Is There a U.S. Talent Shortage?


Companies throughout the U.S. are reporting difficulties in their search for new talent to fill positions. In fact, in a survey conducted by ManpowerGroup, 39 percent of companies in the U.S. report difficulties filling open positions. While some industries seem to be harder hit than others, it does seem to be a shockingly high number — particularly in light of the number of Americans out of work and having difficulty landing even one interview.

If you are among those many companies having difficulty filling gaps in your workforce, you might consider asking yourself these questions as you approach the search for a new candidate:

What Makes a “Perfect Candidate?”

When you review applications for an opportunity at your company, what makes you give one resume a second glance and toss away another? Are you looking to fill the talent gap with exactly the credentials of the employee who formerly filled that role? Flexibility and creativity during the hiring process leads to casting a wider net in your search for top talent.

Failure to consider a variety of candidates is common. In fact, 87 percent of companies reporting talent shortages are not seeking new sources for talent. Consider looking at different kinds of candidates for your position. Perhaps one applicant doesn’t provide the exact skills you are looking for, but that candidate might bring other valuable skills to the table. As long as they possess the fundamental core skills for the job, there is potential for an excellent addition to your team.

What Am I Doing to Develop My Current Workforce?

One of the first places you should look to deal with a talent shortage is within your existing workforce. Not only is it less expensive, it promotes incentives to work hard in order to earn upward mobility within the company. By investing the time and effort to foster the talent you already have, you may find those glaring talent gaps in your workforce shrink considerably.

Should I Be Using a Search Firm?

You might also consider using a search firm to find exciting candidates for your position. The benefits of using a firm are varied. They have both the expertise to weed out unqualified candidates quickly and a knowledge base of untapped talent pools you may have missed. During a talent shortage, a search firm can be a valuable resource.

How Am I Conducting My Search?

Another mistake companies make when trying to fill open positions is putting all of their proverbial eggs into one or two baskets. Where are you advertising your position? While posting on a handful of the largest job search websites may seem like the best way to attract a huge number of applicants, this should only be the first move.

From there, narrow the field by seeking out places to list your position that target certain industries. There are many specialized websites out there with large talent pools specific to your industry, and you should be taking advantage of them to increase the visibility of your position to the top talent in your field.

Finding the right candidate to fit your job may not be an easy task in the wake of a burgeoning talent shortage in the U.S. You can, however, execute your search with flexibility, creativity, and utilize unique resources to find the best potential hires on the market. The question is, will you ask yourself all the right questions?

What do you think? How does your company respond to gaps in your workforce?  

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.