Despite high unemployment, business still struggles finding qualified workers

Despite the layoffs and rising unemployment, I have a number of clients struggling to find qualified workers.  This doesn't come to me as any surprise since I've been writing about it since 1999 (  But it seems to be counter-intuitive to mainstream management and the media who still haven't accepted the fact that the filling seats with warm bodies is a thing of the past. 

To prove my point that even in this downturn, more job seekers doesn't solve the problem for many companies. Jus this morning, I received this request from an HR manager:

“My company has been searching for a 3rd shift Sanitation Supervisor since May of 2008 and have not been able to find qualified candidates. … I would appreciate any advice on other routes of sourcing a great candidate for this position. We have placed ads in area newspapers multiple times and have over 5 recruiters searching for us as well!”

So…here's my request.  Do you have any stories about your company (or clients) looking for key employees that they still can't find?  Are these tough-to-fill positions holding the company back?  In what ways is it costing them when the position is not filled? And what if any advice would you have for managers in the same situation?


Ira S Wolfe