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Shortage of Qualified Employees Poses Big Challenge

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Despite all the talk of high unemployment rates, business owners say that finding qualified employees is one of their biggest challenges.

Those were the findings of the 2011 HireRight Employment Screening Benchmarking Report, which indicated that 49 percent of respondents listed finding and retaining qualified employees as a top business challenge. That's the same number that named cost-cutting as their biggest challenge. 

These results, obtained through a survey given to 1,800 professionals from organizations of all sizes, confirm research by the Manpower Group. According to the Manpower Group, 52 percent of employers are reported as having a hard time finding qualified employees to fill jobs.  

"With unemployment numbers topping 9 percent, most people assume that every company has their pick of hundreds of qualified workers for every job," Rob Pickell, HireRight senior vice president of customer solutions, said in a statement. "In reality, employers appear to be experiencing a different phenomenon today. This year’s benchmarking survey results and other third party reports suggest that many companies are having difficulty in filling critical positions."

[Read: The Great Jobs Gap]

Finding qualified employees was not the only challenge businesses face. Attracting and retaining entry-level employees as well as the transfer of knowledge between employees were two other significant challenges for employers and business owners, according to the survey.   

"It appears that America has a work/skill gap that is contributing to the employment problem,"  Pickell said. "While 90 percent of organizations expect no decline in their work force and 51 percent anticipate an increase in hiring, the obvious challenge is finding the right candidate for the role."