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ManpowerGroup Annual Talent Shortage Survey Reveals U.S. Employers Making Strides to Build Sustainable Workforces, Report Less Difficulty Filling Open Positions

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Skilled Trades Remain Hardest Job to Fill in U.S. for Fourth Consecutive Year

MILWAUKEE (May 28, 2013) – ManpowerGroup today released the results of its eighth annual Talent Shortage Survey, revealing 39 percent of U.S. employers are having difficulty finding staff with the right skills, down from 49 percent in 2012. U.S. employers report a slightly more pronounced talent shortage than their global peers, 35 percent of whom report difficulty finding the right people for key roles. According to the survey, nearly half (49 percent) of U.S. employers recognize that talent shortages impact their ability to serve clients and customers.

“Our survey results demonstrate that U.S. employers have awakened to the realities of the talent shortage and are implementing innovative strategies to work through the business challenges it brings,” said Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup President. “However, year-after-year, we see little difference in the roles employers have trouble filling. As talent shortages in key areas persist, we need to focus on training programs that create opportunity for employers to fill their talent gaps, and for job seekers to obtain an in-demand skill and achieve employment security.”

U.S. employers report that skilled trades positions are the most difficult to fill, the fourth consecutive year this job has topped the list. The top 10 hardest jobs to fill are:

1. Skilled Trades
2. Sales Representatives
3. Drivers
4. IT Staff
5. Accounting & Finance Staff
6. Engineers
7. Technicians
8. Management/Executives
9. Mechanics
10. Teachers

Among the more than 1,000 U.S. employers surveyed, respondents say they are having difficulty filling open positions because candidates lack technical competencies/hard skills (48 percent); candidates lack workplace competencies/soft skills (33 percent); and because of a lack of/no available candidates (32 percent).

Survey participants acknowledge they are taking steps to overcome difficulties in filling critical positions by adopting new people practices, modifying work models and sourcing talent differently. Among the most popular approaches are expanding training and development for existing staff (23 percent); recruiting more from untapped talent pools (20 percent); and appointing people who lack the skills today, but have the potential to learn and grow into a job.

“The improvement in the U.S. talent shortage is encouraging because it tells us companies will not allow talent mismatches to hamper business growth,” said Prising. “Rather, employers are becoming more willing to invest in existing talent to help them advance, and also broadening their approach to sourcing new talent, both of which are starting to ease the strain of the talent shortage.”

ManpowerGroup today also launched a new insight paper, The Great Talent Shortage Awakening: Actions to Take for a Sustainable Workforce, which examines strategies HR leaders can pursue to fuel their organization’s competitiveness for years to come. These include identifying and attracting untapped talent, creating a culture of talent development, implementing a Teachable Fit framework to “manufacture” talent aligned with business needs, and improving collaboration with academic institutions to ensure graduates are work ready.

Summary of Global Survey Results

ManpowerGroup surveyed nearly 40,000 employers in 42 countries and territories, including more than 1,000 U.S. employers, during the first quarter of 2013 as part of its annual Talent Shortage Survey. Globally, 35 percent of employers say they are having difficulty finding people with the right skills – the highest since the start of the recession. The top three most challenging positions to fill are skilled trades workers, engineers and sales representatives.

Comparing talent shortage severity globally, the situation is most acute in Japan (85 percent of employers), Brazil (68 percent), India (61 percent), Turkey (58 percent) and Hong Kong (58 percent). Employers in Ireland (3 percent), Spain (3 percent), South Africa (6 percent), and the Netherlands and Czech Republic (9 percent) are the least likely to face shortages.

For an in-depth look at the U.S. and global results of the 2013 ManpowerGroup Talent Shortage Survey, and to download the accompanying insight paper, visit


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 630,000 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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