Skilled Labor Gap: One In Three Employers Have Difficulty Finding Qualified Employees

What unemployment problem? Fifty-two percent of American employers are having difficulty finding suitable talent to fill job openings, reports a survey by employment firm ManpowerGroup.

And the U.S. isn't the only country having problems hiring qualified employees. The report surveyed nearly 40,000 international employers from 39 countries, including Japan, India, the U.S., Germany, Italy, Canada, China, France and the U.K., and found one in three employers reported difficulty filling positions related to lack of talent, an increase from 2010. Sixty-six percent, meanwhile, cited no difficulties. The study showed that employers were more likely to report issues with hiring in 2011, during the economic recovery, than during the economic downturn starting in 2007.

The top five countries with the highest difficulty filling jobs were: Japan (80 percent), India (67 percent), Brazil (57 percent), Australia (54 percent) and Taiwan (54 percent), with the U.S. ranking seventh, at 52 percent.

Notably, India saw a 51 percent increase in difficulty from 2010 to 2011, while the U.S. saw a 38 percent jump in 2011. The report states that "these difficulties likely stem from increased demand in both countries as the economy rebounds."

Globally, the top five most difficult positions to fill are technicians, sales representatives and skilled trades workers, engineers and laborers. When asked why it was so difficult to find qualified employees, 28 percent cited a lack of experience among applicants.

The survey asked employers how they were best dealing with this shortage. Surprisingly, only 6 percent said they were investing in improving the candidates through further education, while the most common plan, mentioned by 21 percent of the employers, was to provide extra training to existing staff.