TalentDrive, the creator of online resume aggregation search engine TalentFilter, recently released the results from its “Job Market Perceptions” survey. The findings uncover a widening gap between current employers’ expectations and job seekers’ actual skill sets.
The survey asked 79,000 job seekers (86 percent considered to be actively seeking employment) to assess their personal skill set and attitude toward the current job market. An overwhelmingly negative response found that 71 percent were pessimistic about their career search, feeling they possessed the required skill set but were not getting hired. Thirty-seven percent were extremely frustrated, with no hope for improvement in sight and 34 percent unhappy with the environment, but starting to see signs of improvement.
TalentDrive then turned this question on employers, asking if they had noticed a change in the quality of candidates since the recession’s start. Surprisingly 42 percent of employers indicated that the recession had not only increased the quantity of candidates, but in fact they are finding more qualified candidates than in years past. How then are so many job seekers feeling discouraged? Why if employers are feeling content, actually better than in years past with the candidates they interview, are there so many job seekers out of work?
TalentDrive considered the possibly that these job seekers are simply not getting interviews. Surprisingly, 73 percent of those surveyed have had five or more interviews per month since beginning their job search. Seventy-five percent of these job seekers have not received a single job offer. The survey went on to investigate why these candidates were not being offered positions.
Specialized vs. Broad Skill Set
When the hiring managers were asked if their open positions required a “specialized professional” or “broad skill set,” 71 percent reported that more than half of their open positions were “specialized.” Did these job seekers not have the qualifications required? Indeed, 61 percent of respondents consider themselves to be a “professional with a broad skill set”, opposed to specialized in their field.
Within the past two years, many companies have been forced to make heavy cut-backs caused by the recession, rendering many “broad skill-set” professionals unemployed. “Specialized” employees with unique skill sets are harder and more expensive to replace, increasing their value to employers.
This gap points to a disconnect between what employers are looking for and who is applying for open positions. The majority (53 percent) of employers report that less than half of their offers have been turned down, but that 69 percent are management level positions, requiring specialized skills. The picture painted by these results is optimistic for employers, showing increased hiring and quality talent pools, coupled with extremely dissatisfied and discouraged job seekers that have gone on multiple interviews with few results. “Generalists” will need to be nimble, turning unemployment to their advantage through certification, continued education and enhanced skill sets.
Where Are Employers Looking?
The second section of the survey drilled down to see how employers were finding candidates. Were candidates putting themselves in the right places for employers to find them and vice versa? Finally, the two groups were in agreement.
Online sources led the pack for both job seekers and employers. Seventy-four percent of job seekers said the most beneficial job search method was posting a resume on job boards followed by 27 percent utilizing social media, surpassing more traditional methods including classified ads, professional recruiters and networking events. Twenty-seven percent of employers agree, with the highest response for most effective search method being social networks, followed by resume sourcing technologies.
“It is apparent that the hiring environment has shifted over the past few years; this report is a testament to the extent of that change. The jobs are out there but this disconnect between what employers are seeking and the skill sets of job seekers is fuel for the fire. The road ahead is still bumpy, but understanding both sides of the story will help job seekers and employers move forward and achieve desired results in the hiring process,” said Sean Bisceglia, CEO of TalentDrive.
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