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Engineers, Machinists, Tradesmen in Short Supply

April 23, 2008
Related Topics: Candidate Sourcing, Latest News
Because of an aging workforce and a new generation of workers entering other professions, engineers, machinists and skilled trade workers are the three most difficult positions to recruit for, according to Manpower’s annual list of “The 10 Hardest Jobs to Fill.”
Baby boomers are starting to retire, which means many workers with traditional blue-collar skills are leaving the workforce, says Melanie Holmes, vice president of corporate affairs for the Milwaukee-based staffing giant. The survey, released Tuesday, April 22, covered 42,500 employers from 32 countries.

The retiring boomers are compounded by fewer young people entering these fields. Less than 10 percent of college students in America are getting engineering degrees, Holmes says.

The 10 Hardest Jobs to Fill

1. Engineers

2. Machinists/machine operators

3. Skilled trades

4. Technicians

5. Sales representatives

6. Accounting and finance staff

7. Mechanics

8. Laborers

9. IT staff

10. Production operators

Technicians, sales representatives and accountants/finance staff also made it onto Manpower’s list. Employers struggling to fill these vacancies can, in the short term, enhance recruiting efforts on college campuses and at technical schools and also emphasize the retention of older workers. Longer term, Manpower suggests, employers should partner with local educational institutions and encourage students to enter these professions.

Nearly 25 percent of employers say they are having problems filling positions because of a lack of talent.

“Employers need to do everything they can to give opportunities to everyone who is willing or able to work,” she notes. “This includes the aging workforce, the younger generations, people of color and people with disabilities.”

Successfully recruiting young workers will depend on how well companies can cater to their specific needs.

“This generation wants flexibility, they want to be innovative on the job,” Holmes notes. “And they want to have fun while they are at it.”

—Gina Ruiz

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