HR pros are constantly on the hunt for the best talent. And it’s a tough trek these days.  

That’s the word from a research report, New Talent Landscape: Recruiting Difficulty and Skills Shortages, from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The report was released at SHRM’s annual conference in Washington, DC.

Almost one in seven HR managers (68%) across industries said they were facing significant challenges finding the right people in today’s job market.

More than one-half of HR professionals surveyed reported some level of basic skills/knowledge deficits among job applicants, and 84% said applicants are lacking when it comes to applied skills.

Other obstacles faced by recruiters:

  • 68% of HR professionals across industries report challenging recruiting conditions in the current talent market
  • One-half of organizations cite factors such as a low number of applicants (51%), lack of the needed work experience among candidates (50%) and competition from other employers (49%) as reasons for difficulty finding candidates for their open positions, and
  • 84% of HR professionals report seeing applied skills shortages in job applicants over the last 12 months.

Skills are the key

“HR professionals from all industries report a highly competitive market for talent, with recruiting difficulty reaching levels not seen in years,” said Jen Schramm, manager of SHRM’s workforce trends and forecasting program, said in a press release. “Meanwhile, they also report both basic and applied skills shortages among job candidates. This is putting more emphasis on both the need for investing in employee training and education and in working in partnership with other leaders in business, education and government to improve the talent pipeline in their communities.”

Leveraging social media was the most common strategy HR professionals reported using to deal with recruiting difficulty. However, the strategy that was reported to be the most effective was training existing employees to take on hard-to-fill roles.

There’s something of a trend toward in-house skill building: 39% of respondents reported that their organizations had increased their training budgets in the last 12 months. Meanwhile, 50% said budgets had remained unchanged.

But it seems that some HR professionals are faced with managing skills gaps without a training budget. Almost one-third of respondents reported that their organizations had no training budgets. Meanwhile, 11% reported that their training budgets had decreased in the last year.


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