Talent Shortage: Employers Struggle to Fill Vacancies

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A survey of thousands of international employers revealed that one in four employers is struggling to fill vacancies, despite unemployment soaring to record highs in Europe and beyond.

The survey from the world's third-largest recruiter, Manpower Group, showed that 35 percent of nearly 40,000 employers surveyed globally during the first quarter of 2013 reported difficulties in finding staff with the right skills – the highest shortage since the start of the recession.

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Of those, 54 percent of employers believe this will have a high or medium impact on their ability to meet client needs, an increase from 42 percent in 2012.

The survey showed that, despite the record number of people unemployed and looking for work, many of them "often simply do not possess the key skills employers are looking for, indicating a clear mismatch between educators and employers in preparing young people for the workplace," Manpower's survey said.

The research reveals that talent shortage is endemic across the world but has been felt most acutely in Japan (85 percent of employers), Brazil (68 percent) India (61 percent), Turkey (58 percent) and Hong Kong (58 percent).

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The survey comes just a few weeks after the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that 73.4 million young people or 12.6 percent of young people aged between 15 and 24 around the world are expected to be out of work in 2013, a jump of 3.5 million between 2007 and 2013.

The ILO reported that it had seen a deterioration of employment prospects in both developing and advanced economies, but particularly in Europe, where the unemployment level is 12.1 percent in the euro zone area and youth unemployment above 50 percent in Greece and Spain.

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Manpower's survey showed that 26 percent of employers cited difficulty finding the right talent in the Europe, Middle East and African region (EMEA).

The roles most difficult to fill around were skilled trades workers, engineers and sales representatives. Employers also reported that accounting, finance,management and executive positions were increasingly hard to find.

Those having the least difficulty finding the right talent to fill jobs are in Ireland (3 percent), Spain (3 percent), South Africa (6 percent) and The Netherlands (9 percent).

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"The fact that employers in Europe still report talent shortages when youth unemployment remains one of Europe's biggest challenges is a call to action for businesses, education and governments to collaborate to solve this mismatch," Jonas Prising, president of the ManpowerGroup, said. "Companies and education providers must collaborate effectively on post-crisis curricula, targeted skill development and skills matching," he added.

Meanwhile,in regions experiencing a lesser decline in growth, the lack of skilled workforce was also hindering employers.

Thirty-nine percent of employers in the Americas and, for the first time in the survey's history, more than half of employers in Asia said they were having difficulty filling vacancies.