Thought leadership

The growing deficit of skilled labour needed to fill in-demand jobs is causing a drag on employers across the globe. A significant number of employers in the ten largest world economies said that extended job vacancies have resulted in lower revenue and productivity and the inability to grow their businesses. 

Employers in China were the most likely to report having open positions they cannot fill and its corresponding negative effects on their performance.  Russia houses the largest percentage of employers reporting a revenue shortfall tied to extended job vacancies while the U.S. is among those most likely to report a productivity loss.  Japan ranked high among those who said the inability to find skilled talent has impeded expansion of their businesses.

The global survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive© from November 1 to November 30, 2012 for CareerBuilder included more than 6,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals in countries with the largest gross domestic product. 

UK highlights include:

  • Four in ten UK employers experiencing a shortage of skilled labour with in their organization

  • 34% of UK employers report their top performers left their company in 2012

  • Nearly half of UK employers plan to train workers who don’t have experience in their particular industry/field for positions and hire them within their company this year.

“The inability to fill high skill jobs can have an adverse ripple effect, hindering the creation of lower-skilled positions, company performance and economic expansion,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder.  “Major world economies are feeling the effects of this in technology, healthcare, production and other key areas.  The study underlines how critical it is for the government, private sector and educational institutions to work together to prepare and reskill workers for opportunities that can help move the needle on employment and economic growth.”

Percentage of companies that have open positions they can’t fill

Employers in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) were the most likely to report challenges in recruiting high skill labor with more than half of employers stating they currently have positions for which they can’t find qualified candidates.  These same markets are also hiring at a more accelerated rate, containing the highest percentages of employers planning to add full-time, permanent staff in 2013 (see CareerBuilder’s Global Job Forecast).

  • China – 74 percent

  • Brazil – 63 percent

  • Russia – 57 percent

  • India – 53 percent

  • Germany – 31 percent

  • Japan – 29 percent

  • U.S. – 28 percent

  • France – 26 percent

  • U.K – 23 percent

  • Italy – 18 percent


Negative impact of positions that stay open too long

A large percentage of employers in the top ten economies stated their companies have experienced negative implications from extended job vacancies, citing less effective business performance, lower quality work, lower morale and higher employee turnover.  Following the BRIC countries, employers in Italy and France were the most likely to report this.

  • China – 81 percent

  • Brazil – 74 percent

  • Russia – 74 percent

  • India – 69 percent

  • Italy – 55 percent

  • France – 47 percent

  • U.K. – 41 percent

  • Japan – 40 percent

  • Germany – 39 percent

  • U.S. – 38 percent


Of employers who have felt a detrimental impact from extended vacancies, the following reported suffering a loss in productivity and revenue and stagnant business growth.        


Loss of Productivity

  • China – 65 percent

  • U.S. – 41 percent

  • Russia – 40 percent

  • Brazil – 39 percent

  • U.K. – 33 percent

  • India – 32 percent

  • Germany – 31 percent

  • Italy – 31 percent

  • Japan – 30 percent

  • France – 21 percent


Loss of Revenue

  • Russia – 29 percent

  • China – 26 percent

  • Japan – 26 percent

  • Germany – 24 percent

  • India – 22 percent

  • U.S. – 21 percent

  • Italy – 19 percent

  • France – 17 percent

  • U.K. – 16 percent

  • Brazil – 15 percent


Inability to grow their business

  • China – 33 percent

  • Japan – 25 percent

  • France – 24 percent

  • U.S. – 22 percent

  • U.K. – 22 percent

  • India – 21 percent

  • Germany – 21 percent

  • Italy – 21 percent

  • Russia – 20 percent

  • Brazil – 19 percent


Hardest to fill positions for skilled labour

Not surprising, technical fields – namely Information Technology and Engineering – dominated the areas where employers said they are having the most difficulty recruiting skilled talent.  There were notable challenges in recruiting for high end sales positions in the U.S. and Europe, and recruiting for Research & Development jobs in India, China and Japan.

  • U.S. – Information Technology, Sales and Engineering

  • U.K. – Engineering, Information Technology and Customer Service

  • France – Production, Sales and Customer Service

  • Germany – Information Technology, Engineering and Sales

  • Italy – Production, Creative/Design and Sales

  • Russia – Engineering, Production and Information Technology

  • India – Research & Development, Information Technology and Marketing

  • China – Research & Development, Creative/Design and Engineering

  • Japan – Engineering, Information Technology and Research & Development

  • Brazil – Information Technology, Production and Customer Service


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