- United States has more job openings than unemployed people
- 44 percent said it is a job seekers’ market, where there are many job opportunities available
- New employees and current workers should be offered the training they need to keep their skills relevant and in line with the requirements of the position
The recent headlines have been very clear – the No. 1 challenge business leaders say they face is finding enough people to fill their job openings.
The United States has more job openings than unemployed people, a situation often described as “full employment” as most job seekers are able to land a job.
As a consequence, employers are forced to raise wages, average hourly earnings rose 3.2 percent in the past year, above inflation, and develop more and more creative and aggressive strategies to find, attract and retain candidates.
So, it would be a good question to ask why are there still unemployed people? Well, according to the results of a new American Staffing Association Workforce Monitor® survey conducted online by The Harris Poll, more than half of Americans (54%) believe that employable people aren’t working today because they don’t have the skills they require for the jobs they want, indicating that there is a skills gap disconnect.
The survey was conducted online within the USA and surveyed a total of 2,021 US adults aged 18 and older also found that the other reasons people in the United States believe job seekers can’t find employment, or have even entirely chosen to stop looking for work are:
- Few jobs are available in their specific sector, trade, or skill set (45%)
- Not enough job opportunities exist where they live (33%)
- They require a job with flexible work schedule (26%)
- They are too dejected to keep looking (24%)
The survey also found that Americans are divided when asked if they think the USA is currently a job seekers’ or an employers’ market.
After being offered definitions of both markets, 44 percent said it is a job seekers’ market, where there are many job opportunities available. A similar proportion, 38% percent, also said that it is an employers’ market, where opportunities for jobs seekers are limited.
“The ASA Workforce Monitor found that despite the tightest job market in history, the public perceives that many people can’t find work due to a skills gap” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “This gap is real, but with close to seven million job openings in America, it’s clearly a job seeker’s market with an abundance of opportunity.”
The survey certainly highlights that there is clearly a perceived problem with the skills candidates are offering and there are many reasons put forward for this growing ‘skills gap’ from schools and colleges not preparing students for jobs to the government not letting in enough highly skilled immigrants.
The positive is that employers are aware of the problem and are coming up with ways to tackle the disconnect including using virtual reality in interviews to test a candidate’s ability to do the actual job they are applying for and more and more employers are seeing the benefits of apprentices to help recruit, train, and retain the next generation of workers.
In order to tackle the skills gap head on, employers also need to really challenge their talent acquisition strategy and ask themselves if their expectations of a candidates’ skills and experience are too high.
New employees and current workers should be offered the training they need to keep their skills relevant and in line with the requirements of the position and to qualify for new assignments or promotions. This provides development opportunities to help increase employee engagement and opens up entry-level positions for new hires.
The simple truth is that any business that wants to guarantee they have the skills available for their business in the future will have to take responsibility for the development and training of their future talent pool themselves.