June 19th, 2012. Manpower Group released this month its seventh-annual Talent Shortage Survey Research Results, which revealed that 41% of employers in the Americas face difficulties when trying to fill their job vacancies. This number is up from 37% in 2011, and 34% in 2010, and is the highest level reached in the region since 2007.
The percentage of employers facing difficulties filling their jobs reaches an alarming level in Brazil, where 71% of employers have trouble filling their job vacancies. While the levels are lower in other countries in the region – for example, Argentina (45%), Mexico (43%), Peru (41%), and Colombia (33%) – these statistics still represent a very large segment of employers that cannot hire efficiently and whose businesses thus suffer.
For employers in the Americas, this difficulty hiring is concentrated in a few job types. A large portion of these difficult-to-fill jobs is skilled positions: engineers (1st place), skilled trades workers (4th place), and accounting and IT staff (9th place). More surprisingly, however, is the fact that many relatively unskilled jobs are so difficult to fill: sales representatives come in 3rd place; administrative staff such as secretaries takes 6th place. The list closes with drivers (8th place) and laborers (10th place).
Many factors contribute to employers’ difficulties hiring. For the Americas, the primary drivers of difficulty hiring are a lack of available applicants overall, combined with a lack of technical competencies that are required to get the job done. Both of these causes were cited by 36% of employers in the region as causes of their difficulties with hiring.
These statistics speak to a number of issues and potential responses. There is no doubt that the fundamentals in the labor market need to be improved: education and training needs to be expanded to larger fractions of the population and must respond more directly to the needs of the economy. This fact is underlined by the quantity of employers moving towards on-the-job training (37%) and partnering with educational institutions to develop new curricula (10%).
Education and training is only part of the picture, however. In response to increased difficulty hiring, 14% of employers have begun to recruit outside of the local region, and 8% have focused on improving the pipeline of candidates. This indicates that employers in the Americas need tools to broaden and improve the talent pool that they recruit from. Providing new tools to employers in the region that can accomplish this will bridge an important portion of the talent gap. An important part of this solution is the creation of more efficient systems to identify and reach the best candidates.