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The Skills Gap Is Costing Businesses Dearly

The Skills Gap Is Costing Businesses Dearly
Credit: Amanda Studio/Shutterstock

Employers are having trouble finding qualified candidates to fill open positions – and this can cost businesses thousands of dollars a year.

According to a 2017 CareerBuilder survey, HR managers say the average cost they experience for having long job vacancies is more than $800,000 a year. Find out what career experts have to say about the skills gap and the industries that are struggling the most.

Sometimes it's impossible to find a job candidate that checks all your boxes. "The skills gap is a term that describes the gaping hole between the requirements of a job and what job candidates possess in terms of professional backgrounds and expertise," said Jason Lovelace, president of talent acquisition solutions at CareerBuilder.

As the job market moves to tech, employers are having a harder time finding applicants with the background experience needed to meet the needs of changing job roles. "Employers are left with openings that are taking longer to fill than ever before," said Lovelace. "In fact, we found that nearly 60 percent of U.S. employers have job openings that remain open for 12 weeks or longer."

Vicki Salemi, a career expert for job search platform Monster, said the skills gap is similar to the labor shortage and occurs when employers struggle to find qualified candidates.

While many industries and employers are having trouble filling positions, some industries are struggling more than others, such as the tech sector. According to CareerBuilder, here are the 10 positions employers are having the most difficulty filling.

  • Internists
  • Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers
  • Marketing managers
  • Information security analysts
  • Web developers
  • Industrial engineers
  • Demonstrators and product promoters
  • Sales managers
  • Human resources managers
  • Financial managers

"As we look at the positions employers are having difficulty filling, we've seen that the skills gap is most heavily impacting recruiting across STEM roles and corporate jobs that require technical skills and familiarity with programs," Lovelace said.

According to the CareerBuilder survey, two out three employers are concerned about the skills gap, and more than half of employers say they've seen it negatively impact their business. Here are the areas where employers say the skills gap is hurting their company:

  • Productivity loss: 45 percent
  • Higher employee turnover:40 percent
  • Lower morale: 39 percent
  • Lower-quality work: 37 percent
  • Inability to grow business: 29 percent
  • Revenue loss: 26 percent

"As we look ahead to the next five years, we're seeing that more jobs across all industries – not just STEM – are requiring tech in their daily tasks," said Lovelace. "As this trend continues to grow, candidates will need to continue their education and upskilling to meet the requirements of the changing workforce."

While candidates should always strive to gain more education and skills, employers should offer training to employees to combat this problem.

Salemi related what a former corporate recruiter and hiring manager told her: "If a candidate seemed like a great [addition to] the team – hard worker, strong ethics, excellent interpersonal skills, expressed enthusiasm for the role – the [company] would often hire the candidate and provide technical training, as it is more challenging to find [a candidate with the right] technical and tech soft skills."  

Saige Driver

Saige received her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Telecommunications from Ball State University. She is the social media strategist for Business.com and Business News Daily. She also writes reviews and articles about social media. She loves reading and her beagle mix, Millie.