New SHRM Survey Shows Employers Facing Increased Recruiting Challenges

Author: David B. Weisenfeld, XpertHR Legal Editor

June 21, 2016

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) released a report today at its annual conference showing that many employers are facing increased difficulties in finding qualified applicants. The survey of more than 3,300 HR professionals revealed that 68% say their organization has had trouble recruiting in the current job market for a variety of reasons.

The survey's author, Jen Schramm, manager of SHRM's workforce trends and forecasting program, said, "HR professionals from all industries report a highly competitive market for talent, with recruiting difficulty reaching levels not seen in years."

Schramm noted that HR professionals cited a number of factors to explain the increased recruiting difficulty, including:

  • Lack of necessary work experience (50%);
  • Competition from other employers (49%);
  • Lack of technical skills among applicants (38%); and
  • The local market not producing enough qualified candidates (38%).

The health, social assistance and manufacturing industries report the highest levels of recruiting difficulty. For instance, the survey showed 46% of respondents indicating that the hardest to recruit positions are in the high-skilled medical job categories.

Meanwhile, smaller organizations (those with less than 100 employees) reported the most difficulty in filling full-time manager and skilled trade positions.

So what are HR professionals doing to address their recruiting challenges? Schramm said leveraging social media has been the most common strategy, but not the most effective. Instead, she explained that training existing employees to take on hard-to-fill roles has proven most successful for large organizations.

The findings led Schramm to conclude, "HR professionals will need to gather information and data to build a business case for greater investments in securing talent." She also cited the need for increased training budgets.

However, 50% of those surveyed said their training budgets had remained unchanged during the last 12 months, and nearly one-third reported that they are working without a training budget at all.