When you hear the phrase “war for talent” it’s not hard to imagine a battlefield of recruiters slugging it out over the slim pickings of qualified candidates. The latest findings from online job board Indeed only serve to strengthen that notion.
In a nationwide survey of over 1,000 HR managers and recruiters, 86% reported that they find it challenging to find and hire technical talent and 75% think the time-to-fill for roles has increased in the past three years. More than half (53%) of respondents hired people who weren’t exactly qualified because they needed to fill the position immediately. The result of this: 83% believe it has hurt their business either from lost revenue, slower product development, market expansion, or increased team tension and employee burnout.
This shortfall affects a variety of jobs across industries. We asked jobs experts to shine a light on positions and sectors that have the biggest talent deficits right now.
According to Indeed economist Daniel Culbertson, there is a wide variety of jobs that employers have a hard time filling. “From what we might think of as old-world professions like barbers to positions that require advanced professional degrees, such as veterinarians, aerospace engineers, and chief executives,” he explains. Culbertson says that can be due to a number of reasons from sheer volume of demand for the those particular workers to having a limited talent pool because there are high barriers to entry for a profession.
Indeed ranked the following jobs by the number of postings that went unfilled for more than 30 days.
The top ten were:
- Power Distributors and Dispatchers
- Pile-Driver Operators
- Tax Preparers
- Electric Motor, Power Tool, and Related Repairers
- Vocational Education Teachers, Postsecondary
- Cargo and Freight Agents
- Tire Repairers and Changers
- Pharmacy Technicians
Other jobs on the list included skin care specialists, massage therapists, and aerospace engineers.
“In the case of profession such as a veterinarian, the high barrier to entry of the training and education required to be qualified simply shrinks the talent pool,” says Culbertson. He says that because skin care specialists or massage therapists train on the job after a short professional certification course, those jobs are typically much less susceptible to shortages driven by a lack of candidates. However, the BLS reports that both professions are growing fast than average as demand for these services grows.
Glassdoor’s analysis of their data revealed some overlaps, but Scott Dobroski, Glassdoor’s community expert, pointed out that “shortages” are tricky to identify for various reasons, including how job openings can be advertised, when they are removed or not by employers, which can be slightly different for each employer and which doesn’t always correspond to the actual hiring status.
That said, they provided a sampling of jobs that tend to remain open on average, for two to six months on Glassdoor.
- Registered Nurse
- Pharmacy Technician
- Physical Therapist
- Speech Language Pathologist
- Software Engineer
Technology and health care jobs lead the way, says Dobroski, because many jobs in both of these industries often require higher education combined with a very niche skill set.
In the nursing profession, education is one barrier to entry, however, there is also a lack of nurse educators compounding the problem. And according to a recent survey by staffing firm AMN Healthcare, 80% of nurse managers said they are not aware of technology-enabled solutions that could help them alleviate nurse scheduling and staffing problems.
“Demand for this talent still outpaces supply,” Dobroski says, noting that it’s taking employers two to six months to find the right talent. For comparison, when the talent supply is more balanced, jobs are filled in a month or less on average.
Taking a deeper dive into exactly what the shortages are in tech, Anthology, the platform for passive job seekers, looked at how many jobs it has with the primary job functions listed and the number of members who have self-reported as being qualified for those job functions, then looked at that ratio and normalized it.
The list included:
- Dev Ops
- Full Stack
- Front end
- Business Development
- Product Management
- Account Management
“This shows that the more specialized the required skill set, the greater the shortage,” Andrew Schroeder, product and data lead at Anthology, says. He notes that there are lots of software jobs opening up right now, yet the pool of candidates with suitable skills isn’t growing as quickly as the market.
Schroeder says that part of the reason jobs are staying open so long is that employers are often more concerned with finding a specific skill set “fit” for more technical jobs like backend engineering. He says they are more willing to be flexible with roles that rely more on soft skills such as business development, marketing, and product management.
However, the Indeed survey found 58% of employers said that soft skills are actually more highly valued than a computer science degree, or performance on a code challenge when evaluating technical talent followed closely by the 56% who said a computer science degree is most important.