Skilled trades, technicians top global most wanted list

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Manpower Inc. on April 22 released the results of its third annual talent shortage survey, revealing that 31 percent of employers across the globe are finding it more difficult to fill jobs. The top three candidates most in-demand are: skilled manual trades, sales representatives and technicians (which are technical workers in the areas of production/operations, engineering and maintenance). Manpower surveyed nearly 43,000 employers across 32 countries and territories as a follow-up to its 2007 and 2006 surveys - including for the first time in the Czech Republic, Greece, Guatemala, Poland and Romania - to determine which positions employers are having difficulty filling this year due to lack of available talent.

"This year, the most significant finding in our survey is that the percentage of employers in the Americas having trouble filling positions has dropped more than half compared to last year," said Jeffrey A. Joerres, chairman and CEO of Manpower Inc. "This dramatic decrease is a reflection of the recent downturn in the U.S. economy. However, the talent crunch is still a very real concern, and employers need to continue their diligence in developing their employer brands and honing their talent strategies during 2008."

"Globally, skilled manual trades edged out sales representatives for the number one hardest job to fill this year. Trades jobs, such as plumbers and carpenters, are now in even shorter supply than last year - a talent demand that is crossing borders, as well as continents; and companies worldwide continue to search for experienced sales professionals to help generate revenue," Joerres added.

The top 10 jobs that employers are having difficulty filling in 2008 compared to 2007 are (ranked in order):

  2008 Hot Jobs                          2007 Hot Jobs
  1.  Skilled Manual Trades              1.  Sales Representatives
  2.  Sales Representatives              2.  Skilled Manual Trades
  3.  Technicians                        3.  Technicians
  4.  Engineers                          4.  Engineers
  5.  Management/Executives              5.  Accounting and Finance Staff
  6.  Laborers                           6.  Laborers
  7.  Administrative Assistants / PAs    7.  Production Operators
  8.  Drivers                            8.  Drivers
  9.  Accounting & Finance staff         9.  Management/Executives
  10. IT Staff                           10. Machinists/ Operators

The complete results of Manpower's global talent shortage survey can be downloaded at

Around the world, the percentage of employers having difficulty finding the right people to fill jobs dropped from 41 percent last year to 31 percent this year, yet talent shortages remain extremely prevalent, particularly in Romania (73%), Japan (63%), Hong Kong (61%), Singapore (57%) and Australia (52%). Of all the countries and territories surveyed, Hong Kong reported the largest increase in employers struggling to fill jobs compared to 2007. In the United Kingdom, India, Ireland and China, talent shortages are prevalent, but less severe, as employers are still struggling to fill specific positions.

The survey revealed an increase in employer demand for IT staff as these jobs have resurfaced on the list of the Top 10 most difficult to fill jobs, after falling off in 2007. This is also the case for administrative assistants and management/executives. Skilled manual trades topped the list this year, surpassing sales representatives, which were ranked the number one hottest job last year.

"Once again this year, we see managers and executives climb higher on the Top 10 most difficult jobs to fill list globally. Finding skilled and experienced management is always a struggle. This is especially evident in China, where managers and executives are tied with sales representatives for the second most difficult jobs to fill," Joerres said.

Showing the most dramatic changes of any region compared to last year is the Americas region, where technicians, engineers and skilled manual trades replaced production operators, sales representatives and accounting staff as the top three jobs to fill. There are also three new entries in the list of the top 10 in the Americas - management/executives, PAs and administrative assistants and sales managers. In addition, the region is showing the largest fall in the degree of difficulty in filling jobs as 28 percent of employers surveyed in the Americas are indicating that they are having difficulty filling positions, a notable fall from both 2007 and 2006 (62 percent and 70 percent respectively). This drop has been driven by Costa Rica (with a reduction of 59 percent between 2007 and 2008), Mexico (a reduction of 54 percent), Peru (down 24 percent) and the USA (down from 41% in 2007 to 22% this year).

Of the countries and territories surveyed in the Asia Pacific region, employers are reporting that administrative staff positions are now easier to fill, while IT staff are once again scarce, particularly in India where IT staff are the most difficult position for employers to fill. In China's tight labor market, technicians remain the most difficult jobs to fill, while laborers slid down the list from number 2 in 2007 to 8 in 2008.

The best place to be for workers in the skilled manual trades, such as carpentry, welding and plumbing, is in Europe. These positions are ranked as the first or second-most difficult jobs to fill in all of the countries surveyed in the region, excluding the Netherlands, where technicians are in high demand. Drivers have entered the top three most difficult jobs to fill for the first time in Europe this year, while chefs and cooks have dropped off the top 10 hardest positions to fill for the first time since the survey began.

Today's survey announcement coincides with the publication of the Manpower White Paper, Confronting the Talent Crunch: 2008, updated since its 2007 publication. The white paper highlights the growing talent shortages around the world and what businesses, governments and individuals should be doing to adapt their human resource strategies.

"There is no magic formula: employers and governments must continue to look for new ways of, recruiting, training, managing and retaining their current employees. Strategic measures to encourage older workers to stay in the workforce must be put in place, inward migration to talent-poor areas must be facilitated and those who are currently economically inactive must be encouraged to re-engage with the workforce," concluded Joerres.

Visit for a copy of the Manpower white paper.

About Manpower Inc.
Manpower is a world leader in the employment services industry; creating and delivering services that enable its clients to win in the changing world of work. Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2008, the $21 billion company offers employers a range of services for the entire employment and business cycle including permanent, temporary and contract recruitment; employee assessment and selection; training; outplacement; outsourcing and consulting. Manpower's worldwide network of 4,500 offices in 80 countries and territories enables the company to meet the needs of its 400,000 clients per year, including small and medium size enterprises in all industry sectors, as well as the world's largest multinational corporations. The focus of Manpower's work is on raising productivity through improved quality, efficiency and cost-reduction across their total workforce, enabling clients to concentrate on their core business activities. Manpower Inc. operates under five brands: Manpower, Manpower Professional, Elan, Jefferson Wells and Right Management.

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