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Global Talent Shortage Survey

ManpowerGroup Annual Survey Shows More than Half of U.S. Employers Cannot Find the Right Talent for Open Positions

MILWAUKEE, May 19, 2011 -- ManpowerGroup today releases the results of its sixth-annual Talent Shortage Survey, revealing that 52 percent of U.S. employers are experiencing difficulty filling mission-critical positions within their organizations, up from 14 percent in 2010. The number of employers struggling to fill positions is at an all-time survey high despite an unemployment rate that has diminished only marginally during the last year. U.S. employers are struggling to find available talent more than their global counterparts, one in three of whom are having difficulty filling positions.

According to the more than 1,300 U.S. employers surveyed, the jobs that are most difficult to fill include Skilled Trades, Sales Representatives and Engineers, all of which have appeared on the U.S. list multiple times in the past. The survey also highlights the most common reasons employers say they are having trouble filling jobs, including candidates looking for more pay than is offered, lack of technical skills and lack of experience.

"The fact that companies cite a lack of skills or experience as a reason for talent shortages should be a wake-up call for employers, academia, government and individuals," said Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup president of the Americas. "It is imperative that these stakeholders work together to address the supply-and-demand imbalance in the labor market in a systematic, agile and sustainable way. There may also be an increasing imbalance between employers willingness to pay higher salaries in what is still a soft general labor market compared to the salary expectations of prospective employees, especially those with skills that are in high demand."

In the United States, the top 10 hardest jobs to fill include:

U.S. Hardest Jobs to Fill in 2011

U.S. Hardest Jobs to Fill in 2010


1. Skilled Trades

1. Skilled Trades


2. Sales Representatives

2. Sales Representatives


3. Engineers

3. Nurses


4. Drivers

4. Technicians


5. Accounting & Finance Staff

5. Drivers


6. IT Staff

6. Restaurants & Hotel Staff


7. Management/Executives

7. Management/Executives


8. Teachers

8. Engineers


9. Secretaries/Administrative Assistants    

9. Doctors, Other Non-Nursing Professionals


10. Machinist/Machine Operator

10. Customer Service Representatives, Customer Support


"Manufacturing" Talent for the Human Age

Today ManpowerGroup also releases a Fresh Perspectives Paper, "Manufacturing" Talent for the Human Age. The paper makes recommendations for how employers should address this challenge of a scarcity of talent in the face of an abundance of available workers, including a holistic workforce strategy, updating work models and people practices to reflect the realities of the 21st century and collaborating with governments, academia and individuals.

"The tremendous spike in U.S. employers that are having difficulty filling positions tells us that we're in the thick of the much-anticipated global talent mismatch," added Prising. "As we know from the persistently high unemployment rate, job seekers are plentiful, but employers are engaged in an ongoing struggle to fill positions. Ultimately, the underlying reason for this gap between available talent and desired talent is simple: jobs have structurally changed over time, and the skills needed to fulfill these roles have too. While talent cannot be 'manufactured' in the short term, a robust workforce strategy will ensure that companies can find the people to support their business strategy, and that employees have the opportunity to pursue meaningful career paths."

According to the Talent Shortage Survey, employers are already using a range of strategies to overcome the difficulties they face in finding the right talent, at the right time, in the right place. They realize the importance of retaining mission-critical talent and are more focused on staff retention, taking a "one size fits one" approach to training and development, tailoring it to the individual and helping to build the specific skills needed for business growth. In addition, employers are beginning to see the benefits of using new or innovative recruitment strategies, and are increasingly broadening their talent search outside of their local region.

Summary of Global Results

ManpowerGroup surveyed almost 40,000 employers across 39 countries and territories as part of its annual Talent Shortage Survey. Globally, 34 percent of employers say they are having difficulty filling positions, the three most challenging of which are Technicians, Sales Representatives and Skilled Trades. The reasons most often cited are lack of experience, lack of available applicants and lack of technical skills. Among the 39 countries and territories surveyed, employers are having the most difficulty finding the right people to fill jobs in Japan (80 percent), India (67 percent) and Brazil (57 percent).

Full results of ManpowerGroup's sixth annual Talent Shortage Survey and Fresh Perspectives Paper, "Manufacturing" Talent for the Human Age, can be downloaded at http://press.manpower.com/.  

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