Finding Employees with the Right Skills

By Lon Matejczyk

Is a skills shortage making it tough for you to find the employees?

In a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Nick Schulz of the American Enterprise Institute notes that more than 600,000 jobs in manufacturing went unfilled in 2011 due to a skills shortage.

This isn’t as much about finding people with science, technology, engineering and math degrees. Instead, Schulz says “considerable evidence suggests that many employers would be happy just to find job applicants who have the sort of ‘soft’ skills that used to be almost taken for granted.”

A Manpower Group survey found that nearly 20% of employers cited a lack of soft skills as a key reason they could not hire needed employees.

What, exactly, are we talking about?

“Interpersonal skills and enthusiasm/motivation” were among the most commonly identified soft skills that employers found lacking, as well as professionalism and a lack of elementary command of the English language. 

More than half of the organizations that took part in another survey reported that simple grammar and spelling were the top “basic” skills among older workers that are not readily present among younger workers.

Are you running into this problem? How bad is it? Let us know. 

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.