Strategic HR, Training

What is the Skills Gap Costing Your Company?

It’s one of today’s most vexing economic puzzles: Why can’t employers find workers to fill their positions when approximately 7.5 million Americans are unemployed, and millions more are working part-time because they can’t find full-time positions or have given up looking for work altogether?Skills

According to a new CareerBuilder survey, nearly 60% of U.S. employers have job openings that stay vacant for 12 weeks or longer. The average cost HR managers say they incur for having extended job vacancies is more than $800,000 annually.

CareerBuilder’s latest studies on the effects of the skills gap on the U.S. labor market were conducted online by Harris Poll from November 16 to December 6, 2016 and February 16 to March 9, 2017. These studies included representative samples of 2,391 and 2,380 employers, respectively, and 3,411 and 3,215 workers, respectively, across all industries in the private sector.

According to the survey, 68% of employers who said they were increasing their number of full-time, permanent employees in the first quarter (January 1, 2017 through March 31, 2017) currently have open positions for which they cannot find qualified candidates. This is consistent across company sizes with larger companies—which tend to have more job openings in general:

  • 1 to 50 employees: 49%
  • 51 to 250 employees: 74%
  • 251 to 500 employees: 72%
  • 501+ employees: 71%

“The gap between the number of jobs posted each month and the number of people hired is growing larger as employers struggle to find candidates to fill positions at all levels within their organizations,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder and co-author of The Talent Equation. “There’s a significant supply and demand imbalance in the marketplace, and it’s becoming nearly a million-dollar problem for companies.”

The Skills Gap Exists Across Industries

The supply/demand issue isn’t unique to one industry or certain occupational categories. The analysis below compares the number of job listings for positions to the number of hires using CareerBuilder and Emsi’s extensive labor market database, which pulls from a variety of national and state employment resources as well as online job postings.

Occupation 2016 Average Monthly Hires Avg. Unique Job Postings (Jan 2016 -Dec 2016)
Internists, General 1,588 49,466
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck


106,780 1,495,132
Marketing Managers 8,628 80,498
Information Security Analysts 3,929 32,103
Web Developers 6,955 46,950
Industrial Engineers 8,156 48,749
Demonstrators and Product


6,375 31,221
Sales Managers 17,745 65,161
Human Resources Managers 6,183 22,040
Financial Managers 23,180 53,775


Employers Acknowledge There’s a Problem to Fix

Two in three employers (67%) from the CareerBuilder survey say they are concerned about the growing skills gap, and with good reason. More than half (55%) say they have seen a negative impact on their business due to extended job vacancies with a sizable proportion of these employers pointing to productivity issues, an increase in voluntary turnover and revenue loss:

  • Productivity loss: 45%
  • Higher employee turnover: 40%
  • Lower morale: 39%
  • Lower quality work: 37%
  • Inability to grow business: 29%
  • Revenue loss: 26%

Workers Say They Are Lagging Behind

Those doing the hiring are not the only ones noticing the issue. One in five workers (20%) say their professional skills are not up to date. Fifty-seven percent of workers reported that they want to learn a new skillset to land a better-paying, more fulfilling job, but half of them said they can’t afford to do so.

For more information on this survey, visit the CareerBuilder website.