Recruiting remains challenging News added by Benefits Pro on March 14, 2013

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By Amanda McGrory-Dixon

Of the employers now hiring full-time workers, 66 percent say recruiting for specific jobs remains challenging, particularly among highly skilled positions, according to a new poll from the Society for Human Resource Management.

This is up from 52 percent in 2011. Some of these highly skilled positions include scientists, engineers, technicians, programmers, nurses, doctors and medical specialists.

“Attracting highly skilled candidates in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics presents a significant talent-management challenge for employers today,” says Alexander Alonso, vice president for research at SHRM. “This is magnified by the ongoing recession during which companies shifted to technologies for efficiency and now require skilled professionals to support those technologies.”

Forty-eight percent of respondents report that the challenges remain because candidates lack the proper skills, and 40 percent of respondents say candidates don’t have the right work experience. The primary skills gap is critical thinking and problem solving at 53 percent, followed by professionalism and work ethic at 46 percent, written communication at 41 percent and leadership at 38 percent. When it comes to knowledge, the top gaps are writing in English at 55 percent, mathematics at 38 percent and reading comprehension at 31 percent.

The survey also finds that 30 percent of respondents say they made major technological changes that affected employees’ work in the last year while 10 percent of respondents say they plan to do so in the next 12 months. Among those respondents, 72 percent expect these changes to lead to new employee skills but not new hires.

In light of these survey results, SHRM recommends that HR professionals warn hiring managers of the difficulties they might face filling jobs, and new compensation packages should be considered. As baby boomers retire, this could lead to an even more challenging hiring environment.

With the work force’s technological changes, such as robotics, computerized systems and software, it could cut the number of full-time employees for some employers, SHRM adds, and HR professionals must lead an effort to improve productivity. At the same time, HR professionals should ensure employees are not overworked. HR professionals should also work with organizational leaders to invest in education and training in order to combat the gap in skills.

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