Here's why employers can't fill jobs

Many are having problems finding the right candidates, according to a new survey.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 11, 2014 1:42PM
Image: Engineer with handheld computer © Image Source, Getty ImagesBy Mark Koba, CNBC

A declining unemployment rate -- now at 6.1 percent -- would seem to mean that employers are packing their payrolls with workers. But many businesses say they are having a harder time filling open positions this year than last year, according to a new survey.

The poll, conducted by franchise staffing firm Express Employment Professionals, reports that 83 percent of the 115 company franchises surveyed said that it was "somewhat difficult" or "very difficult" to fill a job opening this year.


That's up from 78 percent who reported the same for the survey in 2013.

When asked for the primary reason jobs remained unfilled, 52 percent of respondents cited a lack of available candidates.

Businesses continue to cite a skills gap between jobs seekers and the open positions.

"This was surprising to me as I thought the number of companies having difficulties would be lower this year," said Bob Funk, CEO of Express, and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

"Because of the skills gap, the unemployment rate is still higher than it should be," he added. "The gap is real."

Another reason for the hiring slowdown, however, might be the often low pay that's offered, said Rebecca Smith, deputy director of the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group for workers.

"Except for those at the top, wages have consistently declined over the past few years," she said. "What you're seeing now is more temp hiring without benefits. Workers aren't happy about that."

Here is a survey breakdown of the difficulty and reasons with comparisons to this year and 2013:

Currently, how easy is it for you to recruit and fill positions?
Very easy0%1%
Somewhat easy17%19%
Somewhat difficult58%66%
Very difficult25%12%
I don't know0%1%
Source: Express Employment Professionals

What is the primary reason that your open jobs are not filled?
Lack of available applicants52%46%
Not enough pay offered13%15%
Lack of experience10%12%
Lack of hard skills10%13%
Lack of soft skills4%3%
Client location3%0%
Unwilling to work part-time or temp roles1%2%
Source: Express Employment Professionals

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Jul 11, 2014 2:14PM

This is a major league bunch of horse dung.  There is no "skills gap."  Companies can't find people because they want one person to do three jobs and they don't want to pay.  Further, they persist in looking for the non-existent "perfect candidate" ... a 32 year old with 20 years experience who'll work 75 hours a week for entry level wages.



Jul 11, 2014 2:15PM
My daughter is a recent college graduate and is looking/applying for "entry" level work and has been unable to find anything because even "entry" level positions are requiring two years worth of experience.  Employers can't find candidates because they are looking to fill these positions with over-qualified workers.  An entry level position should be just that.
Jul 11, 2014 2:38PM
Its because these companies want to pay low wages to skilled workers.  They can't retain people because they treat their employees like they are disposable.  Welcome to corporate America, where the bottom line means everything and the employee is nothing.
Jul 11, 2014 2:21PM
This is BS. First, plenty of eager young people, but the companies may actually have to train them and give them a "career path". Second, one of the reasons the immigration package fails is because companies want to hire "green card" workers for a couple years at half U.S. wages and they get half U.S. smarts for it. Third, almost anyone over 55 with experience is being swept under the rug at any price. Total BS propaganda.
Jul 11, 2014 2:04PM
They can't fill jobs because potential employees are finally showing some backbone in interviews... no i'm not going to work 3rd shift for minimum wage....i'm not going to make up for the useless workers you've hired.  
Jul 11, 2014 2:24PM
Skills gap?  Maybe in some areas, particularly IT and higher-tech areas.  But as CFO, I've seen this from the inside, and for the last 5-6 years, corporate America has just gotten cheap and lazy.  Companies no longer know how to (or don't bother to) properly align reasonable experience and educational requirements with jobs.  This is particularly true in accounting.  I've seen job after job after job asking for CPA certification, when the job in no way requires it, and when couple with the experience requirements, the company trying to hire someone couldn't afford a CPA with that many years experience anyway.  Frequently companies want a master's degree as well (which goes hand-in-hand since in most states you must have a master's degree to be a CPA).  Let's be honest - if you're a small/mid-market company with 250 employees, you can't afford a financial analyst or assistance controller who's a 5-year CPA coming out of a large public accounting firm.  Chances are great they're already making more than you're offering.
Jul 11, 2014 2:17PM
How about employers expecting everyone they hire to come with experience.  Every job I've applied for since leaving college in 2006 seems to want experience.  I've applied for entry level that wants a year or 2 of experience.  I'm capable and intelligent enough to learn how to do pretty much anything, but it seems like everyone wants someone else to spend the money to teach a worker how to do a job.
Jul 11, 2014 2:28PM
I have two sons who are college graduates than cannot get jobs in their fields.  One enlisted in the military, and now he is back home, and can't even get an interview with employers who supposedly give priority to hiring veterans.  He is going back to school for another technical degree in healthcare, so perhaps he might be able to get a job before he is 40.  The other has been working part time for 13 years and freelance as well, and has finally given up the ghost and is getting set to work full time at a job he would not have had to go to college for, wasting endless $$$.

