The 10 Toughest Jobs to Fill This Year

Forty percent of employers in the U.S. have job vacancies, but can’t find the skilled workers to fill them, according to the latest skills survey from staffing agency ManpowerGroup. For those of you hiding under a rock for the past half-decade, that’s what we call the skills gap. The disparity between employers’ need and workforce ability.

The survey looked at first quarter hiring against job vacancies in 2013 for more than 1,000 companies in the U.S. It found a gap persistent since the Great Recession.

“Talent is elusive, and the reason is there is a great divide between the talent available and the talent desired by employers,” ManpowerGroup Vice President Melanie Holmes told Forbes. “To put it simply, there is a talent mismatch.”

So which fields have the greatest skills gap?

1. Skilled trades
This includes carpenters, electricians, plumbers and other professions that rely on manual, mechanical or computerized tools to get the job done. These craftsmen and artisans usually train as apprentices. This marks the fourth year in a row this category has topped the ManpowerGroup list.

2. Sales representatives
The high-stress nature of sales work and its reliance on a certain sort of unfazed personality type makes this one a tough position to hire for.

3. Drivers
Another job that requires specific training and licensing. That’s why it’s tougher to get applicants who are ready to do. Employers often have to promise to help train the new hires instead of snatching up an already qualified candidate.

4. Information technology workers
The breakneck speed of technological advancements makes training for these roles a never-ending process. The right candidate needs to have knowledge of the latest greatest softwares to even be considered. 

5. Accounting and finance
Maybe it’s the dearth of finance and math majors that’s to blame, but there’s a definite lack of qualified accountants, bookkeepers and their number-crunching ilk. Accounting and finance, with its necessity for a knack for numbers and the proper certifications, isn’t a field where any old job-seeker can find a fit.

6. Engineers
Needless to say (but we will), you need a four-year degree to even be considered. That rules out a huge chunk of the unemployed right there.

7. Technicians
LIke other jobs listed here, the demands of super-specific technical training weed out the majority of those aspiring to be gainfully employed.

8. Management/executives
Well, duh. You have to have management experience. Or an advanced degree from some super impressive Ivy League. Definitely not for the faint of heart. Or the unskilled. 

9. Mechanics
As vocational school fell out of style this past generation or two, the dearth of mechanics actually became a national problem. Machinists, mechanics, those who can fiddle around with manufacturing or cars are well-paid … once they receive the proper credentials. The good news for those who don’t have a four-year degree: You can find the proper skill set at community college or vocational school, which are often markedly cheaper than four-year institutions.

10. Teachers
Well, here’s a labor of love if there ever was one. To be a teacher you not only have to go through to get your bachelor’s, you have to trudge through another couples years of internships and certifications to be considered. Unfortunately, the small salary payoff keeps a lot of people from even taking this journey. Which is why, so many teaching positions remain to be filled.

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(Photo credit: c Carpenters Now – Flickr)