The Skills Gap is Costing Companies Nearly $1 Million Annually, According to New CareerBuilder Survey

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More than two thirds of employers who said they were increasing their number of employees in Q1 currently have open positions for which they cannot find qualified candidates

Apr 13, 2017

CHICAGO and ATLANTA, April 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — It’s one of today’s most vexing economic puzzles: Why can’t employers find workers to fill their positions when approximately 7.5 million Americans are unemployed, and millions more are working part-time because they can’t find full-time positions or have given up looking for work altogether? According to a new CareerBuilder survey, nearly 60 percent of U.S. employers have job openings that stay vacant for 12 weeks or longer. The average cost HR managers say they incur for having extended job vacancies is more than $800,000 annually.

CareerBuilder’s latest studies on the effects of the skills gap on the U.S. labor market were conducted online by Harris Poll from November 16 to December 6, 2016 and February 16 to March 9, 2017. These studies included representative samples of 2,391 and 2,380 employers, respectively, and 3,411 and 3,215 workers, respectively, across all industries in the private sector.

According to the survey, 68 percent of employers who said they were increasing their number of full-time, permanent employees in the first quarter (Jan.1-March 31, 2017) currently have open positions for which they cannot find qualified candidates. This is consistent across company sizes with larger companies – which tend to have more job openings in general:

1-50 employees: 49 percent
51-250 employees: 74 percent
251-500 employees: 72 percent
501+ employees: 71 percent

“The gap between the number of jobs posted each month and the number of people hired is growing larger as employers struggle to find candidates to fill positions at all levels within their organizations,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder and co-author of The Talent Equation. “There’s a significant supply and demand imbalance in the marketplace, and it’s becoming nearly a million-dollar problem for companies.” The skills gap exists across industries. The supply/demand issue isn’t unique to one industry or certain occupational categories.

Employers acknowledge there’s a problem to fix
Two in 3 employers (67 percent) from the CareerBuilder survey say they are concerned about the growing skills gap, and with good reason. More than half (55 percent) say they have seen a negative impact on their business due to extended job vacancies with a sizable proportion of these employers pointing to productivity issues, an increase in voluntary turnover and revenue loss:

Productivity loss: 45 percent
Higher employee turnover: 40 percent
Lower morale: 39 percent
Lower quality work: 37 percent
Inability to grow business: 29 percent
Revenue loss: 26 percent

Workers say they are lagging behind:
Those doing the hiring are not the only ones noticing the issue. 1 in 5 workers (20 percent) say their professional skills are not up to date. Fifty-seven percent of workers reported that they want to learn a new skill set to land a better-paying, more fulfilling job, but half of them said they can’t afford to do so.

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