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Now hiring: Brace for today’s skills mismatch

by on
in Hiring,Human Resources

Just because your organization is ready to hire again doesn’t mean it will be easy to find the right people to fill your available jobs.

The latest studies on employment confirm what others have warned of for the past year or so. Plenty of people are looking for work, but their skills and experience don’t necessarily match the open jobs employers need to fill. Plus, job candidates are—perhaps surprisingly—more demanding when it comes to salary and benefits.

That has created an imbalance between what employers are willing to offer and what the employees they need expect from them.

Here are four realities you’re almost certain to face as you try to fill the vacancies in your organization:

1. Filling jobs is harder now

One in three employers around the world is having trouble matching open jobs with qualified candidates—the highest percentage since before 2007, according to a Manpower survey.

In the United States, more than half of employers say a lack of necessary skills and experience, underqualified applicants and a lack of “soft” skills are barriers to filling vacancies. The survey’s authors go so far as to predict “a global employability crisis where there is an oversupply of available workers and an undersupply of qualified talent.”

Globally, the hardest jobs to fill are technicians, sales representatives and skilled trades workers, according to the survey, which polled 40,000 employers in 39 countries.

Advice: The study’s authors suggest that employers “manufacture” the talent they need through better in-house training and less “just-in-time” hiring.

2. The competition is stiffer

More than half of CEOs say they will increase their headcount over the next year, a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report reveals.

But more than half also agree that they’ll have a hard time matching talent with jobs.

Advice: Try these measures:

  • Change your hiring strategy. The PwC report notes that 75% of U.S. CEOs plan to shift to a talent management strategy that focuses on finding, retaining and motivating employees whose skills fit the company’s strategy.
  • Tap into overlooked talent pools that include women, older people and younger workers.
  • If your organization is international, mobilize your workforce so you can move the talent you need across borders.

3. Candidates asking for more

As the job market improves, job-seekers realize they have more negotiating power.

In fact, eight in 10 workers in a Robert Half International survey say they’re comfortable negotiating a higher salary or better benefits—and 44% of them say they’re very comfortable.

Advice: Recognize that pay is just one part of the overall compensation package.

If your company can’t offer the cash a sought-after candidate wants, make sure he or she understands how much the company shells out for benefits and perks—from health insurance to parking.

You should consider throwing in something extra, like additional vaca­tion days, a signing bonus or flexible scheduling to convince a reluctant job applicant to come on board at an affordable base salary.

4. Young people have great (but unrealistic) expectations

More than one-third of executives in The Creative Group’s latest survey say new college graduates have the notion that their salaries and job duties will mirror that of far more seasoned professionals, largely because they have not done any research to educate themselves about the field or about entry-level realities.

Advice: Manage expectations during the interview process by referring to typical starting salaries, by noting the ex­­­­perience indicated on the inter­viewee’s résumé and by asking the can­­­didate to describe what kind of research he or she has done to prepare for the interview.

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