Finding the right talent is an issue for 59% of employers worldwide

Worldwide, organisations are facing a one-two punch: Workers are more likely to walk out the door. And employers are having difficulties finding qualified candidates to fill vacancies. The result: A workforce riddled with employees whose skills don’t match the requirements of their jobs.

Randstad, which gathered input from more than 12,000 full- and part-time workers during the summer, reports that more workers think they’ll be working for a different employer within six months of taking the survey. In the past two years, Randstad’s mobility index, which measures just that, reached its highest point – 107 – in the third quarter 2012. The human resources consultant also found that 59% of workers said their employers were having a difficult time finding the right person to fill some job openings, according to research by Randstad. The research expands on a geographic data-based skills gap study that Randstad released earlier this year. The data-based research found that in Europe and the US three of five jobs were matched correctly to the skills of the workers.

The ebbs and flows of business cycles are a big part of the imbalance. When jobs are scarce, candidates often fill jobs for which they’re overqualified. When times are good, employers have to compete for top talent and sometimes end up settling for someone who is less than qualified. Other drivers include advances in technology, educational choices that don’t address skills needed in the future, and a basic lack of information about job openings or candidates, according to Randstad.

“Between now and 2020 the skills that employers demand for the production of goods and services will change,” researchers wrote in Randstad’s Into the Gap study. “On the supply side of the labor market, retiring workers will leave their jobs taking their experience and skills with them. Young workers will enter the labor market with new skills acquired in school. It is to be expected that the skills demanded by firms and supplied by workers in the labor market between now and 2020 will not always be equal, and qualitative mismatches will occur.”

Forty-six per cent of US respondents considered themselves overqualified, and 14% believed they were underqualified for the job. Forty-two per cent considered many of their colleagues overqualified, and 39% considered many of their colleagues underqualified for the job.

Randstad’s research echoes the themes of other recent studies on the skills gap.

  • The American Institute of CPAs’ Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey for the second quarter of 2012 demonstrated the recruitment difficulties that management accountants are facing. Half of the 1,250 respondents said they have had difficulty filling open positions because their organisations haven’t been able to find individuals with the appropriate qualifications.

  • Forty-three per cent of respondents to the 2012 PwC Global CEO survey said that talent-related expenses rose more than expected. In addition, 29% of CEOs said they were unable to pursue a market opportunity because of talent constraints.

  • A recent World Economic Forum report said there is a worldwide talent shortage with 10 million manufacturing jobs unfilled across the globe.

Geographical differences

Randstad Workmonitor survey, which compiled sentiments from more than 12,000 full- and part-time workers between the ages of 18 and 65, showed vast country-to-country differences in mobility and talent acquisition.

Seventy-one per cent of employers in Brazil had difficulty finding talent. Ditto for several Asian countries: India (74%), Hong Kong (72%) and Malaysia (69%) had the biggest problems finding talent. Employers in European countries such as Denmark (44%), Hungary (46%) and Spain (39%) had the least problems. In the US 60% of employers had trouble finding talent.

Randstad’s worker mobility index, meanwhile, increased 11 points in Hong Kong, ten points in New Zealand, seven points in Turkey and five points in Argentina and Brazil. In Poland it dropped six points.

According to Randstad:

  • Chinese employees were among the least satisfied survey participants and among the ones most focused on getting promoted. Eighty-four per cent, nearly twice the global average, said they were overqualified for the job, and 65% said they had colleagues who were not qualified enough for their jobs, which was also above average. Seventy-two per cent expected staff shortages within three years.

  • Turkish employees in the third quarter grew more confident that they would change jobs in the next six months than survey participants from most other countries. Also, their fear of job loss was up and their job satisfaction down compared with the second quarter. Seventy-eight per cent felt overqualified for their jobs compared to the global average of 47%. More than half of the participants said their employers had trouble finding the right talent (67%), particularly highly qualified workers.

  • Japanese employees were the least satisfied (38%) and the least confident in being able to find a comparable job (33%). They were also the least focused on getting a promotion. Sixty-nine per cent said they had colleagues working in jobs either above their qualifications or below their qualifications. Only 40% of participants, fewer than the global average, thought their employers invested enough in employee training or offered sufficient career choices.

  • Indian employees were the most satisfied survey participants. Sixty-four percent expected staff shortages within three years, and 74% said their employers had difficulty finding the right talent. Especially highly qualified workers seemed to be in short supply (65%). Indian employees had grown more confident in the third quarter that they would switch jobs in the next six months. They were also among the most focused on getting a promotion (90%).

  • Mexican employees were the most keen on getting a promotion (91%). Seventy-six per cent of them said they were overqualified for their jobs. The number of Mexican employees actively looking for a job rose 6% from the second quarter.

Related CGMA content:

Study Finds Early Warning Signs for a Looming Global Talent Imbalance”: Companies are overhauling their business strategies to adjust to the rise of emerging markets, new research shows. But demographic trends will add new challenges over the next five to ten years, specifically in talent management.

Employers Can’t Afford to Let Worker Retention Practices Lapse”: Four in five employees in a recent survey indicate they plan to remain with their current employers, but statistics show that when unemployment decreases, voluntary job turnover increases. Many organisations have been reporting trouble finding skilled workers, so employers who neglect retention practices do so at their own risk.

Employers Worry About Top Employees Taking Their Talent Elsewhere”: As the economy improves, and the competition for top-notch talent increases, employers are expressing concern about retaining that talent – and the cost of losing and replacing talent, a survey shows. Employers think that retention strategies help limit losses.

Sabine Vollmer ( is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.