Saturday, September 1, 2012

Why A Worker Shortage Exists When Millions Are Unemployed

by Brittany Troyer on August 30, 20121 
With over 12 million Americans included in the U.S. unemployment rate, the existence of a worker shortage seems unfathomable. But, because employers are demanding highly skilled employees and job candidates are finding themselves under-qualified for open positions, the worker shortage persists.
I have been interested in the existence of the talent crunch because I needed to form my own opinion on the worker shortages in STEM fields a couple of months ago. The issue comes with a lot of controversy. But, the state of the economy cannot be ignored. We are living in an economy with unfilled jobs; yet, dooming unemployment rates have been set in stone for years.
The tech industry is the perfect example of this gap because the differences between employers and job candidates are apparent. Tech-based professions require very specific skills and abilities. For a number of reasons, these precise skills are not met by many job candidates applying for these open positions.
A recent infographic created by CareerBuilder lays out some important statistics when it comes to the gap between employers and job candidates. In my opinion, the infographic sets a nice foundation for outlining the misperceptions pushing down on talent in 2012.
From the research, here are some key findings to keep in mind when seeking answers to the  controversy of a worker shortage in an economy with high unemployment:
  • Since 2008, 28 percent of candidates have been laid off.
  • Nearly two-thirds of candidates knowingly apply for a position in which they do not obtain the required skills.
  • The most common skills job applicants lack are mostly job-specific.
  • Of the employers surveyed, 38 percent have positions open in which they cannot find qualified staff.
The main downfalls of employers and job candidates are as follows:
  • Employers only inform about 12 percent of candidates that they do not have the requisite skills for a job to which they applied.
  • Only 1 in 5 candidates are volunteering or going back to school to re-skill themselves while 51 percent believe they possess adequate skills to land a job.
To fill these gaps it only makes sense to take advantage of the actions that both groups agreed to, according to the research found for the infographic. Job candidates are willing to learn and employers are willing to implement a training program aimed at re-skilling workers lacking specific skills.

All in all, solutions to unemployment need to be discovered. Closing the talent gap to solve the worker shortage in niche industries is just one of many areas to focus on.
What are you thoughts on the worker shortage in an economy of high unemployment? How do you think the talent gap can be closed?

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