Infographic: What Employers Want

Infographic: What Employers Want


Despite high unemployment, some U.S. employers can’t find enough workers with the right qualifications to fill their jobs.

While the U.S. economy is growing slowly, there are industries and areas of the country — such as those at the center of the oil and gas boom — that are expanding rapidly.

A lack of qualified employees might be a significant problem for businesses and the economy as a while in such circumstances.

More broadly, this perceived lack of qualified employees may reflect some of the nation’s more serious longer-term structural problems.

For example, the length of the current jobs recession has left many workers unemployed for long periods of time.

In turn, this may mean that many workers no longer have the skills today’s businesses need.

Similarly, the lack of jobs across the economy has left many younger Americans without job experience — something businesses also look for when seeking qualified employees.

There is also the issue of whether today’s education system is able to develop the highly qualified employees U.S. businesses need to compete in the global economy.

There is also some question that many small employers simply do not want to pay skilled worker enough and therefore find it hard to find the workers they need.

Regardless, 35% of today’s small businesses say they are hiring fewer employees than they need, according to the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index survey.

Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business survey, conducted Jan. 7-11, 2013, with a random sample of 601 small-business owners.

Gallup asked these questions in two earlier Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business surveys, in January 2012 and March 2005.

One in four owners, 27%, say the difficulty in getting highly qualified employees to work for them has hurt their business during the past 12 months.

This implies that when the economy actually returns to its normal growth path, there could be an explosion in small-business hiring needs.

In turn, the unavailability of highly qualified U.S. workers could go from being a major concern to a crisis — holding back economic expansion and the growth of the U.S. workforce.

–Report by Dennis Jacobe, Gallup chief economist with additional reporting from WOW.

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