Struggling to fill roles? You’re not alone

by Janie Smith01 Jun 2014
Are you struggling to find job candidates with the right skills? If the answer is yes, then you’re part of the 41% of Australian employers having the same trouble, according to ManpowerGroup’s global Talent Shortage Survey.

ManpowerGroup Australia and New Zealand managing director Lincoln Crawley said the fact that so many employers were having trouble finding the right candidates for roles despite unemployment sitting at 5.8 per cent reflected the complexity of the employment landscape.

“[It’s] what we call the ‘talent mismatch’, where the skills available aren't the same as the ones needed by employers. Although we’ve seen the resources boom come off the boil, a shift in infrastructure developments across the country is seeing demand for specialist engineers and skilled trade workers be sustained.”
However, the survey results showed a softening of the labour market, with the percentage of employers struggling to fill roles falling from 50% in 2012, to 45% in 2013 and 41% this year, bringing it closer to the worldwide average of 36%.
The top three toughest jobs to fill remained the same in 2013 and 2014, with skilled trades topping the list, followed by engineers and sales representatives.
IT staff came in at number six and Crawley said the number of roles around the integration of mobile application, solutions and cloud computing was rapidly increasing, while the need for on-site network engineers waned.
“The fact that companies are citing a lack of skills or experience as a reason for talent shortages should be a wake-up call for organisations, education, government and individuals.
“It is crucial that these stakeholders work together to address the supply-and-demand imbalance in the labour market in a systematic, agile and sustainable way.”  
Percentage of employers internationally struggling to fill roles
Japan – 81%
Peru – 67%
India – 64%
Argentina, Brazil, Turkey – 63%
International employers least likely to fact talent shortages
Singapore – 10%
South Africa – 8%
Netherlands – 5%
Spain – 3%
Ireland – 2%
Top 10 toughest jobs to fill in Australia in 2014
  1. Skilled trades
  2. Engineers
  3. Sales representatives
  4. Accounting and finance staff
  5. Management/executive
  6. IT staff
  7. Technicians
  8. Sales managers
  9. Doctors and other non-nursing health professionals
  10. Drivers


  • by Penny 2/06/2014 12:39:48 PM

    Interesting dilemma especially if we're all to be working into our 70s. Perhaps employers and recruiters need to think outside the box a little more and really get in to employing people for the 'untrainables' such as culture fit and attitude.
    In some instances such as some sales roles, product knowledge can usually be acquired and if the person is hungry enough with the right attitude, they'll make sure pick it up quickly enough.

  • by Tricia 2/06/2014 1:32:14 PM

    Stories like this really frustrate me. The problem isn't that there aren't enough skilled workers out there, it is with Recruitment firms who don't understand what employers want so end up sending them candidates who are not suitable for the roles. If employers could cut out the middlemen and talk directly with candidates they wouldn't have as many problems. Also the bias against workers over 40 years old result in many employers claiming a skill shortage when many talented over 40 year olds sit at home applying for jobs which they have no chance of getting based soley on their age. Often these people are unable to be included in unemployment statistics as Centrelink don't want to know them because their spouse is working.

  • by Bruce Jackson 2/06/2014 3:45:31 PM

    The nature of the problem is that you are probably using Recruitment Consultants for roles where you should be managing the recruitment yourself. Recruiters will typically present vanilla candidates with a heavy emphasis on young people who have worked for high profile brand name big businesses with impressive titles. Shouldn’t this approach deliver high caliber candidates? Well regrettably no in most instances. These great credentials that you have you been presented with often translates into inexperienced people, lacking in responsibility and measured leadership as the business they have been working for accorded little authority to junior middle ranking personnel – yes that’s right, the true level of the candidates notwithstanding their impressive title. What perpetuates this talent shortfall is that many recruiters have a superficial knowledge of how businesses actually operate. Their background is typically in sales and the sales pitch is to engage them to do your recruiting. In short, they present you with what superficially sounds/looks good, but in reality lack depth and real know how. So the bad news is that you will have to spend more time directly managing your recruitment. The good news is that you will discover that the people you need are in fact out there and available.

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