U.S. Talent Shortage: Top Ten Jobs Employers Have Difficulty Filling

Posted By Terri Williams on June 15, 2015 at 9:25 am
U.S. Talent Shortage: Top Ten Jobs Employers Have Difficulty Filling

If you’re still trying to choose a college major, you might want to consider pursuing a degree that can lead to a job on the “critical shortage list.” According to the 2015 Talent Shortage Survey, conducted by Manpower, some jobs are a lot harder to fill than others. Manpower surveyed over 41,700 hiring managers in 42 countries. However, this article will only include the results for the United States.

The top 10 jobs employers are having difficulty filling are as follows:

1. Skilled trade workers (especially chefs/bakers/butchers, mechanics and electricians)

2. Drivers (especially truck/heavy goods, delivery/courier and construction drivers)

3. Teachers

4. Sales representatives 

5. Secretaries, personal assistants, administrative assistants, and office support staff

6. Management (executive management/corporate)

7. Nurses

8. Technicians

9. Accounting and finance staff (especially financial analysts, certified accountants, and bookkeepers)

10. Engineers (especially mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering)

The reasons for these talent shortages vary, although the scarcity of qualified candidates seems to be the primary factor:

Lack of available applicants 34%
Lack of technical competencies (hard skills) 24%
Lack of experience 22%
Looking for more pay than is offered 12%
Lack of workplace competencies (soft skills) 11%
Lack of applicants willing to work in part-time contingent roles 5%
Undesirable geographic destination 4%
Poor image of company/business sector/occupation 2%
Overqualified applicants 2%
Reluctance to relocate 1%
Reluctance to change jobs in current economic climate 1%


Educational requirements and pay

If you’re interesting in pursuing a critical-shortage job, below are the educational requirements and median annual pay estimates according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Skilled trade workers: Many skilled trades don’t require a college degree, although some employers prefer to hire chefs who graduated from a community college, tech school or culinary school. Some also prefer electricians to have a degree from a technical school. Salaries for skilled trade workers can range from $20,000 for chefs to $49,840 for electricians.

Drivers: Delivery drivers usually don’t need a postsecondary education; heavy truck drivers typically attend a truck-driving school or a community college for 3 to 6 months. Salaries usually range from $27,530 for delivery drivers to $38,200 for heavy truck drivers.

Teachers: Kindergarten, elementary, middle school, and high school teachers need at least a bachelor’s degree, although some states also require them to earn a master’s degree. Salaries range from $53,090 for kindergarten and elementary school teachers to $55,050 for high school teachers.

Sales representatives: Many sales representatives only need a high school diploma. However, those selling technical or scientific products usually need a bachelor’s degree in a field related to the product (chemistry, biology, etc.). Retail sales workers earn $21,410, and wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives earn $57,870.

Secretaries, personal assistants, administrative assistants, and office support staff:  Requirements vary by employer. Postsecondary education may not be required for personal assistants and office support staff; however, some medical, legal, and executive secretaries may need a formal education. Salaries range from $31,510 for office and administrative support occupations to $47,500 for executive secretaries.

Management: Executive managers may include Chief Executive Officers (executive directors, presidents, vice presidents), mayors, city managers, school superintendents, and college or university presidents. They typically need at least a bachelor’s degree and many have an MBA, MPA, or related graduate degree. These top executives earn $101,650.

Nurses: Licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses need a certificate from a one-year program and earn $41,540. Registered nurses can choose one of three educational options: a certificate from a nursing program, an associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree. However, many employers prefer a bachelor’s degree. Registered nurses earn $65,470.

Technicians: Various types of technicians are currently in demand. Diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technicians usually have a postsecondary certificate or associate degree and earn $65,860 and $52,070, respectively. Pharmacy technicians need a high school diploma, although some states also require them to pass an exam. They make $29,320. Veterinary technicians need an associate degree and earn $30,290. Medical records technicians usually have a postsecondary certificate and make $34,160.

Accounting and Finance Staff: Financial analysts need a bachelor’s degree and earn $76,950. The minimum requirement for accountants is also a bachelor’s degree, and they make $63,550. Bookkeepers usually need a high school diploma and earn $35,170.

Engineers: Engineers need a bachelor’s degree in their specialty area. Among the critical areas, mechanical engineers earn $80,580, civil engineers make $79,340, and electrical engineers earn $87,920.

Terri Williams
Terri Williams graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her education, career, and business articles have been featured on Yahoo! Education, U.S. News & World Report, The Houston Chronicle, and in the print edition of USA Today Special Edition. Terri is also a contributing author to "A Practical Guide to Digital Journalism Ethics," a book published by the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago.

You May Also Like