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ManpowerGroup Annual Survey Reveals U.S. Talent Shortages Persist in Skilled Trades, Engineers and IT Staff

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Nearly Half of U.S. Employers Struggling to Fill Mission-Critical Positions

MILWAUKEE (May 29, 2012) – ManpowerGroup today released the results of its seventh-annual Talent Shortage Survey, revealing 49 percent of U.S. employers are experiencing difficulty filling mission-critical positions within their organizations. Although slightly lower than the 52 percent of employers struggling in 2011, a significant percentage of total U.S. employers continue to face hiring challenges despite continued high unemployment. U.S. employers are struggling to find available talent more than their global counterparts, where 34 percent of employers worldwide are having difficulty filling positions.

According to the more than 1,300 U.S. employers surveyed, the positions that are most difficult to fill include Skilled Trades, Engineers and IT Staff, all of which have appeared on the U.S. list multiple times since the survey began in 2006. The survey also highlights the most common reasons employers say they are having trouble filling jobs, including lack of available applicants, applicants looking for more pay and lack of experience.

“Based on the many conversations we have with employers every day, ManpowerGroup recognizes the ongoing challenge business leaders face when looking for the right talent,” said Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup president of the Americas. “This skills mismatch has major ramifications on employment and business success in the U.S and around the globe. Wise corporate leaders are doing something about it, and we increasingly see that they’re developing workforce strategies and partnerships with local educational institutions to train their next generation of workers.”

In the United States, the top 10 hardest jobs to fill in 2012 include:

1. Skilled Trades
2. Engineers
3. IT Staff
4. Sales Representatives
5. Accounting & Finance Staff
6. Drivers
7. Mechanics
8. Nurses
9. Machinists/Machine Operators
10. Teachers

Break the Crisis and Complacency Cycle

Today ManpowerGroup also released a Fresh Perspectives Paper, “Break the Crisis and Complacency Cycle: Get Ahead of the Global Talent Shortage”. The paper details specialized solutions ManpowerGroup has identified for winning today’s talent war, including: developing a workforce strategy, using strategic migration, developing flexible work models, hyperspecializing work among specialized workers, exploring untapped talent markets and expanding tapped markets.

ManpowerGroup’s 2012 Talent Shortage Survey shows the world continues to struggle with the talent mismatch. At the same time, a substantial proportion of employers indicate unfilled positions are expected to have little or no impact on key constituents, such as customers and investors. This proportion has grown considerably worldwide from 36 percent in 2011 to 56 percent in 2012.

“We’re seeing too many employers become complacent about the talent shortage and ultimately they will struggle to realize their business objectives. Our advice to employers of all sizes is to align their workforce strategy with their business strategy to anticipate talent needs for today and for tomorrow. If done successfully, a winning workforce strategy can separate thriving market leaders from surviving competitors,” said Prising.

Overall workforce strategies that companies need today must plot current and future needs of the business by factoring changing business conditions, emerging technologies, available workforce supply and human resources.

Summary of Global Results

ManpowerGroup surveyed nearly 40,000 employers across 41 countries and territories as part of its annual Talent Shortage Survey. Globally, 34 percent of employers say they are having difficulty filling positions, the three most challenging of which are Skilled Trades, Engineers and Sales Representatives. The reasons most often cited are lack of available applicants and lack of technical skills. Among the 41 countries and territories surveyed, employers are having the most difficulty finding the right people to fill jobs in Japan (81 percent), Brazil (71 percent) and Bulgaria (51 percent).

Full results of ManpowerGroup’s seventh annual Talent Shortage Survey and the Fresh Perspectives Paper, “Break the Crisis and Complacency Cycle: Get Ahead of the Global Talent Shortage”, can be found at

About ManpowerGroup – United States
ManpowerGroup (NYSE: MAN) is an innovative workforce solutions company specializing in temporary and permanent recruitment, career management, outsourcing and HR consulting. Founded in 1948, Milwaukee-based ManpowerGroup is a $22 billion company with offices in more than 80 countries and territories around the world. Each day, ManpowerGroup connects more than 500,000 people to meaningful work through its relationships with 400,000 clients worldwide. In the United States, ManpowerGroup operates more than 500 offices through its family of companies, including Manpower®, Experis, ManpowerGroup Solutions and Right Management®. To learn more, visit and

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