A looming talent shortage

After so many years of slow growth, it’s hard to believe, but many employers are reporting having an increasingly tough time finding the right job candidates.

It’s no surprise, really.

Rising quit rates and fewer job seekers vying for open positions hint at a return to the types of labor shortages that employers saw during the dot.com boom. 

The global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas says that while widespread talent shortages are probably five to 10 years away, some regions and industries already may be feeling the pinch.

“With 11.6 million Americans still unemployed as of April, it may be difficult for most to contemplate labor shortages. However, it is important to note that not all of the unemployed reside where jobs are being created at the fastest rate and many lack the skills required to fill the openings that exist,” said John A. Challenger, the CEO of the firm.

The problem is only going to get worse.

As the economy continues to improve and more people find employment, labor shortages could become commonplace. Retiring Baby Boomers also are expected to fuel this trend.

In fact, it’s already become a real headache for employers in some part of the country.

For example, we read the other day that, to hire 10 to 15 project coordinators this year, Sabre Commercial Inc. has boosted pay 10 percent and added a 401(k) retirement plan.

“It is an employee’s market,” John Cyrier, co- founder and president of the 48-employee Austin, Texas-based builder, was quoted saying. “We are definitely seeing a labor shortage in Austin and central Texas. I see it only getting worse.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc., said these spot labor shortage will no doubt broaden over the next year as the job market steadily improves.

About the Author


Will Temby

Will has enjoyed a 20-year career in leadership positions in the hospitality and travel industry throughout the U.S. with the Hyatt, Sheraton, Hilton, Renaissance and Steamboat Ski and Resort corporations. Will received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. From 2000-2007, he served as President and CEO of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. He also served as Vice President-Special Projects for the University of Colorado Foundation from 2007 to 2009. Will is a past Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Homeland Defense Foundation and former member of the United States Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. He is married to Nan, has five wonderful children, and enjoys coaching, traveling, hiking, golfing and skiing.