Employers who claim a skills set gap:  ever hear of OJT?????????????????????


No the reason is companies tell you what your job description will be and when you arrive you are doing far more than they discussed with you. A majority of positons require you to do the work of more than one person but for the pay of only one person.

Companies want people who won't rock the boat. They want yes men and women while still paying low wages and over working those people. They expect you to just sit there, do your job, take it in the backside and be thankful about it while not paying you what you deserve to make.

When an unemployment check is more than the wages paid for a weeks worth of work what do you expect?




Jul 11, 2014 2:41PM
WTF do these employers think! They have cut pay, hours, and benefits, and wonder why they cannot get applicants in the door. All the time the top management have seen increases in pay and benefits and shareholders are getting bigger dividends.

WAKE UP corporate America, you helped create the problem and are unwilling to do anything about it. You complain that there are too many on welfare while your lawyers and accounts expedite your applications for corporate welfare.

We want a Free Market, stop destroying it and start embracing it. It works.

The Middle Class is NOT your ATM!

Jul 11, 2014 2:38PM
Because the jobs are minimum wage, no benefit jobs!!!  EMPLOYERS LISTEN UP;  PAY YOUR EMPLOYEES BETTER AND TREAT THEM BETTER or you're not going to have anyone working for you!
Jul 11, 2014 3:27PM
If you want an employee who will stay employed instead of using your company as a stepping stone, pay them a decent salary. If you want an employee who will do things your way, train them; you'd be surprised at how smart and capable of learning most people are. If you want an employee who will watch your bottom line, watch theirs. This is truley a give and take. If an employer loses an employee in order to save a nickle, the employer has not only lost the employee but also his investment in that individual and guess what? The employee has gained the "experience" (that no one can take away) required by his future employer.

My wife works for a company that just let their IT dept go. They have now posted ONE entry-level job opening. The six workers (each who had been there from five to 15 years) they just let go have been told they are welcome to apply. So when they don't apply for a job that will require them to do the work of the six - at minimum wage,  the company will come back with, "Well, we can't find anyone who wants to work so we had no choice but to outsource."


It is really a sad situation we have in this country.

Jul 11, 2014 2:10PM
Well just so you know some people are to good for some jobs and just getting by was what they did in their teens and 20's. Watching my father, an electrical engineer with over 20 years of experience get laid off because the company's bottom line bullsh#$ said that they could hire 3 fresh out of school kids with ZERO experience for the same cost. For you to say that now he has to go to work at walmart because no one want's to pay his salary is just foolish and one of the thought processes that is destroying this country. I'll bet real money you work in a kitchen and have no other aspirations except to move up to fry cook. That's cool if that's all you want out of life, but others aspire to more and consider it an insult to have to work beneath their potential. The government financial debacle led to my father being let go along with all of you that said nothing while it was happening. Now you WILL pay for him to sit on the dole and laugh at you while you sweat for you $8.00 an hour.
Jul 11, 2014 2:48PM
"Except for those at the top, wages have consistently declined over the past few years" But taxes, cost of living and cost of everything else has risen 
Jul 11, 2014 2:14PM
Yes employers are looking for more skilled employees, you know the likes of migrants from Mexico, and the rest of South America, you know the really smart ones, that can count with their fingers and toes, the one's that can't read or write, or understand our language.  The one's that don't complain because of the pay.  This is nothing but more propaganda news to enforce the stigma that Americans are not job worthy, but these illegal parasites invading our country are.  When will still type of slander on the American workforce ever stop.  Has our government no shame, or journalists for that matter.
Jul 11, 2014 2:41PM
who is complaining; McDonald's & Burger King? LOL

The country is replacing health professionals with illegal and expatriated employees from the Philippines, India, Paki, and every other part of the world.
Jul 11, 2014 2:35PM
Unbelievable.  What am going to read next.  You can't even buy a decent job in the State of Florida.  I am sure its like that across the nation.  I am 56 and soon to be a college graduate.  I went back to school because there was no job market in Florida.  I couldn't even get a restaurant job.  I am not at all optimistic.  In the field I have studied in school for the past 4 years, every job posting I see wants experienced  only candidate.  What planet are you on?
Jul 11, 2014 2:53PM
One of the worst reasons for them failing to get employees is the fact that they only want to hire young people, not older people over 50. Ninety nine percent of the time they see the birthday and automatically assume because they are over 50 they will quit after only a few years because of age.
They say there is no age discrimination but that is an OUTRIGHT lie!!!!!!!!!

Jul 11, 2014 2:13PM
The article seems to say it all - declining skill set and declining wages. Why is that a surprise?
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