Melville, NY (September 30, 2013) – Ninety-two percent of senior executives in the U.S. acknowledge there is a serious gap in workforce skills, according to the State of the Economy and Employment Survey from Adecco Staffing US. Yet, for all the traditional talk about a skills gap in technical and computer skills, 44 percent of respondents cited soft skills, such as communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration, as the area with the biggest gap. In fact, only 22 percent cited a lack of technical skills as the culprit for the U.S. skills gap – with leadership (14 percent), and computer skills (12 percent) following behind. When it does come to the gap in computer skills, Gen X executives – more than any other generation surveyed – are most likely (21 percent) to believe this is the skill that most seriously affects the U.S. workforce.
As for business implications related to the U.S. gap in skills, the survey found that the majority (64 percent) of senior executives who believe there is a skills gap feel the greatest threat to U.S. businesses is investment going to companies abroad instead of staying in U.S. – 34 percent believe the U.S. gap in skills poses a threat to businesses R&D capabilities.
“It’s interesting to see how the definition of the skills gap has evolved from being so heavily focused on technical and computer skills to ‘soft’ skills related to communication and creativity,” said Janette Marx, Senior Vice President at Adecco Staffing US. “Educational institutions may overlook these elements in today’s digital age, but schools must integrate both hard and soft skill sets into their curriculums, which in turn will help better prepare candidates and strengthen our country’s workforce.”
Other findings include:
- U.S education system needs to better prepare future generation of workers. According to the survey, more than half (59 percent) of respondents do not believe colleges and universities in the U.S. offer curriculums that adequately prepare students for today’s workforce.
- Apprentice/training programs could be a solution. Among those respondents who said there is a skills gap in the U.S. workforce, 89 percent believe corporate apprenticeships or training programs could help alleviate the problem. Yet, 42 percent said the greatest barrier to creating in-house training programs is the cost of development.
- Manufacturing suffering most from skills gap. Of those who believe there is a skills gap in the U.S, 30 percent said it most affects the manufacturing industry. Other industries cited included technology (21 percent) and professional and business services (19 percent).
Interestingly, as dire as the need is for skilled workers in the U.S., senior executives did not feel the skills gap poses a direct threat to the U.S. economy – only 13 percent cited it as a major concern. Instead federal spending (24 percent), global competition (22 percent) and high unemployment (20 percent) were called out as what they feel are the greatest threats to the U.S. economy.
“Although there many issues affecting our economy, the gap in skills in the U.S. workforce remains important and should be properly addressed so that it doesn’t do irreparable harm to our overall workforce,” said Marx. “We must look to develop employees that have a solid combination of the hard and soft skills that are necessary to succeed today and in the future.”
To view the findings in full, please click here.
Adecco conducted a survey of 500 senior executives – Vice President and above – across a variety of industries within the United States. This telephone survey was fielded by Braun Research from August 15-23, 2013 and the results have a margin of error +/- 4.4% for this sample size.
About Adecco Staffing US
Adecco Staffing US is the nation’s leading provider of recruitment and workforce solutions. It is the pre-eminent workforce management partner for Fortune 500 companies and career advisement expert for American workers, serving all of the key industries and professions that drive the US economy forward. Adecco has more than 900 career centers and, on any given day, connects 70,000 talented workers to the best job opportunities across the country, making them one of America’s largest employers. Visit http://www.adeccousa.com for more information.
About Adecco Group North America:
Every day we provide our clients with the talent they need, and help solve the business challenges they face today – and will encounter tomorrow. Our clients rely on us for a wide range of workforce solutions including:
- Contingent staffing and direct hire recruitment for large enterprise organizations across all skill sets
- Workforce solutions and consulting including Managed Services Programs (MSP) & Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)
- Career transition and leadership consulting
- Specialty staffing, project solutions and consulting services