The Upjohn Institute Blog
The Labor Shortage?
Posted: June 18, 2012
Unemployment remains high, but businesses claim they are not able to find qualified workers
to fill positions. A recent survey from the ManpowerGroup
addresses some of the reasons why businesses may not be finding the people they need.
The primary report is for the entirety of the Americas, but some data are available for the United States alone. According to the survey, the biggest reasons U.S. companies are not hiring are as follows:
A lack of available talent or no applicants (55 percent)
Applicants are looking for more pay than offered (54 percent)
Applicants lack experience (44 percent)
Surveyed U.S. employers are using the following strategies to overcome their hiring challenges:
Providing additional training to existing staff (28 percent)
Appointing people who have the capacity to learn the necessary skills (36 percent)
Focusing more on staff retention when recruitment is difficult (37 percent)
Notice that “increasing offered wages” is not on the results. I think the statement that could be accurately made is that employers cannot find qualified workers at the wages they want to pay.
Another theory is that the lack of skills that employers suggest is the problem is actually employers being too restrictive in their hiring criteria. Peter Cappelli, writing for Time
, believes that to be the case; he also advances the premise that companies are unwilling to train a good-quality applicant to meet their specific needs. He cites a posting for a cotton candy machine operating position requiring previous success in cotton-candy machine operating.
There are currently 12.7 million unemployed people in the United States, and 42.8 percent have been unemployed 27 weeks or longer.
Brian Pittelko can be reached at Pittelko@upjohn.org.