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Hiring for new skills a challenge

Tuesday November 25, 2014 Written by 
Many employers with jobs to fill are requiring new skills, and a majority of them report difficulty recruiting for these positions.

A new survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that almost all respondents (96 per cent) said their organizations hired full-time employees in the past 12 months. Of these employers, about one-half (48 per cent) said new skills were required for the positions due to growth of their organizations, changing technologies and new products.

Hiring challenges

Two-thirds of respondents (66 per cent) reported it was somewhat or very difficult to recruit for positions that require new skills, an increase from 63 per cent in 2012 and 2011.

“Eighty per cent of respondents to this survey reported that their organization is in either excellent or good financial health, an extremely positive indicator for the economy’s expansion,” said Evren Esen, director of SHRM’s survey programs. “It is important to note that, despite recent job gains, millions of positions are still going unfilled and, consequently, impeding the growth of some employers.”

Overall, 50 per cent of respondents reported having difficulty recruiting for open positions. “It is clear that many jobs are not being filled due to a skills mismatch between job seekers and open positions,” said Esen.

Recruiting difficulty was mentioned most frequently in manufacturing, where 60 per cent of respondents cited the problem. Following closely behind manufacturing were high tech; professional, scientific and technical; and health care and social assistance industries.

Lacking needed work experience

The top reasons organizations have experienced difficulty in hiring for full-time regular positions were because candidates lack the needed work experience (50 per cent) and the right technical skills (50 per cent), as well as competition from other employers (50 per cent). Forty-three per cent cited a small number of applicants as a reason for their difficulty in hiring.

In the high-tech industry, more than three-quarters of organization (77 per cent) said candidates did not have the right technical skills and almost two-thirds (64 per cent) were concerned about competition from other employers.

Of the organizations having difficulty recruiting, more than one-half (54 per cent) cited using social media to deal with the challenge, followed by collaborating with education institutions (48 per cent) and expanding advertising efforts (41 per cent).

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • One-quarter of organizations laid off employees, and 27 per cent implemented budget cuts in the past 12 months.
  • Two-fifths of organizations (39 per cent) have increased salaries, and one-third have provided bonuses in the past year.
  • Of the organizations hiring, 66 per cent hired for completely new positions.

The survey polled more than 3,300 randomly selected HR professionals from nine different industries. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percent.

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