Unfilled Job Openings Continue to Be Problematic

Whether you’re a small business owner or the CEO of a larger company, you’re probably frustrated with the number of unfilled job openings in your organization. And you wouldn’t be alone.

According to a Wall Street Journal survey, many small business owners were hoping for a season of growth, as consumers express a higher degree of confidence in the economy. But the WSJ reports that a third of small business owners and CEOs have recent unfilled job openings because they can’t find qualified applicants. The skills that employers want to find in candidates just aren’t there—hence the term skills gap.

With July’s unemployment rate of 6.1%, you’d think finding people who want to work would be a snap. But even staffing professionals are saying that unfilled job openings continue to be problematic. Express Employment Professionals, the nation’s largest staffing franchise firm surveyed its offices, many of whom reported difficulty filling positions. In fact, 52% said that a lack of available applicants was the primary reason that their open jobs were not filled. Their sense is that there’s a mismatch between what employers want and what employees expect.

We agree completely with the assessment of Express’s CEO, Bob Funk: “My advice to employers is to recognize that you won’t always find the perfect fit — at least in the short term. As a country, we need more training and re-training for workers, so that Americans who are unemployed can be more competitive and fill the positions that are available. That’s critical to lowering unemployment.”

One great way to see if a candidate has the potential to be retrained is to “try before you buy.” Hiring a temporary professional has many benefits, one of which is that you can get to know a candidate and see how he or she performs on the job before you make up your mind. Many candidates who may not be an exact match for your open position possess transferable skills and might pleasantly surprise you with how quickly they can get up to speed in a different line of work.

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