindsets to consider candidates who may not have all the specific skills a job requires and identify people who are teachable," says Joerres. "Candidates may not present the perfect fit right now, but they may possess the flexibility, intellectual curiosity and personality to be able to fill the gaps in their capabilities." 

Learn more about skilled trades careers.