Employers consistently have done more with less in the past few years, and though the economy may be picking back up, company leaders don’t expect that the difficulty in finding skilled workers will have an impact on business. This is according to results from ManpowerGroup in its seventh annual Talent Shortage Survey, which explains the world's ongoing talent shortage crisis — in which one in three employers (34%) globally are reporting difficulty in filling jobs due to lack of available talent.  This year's data reveal the crisis' deeper impact, as 56% of employers now indicate that unfilled positions are expected to have little or no impact on constituents, such as customers and investors, a considerable increase from 36% in 2011.

"Talent shortages are endemic, but employers have gotten used to doing more with less and hesitate to hire until they see demand and can find talent with the specific skills they need," says Jeffrey A. Joerres, ManpowerGroup Chairman and CEO. "Surprisingly, employers are now less concerned about the impact of these shortages on customers and investors, a perspective which signals acceptance of the new normal.”

Among the most common reasons employers say they can't fill roles is simply a lack of applicants, an increase from 24% last year to 33% in 2012.  An equal percentage named "lack of technical competencies/hard skills"— in particular the lack of industry-specific qualifications in both professional and skilled trades categories — up from 22% in 2011. However, employers who are sufficiently concerned about talent shortages are becoming slightly more proactive about closing the skills gaps. 

"Employers should not presume that stakeholders will continue to look past shortcomings in service and performance resulting from lean structures," Joerres says. "Leaving positions unfilled may be a short-term fix, but it's a short-sighted and unsustainable approach to addressing talent shortages in the Human Age, when talentism, the new capitalism, is valued as the driver of business success. Employers must find solutions to help them address shortages and close specific skills gaps, such as investing in training and partnering with educators."

One in four employers are now seeking to address talent shortages by providing training and development for existing staff. The increased in employer-sponsored training reflects that positions are changing rapidly, demanding new levels of sophistication, knowledge and skills and requiring employees to adopt a continuous learning mindset to keep their skills current.

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