How HR professionals are affected by talent shortage

Skills shortage has become a major concern lately across all industries. As the economy grows, many companies around the world are eager to expand and add more positions to their workforce. However, with an increasing number of job openings, talented workers are hard to find.

For example, constant growth in the private sector has caused talent to become scarcer than jobs in other sectors, which is a major contradiction to the recession of 2007 through 2009. So now, organizations are struggling to complete their hiring plans and as research shows, this global talent shortage has reached its highest in the last couple of years.

It’s clear that without a plan to address this problem, companies are at a risk of going out of business. As a result, more and more companies are dedicating an entire department to workforce planning and HR plays a vital role here.

Talent shortage today

Industries all over the spectrum are experiencing talent shortage. To start with, there are traditional trades that are lacking the necessary workforce. Jobs that took the longest to fill are tired repairers, electrical repairers, power dispatchers, pile-driver operators as well as tax preparers and vocational education teachers, as Fast Company research results show.

The tech industry hasn’t avoided this pitfall, either. Even here, the hiring challenges are starting to hurt the industry. Certain fields of technology have experienced such an enormous growth that there hasn’t been time to train and educate the new skilled workforce.

In Netherlands, tech companies are facing major challenges in hiring experts even though the Dutch tech scene is one of the most vibrant ones in Europe and they are among best non-native English speakers. With all the favorable conditions for investors and entrepreneurs, such as strong economic

foundations in industry and commerce, a great taxes, and strong international travel infrastructure, still over fifth vacancies in IT sector remained unfulfilled.

Although the gap between employer demand and job seeker interest has generally been decreasing over the past couple of years, the number of tech job postings is still far greater than job seeker interest.

Healthcare industry is also experiencing major talent shortage, especially with nurses and care workers. As the global population ages, this shortage will become even more recognizable.  Both the United States and the UK, are already struggling to fill these positions and the discrepancy will continue to grow in the next 5 to 10 years, with the existing workforce retiring leaving a vacuum behind.

What can be done?

Handling the reality of talent shortage isn’t an easy task but there are ways and strategies that can help companies face these problems and stay afloat.

Expand your search

In examining candidates’ applications, you should look beyond the ticked-off boxes. Since there are no perfect candidates to be found, those imperfect ones start looking much better. This does mean you will have to be open-minded and progressive and invest in additional training and re-training, as many companies are doing nowadays to get the workforce they need.

Expand your search

Challenging times call for creative and imaginative measures. If traditional methods don’t work, you go alternative. This can include referrals, retirees or veterans, and hire through social media that can bring maybe not perfectly suited candidates, but surely ones with experience and positive attitude.

Internal training and mentoring

Another effective way to deal with the problem is to turn inwards – to your current employees.  Rather than having to hire new workers, an employee in your own business – when given proper training – can be even better suited for the vacant position.

By offering employees IT and software courses, companies can effectively streamline their processes, reduce the need to hire externally which is costly and time-consuming.

Developing external contacts

When there’s a talent shortage and it’s challenging to find skilled and experienced workers, companies can benefit from forming partnerships with external organizations that work with aspiring professionals. One great example is partnering up with educational institutions. It’s a smart future investment for companies to offer student training and internship as it will produce graduates with the desired skills set and interest for work in the organization. Also, in highly competitive hiring environment, this can be an invaluable strategic partnership.

Be cautious with flexibility

Naturally, companies need to be cautious not to become too flexible when choosing potential employees. A great example of this comes from the US, more precisely, the health care industry. There is a new law that HR people in home care must take into account when hiring the new workforce. Specifically, California surety bonds requirements started including home care organizations in 2016 stating that all of their aides have to be checked beforehand.

It would surely hurt your business relationship with one such organization if one of their candidates turned out to have something suspicious in their background.

Promote company culture

Many companies have fallen into a trap thinking that only salary increase would be enough to attract job applicants. While this strategy may have worked in some organizations, there are other, more effective ways to attract talented workers. One of them is to promote company culture focusing on work-life balance.

Promote company culture

This is one of the major concerns of modern-day workers and it ranks high on their priority list. Businesses that offer flexible working hours, telecommuting options, paid family or maternity leave or any other benefits, are sure to be more attractive to talented applicants than those simply offering high salaries.

Use Tech

Of course, another great thing for HR professionals of the modern age is all the technology that is made available by various companies from around the world. It makes it easier and simpler for HR professionals to focus on the important stuff while leaving the boring paperwork part of HR to software.

It goes without saying that a presence such as HR Tech Conscience also plays a huge role in this part of the Modern HR.


It’s obvious that HR managers have difficult work cut out for them when it comes to recruiting and hiring in a competitive market. It’s important to stay alerted and be proactive, keep an eye out for new ways to attract talent, look out for smart solutions, make the most of what you already have and bear in mind that trends change so be adjustable.


This article has been written by James D. Burbank, who has spent almost 20 years working with companies of various sizes around the world. He has seen them do their HR in all kinds of ways. He is the editor in chief of BizzMarkBlog.

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