9 in 10 employers find it hard to fill key positions: Survey

Many firms rely on combination of internal, external candidates to fill openings
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 04/13/2012

Despite continued high unemployment, nine out of 10 Canadian employers find it difficult to fill key positions, according to a survey by Right Management.

Thirty-three per cent of the 200 respondents said they often find it hard to fill key positions, compared to 23 per cent last year, and 59 per cent said they occasionally have such difficulty, compared to 61 per cent last year.

“We found an uptick in employers who report difficulty filling key positions,” said Bram Lowsky, group executive vice-president of Americas at Right Management. “This year it’s 33 per cent, up from 23 per cent last year. And there’s a corresponding drop among those who say they seldom face such a problem. This could be an indication of a strengthening job market.”

Only eight per cent said they “seldom if ever” find it hard to fill key positions, compared to 16 per cent last year, found the survey.

HR professionals know that it is usually a challenge to find and recruit top people whether in a weak or strong job market, said Lowsky.

“And it varies by level, industry, requisite skills and geography,” he said. “Even so, the findings suggest some shortfall among internal candidates who might be qualified.”

Only four per cent of respondents said they have an “ample leadership pipeline” that will allow them to fill critical roles in their organizations while 84 per cent said they rely on a combination of internal talent development and external hiring.

“Employers tend to have doubts about their management succession pipeline,” Lowsky said. “They surely know their workforce is lean and internal development resources have generally been limited for some time. But now organizations are concerned they will be caught short in terms of leadership. They’re also deeply worried they’ll lose top performers to other companies.”

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