PhotoThere are still plenty of people looking for work, but companies are becoming increasingly particular about who they hire. In the digital age, they are looking for employees with certain skill sets and often complain that they can't find them.

According to the ManpowerGroup annual survey, the problem is only getting worse. The survey found 46% of employers reported trouble filling certain jobs because they couldn't find skilled candidates. That's a big jump from the 32% who reported that problem last year.

The survey also found this growing problem has changed the dynamics of the job market, and while it might not help job seekers in the short run, it could definitely benefit people who are currently employed, but haven't been able to persuade their boss they need a raise.


Here's what's happening: employers frustrated at the lack of qualified candidates have begun looking around their own organizations, finding competent and proven employees performing lower skilled jobs, and have begun training them for the hard-to-fill jobs. It's called “upskilling.”

"We see this particularly in industries like manufacturing, construction, transportation and education," said Kip Wright, senior vice president of Manpower North America. "When the talent isn't available, organizations need to turn to training and developing their own people – and in many cases this means first identifying the skills that will be required in increasingly digital industries, like manufacturing.”

The benefit for companies is the employees are known quantities. If they have proved reliable in their current capacities, there's a reasonable expectation they would be reliable in a new capacity, assuming they received adequate training and had the aptitude.

Path for advancement

For employees, it's a path toward advancement in a career, which would likely lead to increased pay. Employees who believe they have a chance at upward mobility are likely to have better morale.

The survey measured businesses in 42 countries and territories and found that it's hardest to find skilled trades workers. After that, IT positions have been the hardest to fill.

For job seekers, obtaining these skills could improve the chances of landing a job. On the other hand, getting any kind of position at a company willing to “upskill” its employees could be a ticket to a new career without having to pay for training.

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