A Publication of WTVP

Employers who take an innovative approach to staff recruitment and hiring will win a talent war that shows no signs of letting up. In a survey of 1,000 U.S. employers, Manpower Professional found that 45 percent have difficulty filling positions for educated professionals like accountants, engineers and nurses. This tight supply is also putting upward pressure on salaries, as 38 percent of employers surveyed in 2006 reported paying higher wages for the same positions compared with the previous year.

The talent shortage, reported across several sectors, is most serious in durable goods manufacturing, where 51 percent of employers reported difficulty finding qualified professional candidates. Transportation and utilities (50 percent) and the services (49 percent) sectors also reported difficulty filling jobs.

At 45 percent, the U.S. trails only Peru (46 percent) and is tied with Japan among countries reporting the most difficulty finding qualified professionals. Mexico is close behind at 41 percent. Globally, 29 percent of employers are unable to find qualified talent and 25 percent indicate that talent shortages are causing them to pay more for the same job. These shortages are expected to worsen as more people reach retirement age. The United States is projected to experience a labor shortfall of 10 million workers by 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While these statistics are encouraging for those seeking new or better positions, they should serve as an alarm for employers to work harder to retain their existing professional employees and develop innovative ways to recruit top talent. Here are some tips to help employers win the war for professional talent:

• Start with the basics. Keep abreast of current salary ranges for the positions you want to fill. Recruiters and professional organizations are good information resources.
• Be flexible with the incentives. Flex time, job sharing and telecommuting are among non-traditional work arrangements that capture the attention of discriminating job seekers.
• Be prepared to develop creative salary and benefits packages. These may include onsite services (banking, medical clinics, daycare), performance bonuses, mentoring programs and professional development opportunities.

Although it’s a good time to be in the job market, successful job candidates must have the skills that employers want. Here’s some advice for job seekers:

• Consult with recruiters and professional organizations to learn which professional skill sets are in demand in your area.
• Focus on re-training or skills enhancement, if necessary. In some cases, an advanced college degree or a professional certification can give you an edge.
• Take the time to consider what qualities make an employer ideal for you. This means carefully researching your options to find organizations that are a good fit. In this labor market, you should take advantage of this luxury of choice to find a position that you can stay in for the long term.

The winners in today’s contemporary world of work will be employers with the foresight and nimbleness to provide attractive workplaces and job seekers who keep their skills in sync with global trends. IBI