Misery loves company when it comes to recruiting

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Lois A. Bowers
Lois A. Bowers

A recent survey by the Society for Human Resources Management found that the health and social assistance and manufacturing industries were the two reporting the highest levels of difficulty in recruiting new employees.

That finding most likely will not surprise anyone in aging services, but perhaps there is a strange comfort — if that's the correct word — in knowing that the senior living industry is not alone in its challenges.

The society sent its survey to 27,000 randomly selected members and received 3,314 responses. HR professionals in seven other industries — accommodation and food services, retail/wholesale trade; construction, mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction; educational services; finance, insurance, real estate and rental and leasing; government agencies; high-tech; and professional, scientific and technical services — also participated, and 68% of all respondents reported challenging recruiting conditions in the current employment market.

Half of the poll-takers cited factors such as a low number of applicants (51%), lack of the needed work experience among candidates (50%) and competition from other employers (49%) as reasons for difficulty finding candidates for their open positions. Other reasons included the local market not producing enough qualified candidates and candidates' lack of technical skills.

The HR professionals identified the top basic skills shortages as writing in English, basic computer skills, spoken English language, reading comprehension and mathematics. The applied skills shortages most commonly reported included critical thinking/problem-solving, professionalism/work ethic, leadership, written communications and teamwork/collaboration.

The challenge is one that those working in all industries are eager to address, and older adults may be the solution to the issue in senior-focused and other industries, according to the SHRM. Organizations that continue to engage the mature members of their workforces and retain them beyond the common retirement age will be at an advantage, the society suggests.

Lois A. Bowers is senior editor of McKnight's Senior Living. Follow her on Twitter at @Lois_Bowers.

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