Skills gap in U.S. leading to reduced morale, revenue, quality of work: Survey

Many employers training unqualified workers, cross-training employees
||Last Updated: 06/27/2012

As companies navigate around the widening skills gap in the United States, prolonged job vacancies are taking a toll on employee morale and the bottom line, according to a CareerBuilder survey.

Despite high unemployment rates, 38 per cent of employers reported they have positions for which they can’t find qualified candidates. One-third (34 per cent) reported job vacancies have resulted in a lower quality of work due to employees being overworked and 23 per cent cited a loss in revenue.

With unfilled positions often translating into longer hours for existing staff, 33 per cent of employers said vacancies have caused lower morale and 17 per cent pointed to higher turnover at their organizations, found the survey of 1,648 hiring managers and HR professionals and 2,036 jobseekers.

“If we want to see more positive movement in the U.S. market, we have to do a better job of realigning the skills of our labor force with positions that are in high demand,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. “Prolonged vacancies can result in lower quality work, lower sales and morale, and can cause a delay in creating other related positions within the organization. Fortunately, we see more companies taking matters into their own hands and putting programs in place to retrain and transition workers into their industries and fields.”

Looking at companies with more than 2,000 employees, the five areas having the most difficulty recruiting are:

·engineering – 67 per cent

·C-level positions – 60 per cent

·information technology – 60 per cent

·research and development – 54 per cent

·production – 54 per cent.

To secure talent for hard-to-fill positions, one-half of employers of all sizes are planning to hire workers who don’t have experience in their particular industry or field and train them. Thirty-one per cent are planning to cross-train current employees while 19 per cent are targeting talent from competitors.

Nearly two-thirds are willing to stretch incentives such as offering flexible hours (25 per cent), higher salary (22 per cent) and remote work options (15 per cent), found the Talent Crunch survey.

Two-fifths of companies (41 per cent) reported they currently have programs in place to help alleviate the skills gap including on-the-job training, mentoring, sending employees back to school and other efforts.

Many jobseekers — especially those operating in industries that were hit hard by job loss during the recession — have to look to new industries and fields to find gainful employment, and the transition isn’t always easy. Nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) knowingly apply for positions for which they don’t possess the required skills.

Most jobseekers — 77 per cent — said they would be willing to take a job in a different field than the one they currently work in. More than one-half (54 per cent) would be open to relocating to a new city or state.

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