Businesses Are Struggling to Find Skilled Workers and it's Costing Them a Bundle

Nancy Anderson
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The unemployment rate is 3.7 percent as of November 2018, and the United States keeps adding more employees to the labor force. That means it's a great time to find a dream job. However, many employers are having trouble finding skilled workers. According to a 2017 survey from CareerBuilder, job vacancies cost employers around $800,000 a year. Find out what this means for you as a job seeker.

What's Happening with Companies That Can't Fill Positions?

Companies that have large numbers of vacancies, despite a brisk hiring pace in the overall economy, have a glaring talent gap or skills gap. This means employers face a labor shortage because they struggle to find qualified candidates for various positions, particularly in tech roles. Skilled workers need to have certain expertise or professional backgrounds, but candidates lack those basic job requirements as listed in a job description.

Tech positions are often to blame for a lack of skilled workers. As more and more companies seek automated and computerized solutions to improving their bottom line, they need tech experts to run computer systems, cloud-based software and cyber security initiatives. Tech positions require very specific knowledge. Job candidates simply don't have the basic qualifications for these types of jobs to meet demand.

How the Talent Gap Hurts Employers

Around 60 percent of U.S. employers have job vacancies that stay open for 12 weeks or more, again according to CareerBuilder. Around two-thirds of employers say they are concerned about the skills gap, and around half say a lack of skilled workers hurts their company. Unfilled positions hurt productivity, increase employee turnover, lower employee morale, lead to lower-quality work and create lost revenue.

Top Positions Affected by a Lack of Skilled Workers

A wide range of industries face a talent shortage. Companies are having trouble filling positions in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and corporate management roles.

In STEM, employers need help finding:

• Internists (medical doctors)
• Information security analysts
• Web developers
• Industrial engineers

Corporate management positions include:

• Marketing managers
• Sales managers
• Financial managers
• HR managers

Other roles that companies need:

• Product promoters and sales demonstrators
• Heavy and tractor-trailer drivers

The corporate jobs listed here have a specific skill set, and some of them may require certain certifications, such as an HR manager or financial manager. The STEM jobs also have very specific requirements and advanced skills. Driving trucks requires a certain license. Each of the in-demand jobs that most companies seek need some kind of specialized training for employees to undertake.

What You Can Do About the Skills Gap

Aside from earning a certification or learning a particular skill set, find out what companies have a robust training program. Some employers pay for college. Others have great internship programs that help you determine if a particular field or industry fits you. In a highly competitive labor market, companies are vying for top talent because the economy continues to grow. The sooner they hire qualified employees, the sooner companies reduce their losses and start earning more profits.

Skilled workers with the right kind of qualifications have high-paying jobs waiting for them. Unfortunately, companies are grappling with the right way to attract top talent. Employers that reach out to workers have the advantage here.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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    Perhaps businesses/owners/HR need to be a little more realistic in their "must haves". I'm sure that several qualified individuals are being overlooked by the massive "wish list" and the automated resume checker

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