ManpowerGroup, the world leader in innovative workforce solutions, says slow demand for products and services, coupled with ongoing talent mismatches, are continuing to hamper the labor market. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the overall July unemployment rate fell slightly to 9.1% and 117,000 private sector jobs were created during the month.
“Finding people with the right skills is extremely challenging, and employers are unwilling to compromise while demand remains sluggish,” said Jeffrey A. Joerres, ManpowerGroup chairman and CEO. “Clearly when you have 14 million people out of work and vying for the same positions posted online, companies are swimming in candidate resumes short on the right skills and other qualifiers. As soon as companies sense danger on the economic horizon they instantly hit the pause button on hiring.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers offer some encouraging news for the American jobs market after weak jobs growth in May and June, and with renewed uncertainty hampering the global economy. There was little change in the number of temporary workers being hired during July.
Even as U.S. unemployment remains elevated and jobs growth struggles, ManpowerGroup’s 2011 Talent Shortage Survey showed a big increase in the number of employers who report difficulty in filling open vacancies, with over half revealing such challenges. This is the highest U.S. percentage reported in the annual survey’s six-year history.
ManpowerGroup warns that if the cyclical effects on the labor market continue to linger, this may create longer-term structural changes. One example may be the fate of the long-term unemployed, whose skills become antiquated and no longer meet the requirements of employers who have continued to evolve job roles.
“An employer’s ability to expertly align candidates with current and future business needs will give them the ultimate business advantage once the economy steers into a steady growth track,” said Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup’s president of the Americas. “Demand holds the keys to business growth and job creation, regardless of industry. Without it, our unemployment rate will remain high and we will have more underemployed Americans not actively seeking work and increasingly uncertain of how to bolster their skills during critical transition periods. Downtime is not an option for workers or employers.”
ManpowerGroup’s new Fresh Perspectives Paper, “‘Manufacturing’ Talent for the Human Age,” released this spring in tandem with the Talent Shortage Survey, makes recommendations for how employers should tackle the scarcity of talent in the face of an abundance of available workers. Now that the world has entered the Human Age, a holistic workforce strategy must account for external talent supply factors such as demographic shifts, the rise of emerging markets and rapidly evolving technology as well as internal demand. Employers’ efforts to identify the right talent and to develop these workers with career-long training programs are fundamental to winning today’s talent wars.