Skilled workers have always been a commodity. Now, in many professions, they're a rarity as well.
Each year, human resources consulting group ManpowerGroup releases its Talent Shortage Survey, geared towards determining which professions are struggling the most to find the skilled professionals they need to carry out their business functions, and pinpointing the 10 jobs proving hardest to fill with qualified candidates for that year.
"If you look at these past 9 years, what we’re seeing is a story that the talent shortages are persisting," says Rebekah Kowalski, principle consultant with Right Management, Manpower's workforce consulting division. "They’re increasingly making it harder for employers to find the right talent they need to serve their businesses."
Indeed, 45% of employers surveyed this year reported that talent shortages resulted in a reduced ability to serve clients, while 37% reported reduced competition and productivity.
Topping the list for the fifth year in a row is skilled trade workers, a group of professions that have been on the list every year since 2008, and topped it every year since 2010.
"There are not enough people going into the skilled trades to make up with folks that are leaving," says Kowalski. "It’s an aging workforce."
Rounding out the top three are restaurant and hotel staff and sales representatives. Restaurant and hotel staff was previously on the list in 2010, but Kowalski says its elevated position is a strong indicator of the increasing demand for trained hospitality staff, as economic recovery continues and spending on restaurant meals and vacations grows.
Kowalski says the growing crisis in talent is leading employers to become more and more creative to meet their needs, and that the most successful ones are those investing in building ready pipelines of talent. She cites "multi-stakeholder engineered solutions"--partnerships in which employers, educators, and the government work to create employment pathways--as a method that has successfully served STEM employers and is now being utilized in other industries as well.
As for job seekers, Kowalski recommends that those on the long-term job hunt carefully consider professions in which there has been sustained demand over the past several years.
"We need to be doing more to educate people at a younger age about the kids of choices they need to make if they want gainful employment."
For established professionals seeking employment, Kowalski says a commitment to learning new skills and a willingness to reinvent oneself are key.
"There are many jobs and many employers who are really willing to work with the individual creatively because they need those jobs to be productive."
The 10 Hardest Jobs To Fill In 2014
- Skilled Trade Workers
- Restaurant and Hotel Staff
- Sales Representatives
- Accounting and Finance Staff
- IT Staff
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