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U.S. employers suffer largest talent shortage in skilled trades

This marks a decrease of 8%, falling from 40% in 2014. Globally, the percentage of employers experiencing difficulties continued to rise, increasing from 36% in 2014 to 38% in 2015. 

Among U.S. employers, 48% acknowledge that talent shortages have a medium to high impact on their business, but few are putting talent strategies in place to address the problem. One in five U.S. employers is still not pursuing strategies to overcome talent shortages, despite the negative impact on their business. This is up from 12 months ago when 13% of U.S. employers reported they were not pursuing strategies to overcome talent shortages. 

"Talent shortages are real and are not going away," said Kip Wright, senior vice president, Manpower North America. "Despite impacts to competitiveness and productivity, our research shows fewer employers are trying to solve the problem through better talent strategies. As the struggle to find the right talent continues, and candidates with in-demand skills get the upper hand, employers will be under pressure to position themselves as 'talent destinations' to attract the best workers that will drive their business forward."

For the sixth consecutive year, skilled trade vacancies are the hardest to fill in the U.S., and for the fourth consecutive year, skilled trade roles are the hardest to fill globally. Also on the list of hardest to fill jobs in the U.S. are drivers and teachers.

U.S. jobs most in demand in 2015 U.S. jobs most in demand in 2014

1. Skilled trade workers 1. Skilled trade workers

2. Drivers 2. Restaurant & hotel staff

3. Teachers 3. Sales representatives

4. Sales representatives 4. Teachers

5. Administrative professionals 5. Drivers

6. Management/executives 6. Accounting & finance staff

7. Nurses 7. Laborers

8. Technicians 8. IT staff

9. Accounting & finance staff 9. Engineers

10. Engineers 10. Nurses

43% of U.S. employers say talent shortages are having a negative impact on their ability to meet client needs. Consequences include:

• Reduced competitiveness and productivity (41%) 

• Increased employee turnover (32%) 

• Higher compensation costs (32%) 

• Reduced employee engagement/morale (32%)

When asked why they are struggling to fill certain jobs, employers cite a lack of applicants (33%), lack of experience (19%), and lack of technical competencies or hard skills (17%). Technical competencies employers seek include industry-specific professional qualifications (7%) and trade certifications (7%).

Summary of Global Results

Hiring managers report the most severe talent shortage in Japan (83%). Around two in three employers report difficulty filling jobs in both Peru (68%) and Hong Kong (65%), while talent shortages are an issue for 61% of employers in both Brazil and Romania. 

Across all 42 countries and territories as a whole, employers report that skilled trades vacancies are the hardest to fill, as was the case in each of the previous three years. However, the second hardest job to fill has changed from 2014, with sales representative roles rising up the list from fourth, meaning that the engineer category slips from second to third and the technician category from third to fourth this year.

Employers report considerably more difficulty recruiting drivers in 2015, with the category climbing the rankings from 10th to fifth, while the production/machine operator category is new to the top 10 this year, climbing from 12th to 10th. Moving in the other direction, the sales manager category slips out of the top 10 in 2015.



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