Computer Scientists in Short Supply

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Photo: lassedesignen –

Workforce solutions company ManpowerGroup recently surveyed 38,000 employers across 42 countries and found that one in three companies, or roughly 35%, is struggling to fill jobs due to a shortage of talent. That’s a one percentage point increase over the previous year.

According to the study, the most frequent consequence of this talent shortage is reduced competitiveness and lower productivity. In fact, nearly one in five companies report that the lack of qualified staff seriously impacts their ability to meet the needs of their customers. The most acute skills shortages are reported by Brazilian, Indian, and Japanese companies. Hardest hit is Japan, where 85% of employers say they are having difficulty filling positions.

United States expert shortage down, but still above global average

The skills shortage in the United States seems harmless in comparison. With 39% of American companies struggling to find available expertise, the U.S. average is somewhat above the global figure of 35%. Yet employers in the United States will be pleased to learn that the proportion of American companies feeling the pinch has gone down 10% since last year’s survey.

Next page: Different regions face different challenges

Globally, the skilled trades top the list of hardest-to-fill vacancies, followed by engineers in second place. Computer scientists, ranked seventh globally, are the fourth-most difficult talent to source in the United States.

The study further shows that different regions around the globe face different hiring challenges: The Americas region, for example, has the most difficulty recruiting technicians, while companies in the Asia-Pacific region are having problems finding skilled sales representatives. Employers in the EMEA region, meanwhile, have most trouble filling jobs in the skilled trades.

Lack of technical competency and job applications

The companies surveyed cited two main reasons for this recruiting bottleneck: 34% said it was because candidates lacked the technical skills and qualifications, and nearly as many cited a lack of available applicants.

Next page: Companies adapting by changing workforce strategy

To alleviate this skills mismatch, most companies focus their attention on their existing staff, offering them new training and career development opportunities to help the company meet its objectives and stay competitive. One in four employers report that they have changed their workforce strategy, organizing the work differently and developing flexible working time models, for example.

Company competition for candidates

Companies are going new ways in their quest to find suitable employees as well: approaching candidates who are not actively seeking work, for example, is just one tactic. Some employers have even begun lowering their demands, coming back to reconsider candidates they had originally turned down.