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Supply chain professionals need to sharpen skills before entering workforce

The number of employers struggling to fill positions is at an all-time survey high despite an unemployment rate that has diminished only marginally during the last year.
By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
May 25, 2011

Manpower Group has released the results of its sixth-annual Talent Shortage Survey, revealing that 52 percent of U.S. employers are experiencing difficulty filling supply chain positions within their organizations, up from 14 percent in 2010.

The number of employers struggling to fill positions is at an all-time survey high despite an unemployment rate that has diminished only marginally during the last year. U.S. employers are struggling to find available talent more than their global counterparts, one in three of whom are having difficulty filling positions.

According to the more than 1,300 U.S. employers surveyed, the jobs that are most difficult to fill include skilled trades which have appeared on the U.S. list multiple times in the past. The survey also highlights the most common reasons employers say they are having trouble filling jobs, including candidates looking for more pay than is offered, lack of technical skills and lack of experience.

“The fact that companies cite a lack of skills or experience as a reason for talent shortages should be a wake-up call for employers, academia, government and individuals,” said Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup president of the Americas.

“It is imperative that these stakeholders work together to address the supply-and-demand imbalance in the labor market in a systematic, agile and sustainable way. There may also be an increasing imbalance between employers willingness to pay higher salaries in what is still a soft general labor market compared to the salary expectations of prospective employees, especially those with skills that are in high demand.”

Dr. Theodore P. Stank, Bruce Chair of Excellence in Business, University of Tennessee told LM in a recent interview that supply chain professionals need to “reinvent” themselves:

“Machinery and technology can become obsolete in a short time, but the same is true of people in the workforce,” he said. Unless you continue to grow and take on new responsibilities a person becomes stale and vulnerable,” he said.

ManpowerGroup surveyed almost 40,000 employers across 39 countries and territories as part of its annual Talent Shortage Survey. Globally, 34 percent of employers say they are having difficulty filling positions. The reasons most often cited are lack of experience, lack of available applicants and lack of technical skills. Among the 39 countries and territories surveyed, employers are having the most difficulty finding the right people to fill jobs in Japan (80 percent), India (67 percent) and Brazil (57 percent).

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About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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