Business Case Studies

What to Know About the U.S. Talent Shortage

When considering business and economic research, there’s an area where a lot of focus is going right now which is the talent shortage. The talent shortage is being felt in the U.S. as well as around the world, and many businesses are trying to figure out how they’ll grapple with a situation that is only set to get worse.

You’ll see big-name companies like LegalZoom that are looking for top talent and offering appealing salaries to remain competitive in the talent search.

So, what should businesses of all sizes know when it comes to talent shortages, the research, and how to effectively overcome the situation?

Manpower Group Solutions 2018 Talent Shortage Survey

The following are some of the findings from the Manpower Group Talent Shortage Survey, which looks at nearly 40,000 employers from around the world.

  • 45 percent of responding companies said they couldn’t find the skills they need and the number for large organizations with 250 or more employees is even higher at 67 percent reporting shortages of talent
  • The hardest skills to find are skilled trades, sales representatives and engineers including chemical, civil, mechanical and electrical.
  • The biggest specific driver of talent shortages according to this survey is a lack of applicants, with a lack of experience behind that. The third most common reason employers face talent shortages is reportedly that applicants lack the required hard skills to fill positions.

Hardest Hit Industries

According to research from the Korn Ferry Institute, almost 60 percent of employers have a hard time filling empty positions within 12 weeks. That’s expected to get worse in the coming years. The same research shows that the worldwide talent shortage could exceed 85 million people by 2030. This will cost employers trillions in lost opportunities.

The industries likely to be hardest hit are ones that require a high level of knowledge such as the financial services industry.

Korn Ferry’s study shows that the financial and business services industries will be nearly 11 million workers short throughout the world by 2030.

The digital skills gap is likely to be particularly problematic. It’s already impeding digital transformation at a reported 54 percent of surveyed companies. In just a year, by 2020 Korn Ferry’s research indicates it’s possible the media, tech and telecommunications industries might be short more than 1.1 million skilled workers.

The developed markets will be most impacted by global talent shortages including the U.S. as well as France, Germany, Japan, and Australia.

Steps Businesses Can Take

There are certain steps that businesses can take to combat or at least slow the effects of the talent shortage on their organization.

These include:

  • Employers will have to start focusing on improving their training programs and making them more strategic. An employer has to be involved at every step of the way with training and development, particularly since one of the biggest drivers of the talent shortage is a lack of needed hard skills. Not only do robust training and development programs provide skills to employees, but they can serve as a recruitment tool to remain competitive regarding employer branding.
  • When employers are creating their training and development programs and content, they need to align it specifically with current business objectives and what they see their future objectives as being. This will ensure that they’re creating their own internal talent pipeline while also working on having in place programs that attract future talent.
  • Learn why employees leave your company or why they don’t accept employment offers. It’s easy to take these situations as personal, but people that quit or don’t accept an offer can be an important source of information that you use to tailor future talent recruitment and retention efforts.
  • You will have to look outside of traditional groups if you are feeling the effects of the talent shortage. One example is working on accessing people who work as contractors currently. More than 16 million Americans are estimated to be working in the so-called gig economy. Less than 20 percent of these people have any interest in moving to a traditional workplace, but you can specifically target these potential candidates.

Finally, make sure you have the corporate culture that’s going to attract a diverse and talented pool of recruits and employees. You want an inclusive workplace and a strong, positive company culture. It may end up that your corporate culture is what sets you apart ultimately and helps you combat the headwinds of a global talent shortage.