Tight labor market is reason for unfilled jobs, survey says

July 12 2017


It’s getting harder to fill jobs — and a lack of available applicants is the top reason why, according to a survey released today.

Almost a quarter of participants, 24%, said it is “very difficult” to recruit and fill positions and another 46% said it is “somewhat difficult.” In total, 70% reported some level of difficulty, the highest percentage since the last quarter of 2016. In contrast, 25% reported it is “somewhat easy,” while just 4% said it is “very easy.”

There should be little doubt at this point that we have a tight labor market and are approaching full employment, at least by conventional measures.

As a result, it’s not surprising to see companies lamenting the difficulty of finding talent. Employers would be well advised to consider new recruitment and retention strategies. If the economy continues to grow, these challenges will not subside, and it will be up to business leaders and elected officials alike to find ways to bring more people into the American workforce.”

Respondents were also asked, “What is the primary reason that your open jobs are not filled?” A lack of available applicants replaced lack of experience, which garnered the most responses in last quarter’s survey, as the primary reason. The top five responses include:

  1. Lack of available applicants: 32%, up from 30% in a similar survey in the second quarter
  2. Lack of experience: 30%, up from 32%
  3. I have all my positions filled: 20%, down from 24%
  4. Lack of hard skills: 18%, unchanged from the prior survey
  5. Lack of soft skills: 13%, down from 14%

The survey of 533 businesses gauged respondents’ expectations for the third quarter of 2017.


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