IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Skills Gap vs. Skills Scarcity Hiring Challenge

Linkedin recently released an interesting Workforce Report for June 2018 providing insights into localized employment trends in 20 of the largest U.S. metro areas.  With over 149 million U.S. Linkedin profiles and over 3.0 million jobs posted on Linkedin every month, this provides access to some interesting insight into workforce trends across a very wide range of industries.

Among the many interesting trends identified, there are several VAR Staffing believes influential to the VAR & MSP community in the competitive pursuit of technical talent.

  • Nationally, across all industries, gross hiring in the U.S. was 4.5% higher in May 2018 than in May 2017.  The demand for talent continues to increase as unemployment hits record lows.
  • In the technical sector, Aerospace / Automotive / Transportation increased the most over the last 12 months, up 7.5%.  While these industries do not directly compete with the VAR / MSP community, these industries still compete for much of the same talent, and therefore have direct impact on talent availability and career options.

There always seems to be winners and losers when it comes talent availability in cities, and across many industries.   One of the more interesting ways to measure / assess hiring challenges is the difference between a “skills gap” and a “scarcity of skills”.   Skills gap can be defined as the difference between the types of skills needed in any industry or in demand in a local geographic area, and scarcity of skills meaning just not enough workers to fill the demand.  Both contribute to current day hiring challenges.

Top 10 Cities with the Largest Skills Gaps – excess demand for missing skills with the available workforce

1 – San Francisco Bay Area, CA

2 – Washington, DC

3 – Austin, TX

4 – New York City, NY

5 – Los Angeles, CA

6 – Seattle, WA

7 – Houston, TX

8 – Miami – Ft. Lauderdale, FL

9 – Raleigh-Durham, NC

10 – West Palm Beach, FL

Top 10 Cities with the Largest Scarcity of Skills – excess demand and not enough available workers

1 – San Francisco Bay Area, CA

2 – Austin, TX

3 – Washington, DC

4 – Denver, CO

5 – Seattle, WA

6 – Boston, MA

7 – Los Angeles, CA

8 – Raleigh – Durham, NC

9 – New York City, NY

10 – Charlotte, NC

Interestingly, 7 of the 13 cities listed struggle with the double whammy of both a skills gap and a scarcity of skills challenge.  In no specific order those cities are San Francisco Bay area, Washington, DC, Austin, TX, New York City, NY, Los Angeles, CA, Seattle, WA, and the Raleigh-Durham, NC area.

Our recently published e-book, Winning the War for Top Talent provides insight on 5 key components to help improve your success in hiring the right person for the right job in today’s hiring market.

But is there an answer to resolving the skills gap and skills scarcity challenge?   The Linkedin study suggested several approaches.  One approach is more reliant on city / state / and big business involvement, and the second can be more directly executed by VARs and MSPs.

Both skills gaps and skills scarcity can be narrowed by individuals or families relocating to cities where their skills are in high demand.  We have seen a lot of this type of migration where individuals or companies (such as the American Toyota headquarters relocation to Plano, TX, a city just north of Dallas) seek better employment opportunities based on skills demand, lower cost of living, better education infrastructure, state friendly business environment, or other improved employment options.

Another solution to addressing skills scarcity and skills gaps comes from companies developing internal training programs and / or mentoring programs for those skills in high demand, and also aligning employment needs with educational institutions or apprentice programs.

With our clients, VAR Staffing has consistently reinforced the need to establish more training initiatives internally, developing formal mentoring plans, and increased emphasis on paying for continuing education and certifications to improve the skillset level within VARs and MSPs.

If hiring strong technical talent is on your list of tasks to accomplish, VAR Staffing welcomes the opportunity to discuss various approaches.  Give us a call at 972-996-0966 or send Ashley an email at [email protected]



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VAR Staffing is passionate about our unique ability to proactively identify and recruit the best talent in the IT Channel community.

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