Why Employers Are Struggling to Fill 5.8 Million Open Jobs

The number of job openings is at a record high, but some of these positions are likely to go unfilled for a while. Find out why.

There were 5.8 million jobs up for grabs as of the end of July — a record high, according to the latest numbers from the federal government, which were released this week.

The number of job openings has not been this great since the U.S. Department of Labor started tracking them in 2000. The previous high, 5.4 million job openings, was recorded in May. This might sound like good news, and it is — but there is a negative aspect as well, CNN Money reports.

The good news, some economists say, is that the increased number of open positions means employers are doing more hiring, which indicates that the jobs market and the economy as a whole are improving. (After all, the jobless rate also broke a record in July, reaching a new low.)

The bad news, CNN reports, is that the growing number of open positions also means employers are struggling to fill certain jobs or to find qualified people who can do the work.

For example, Harvard Business School professor Joseph Fuller tells CNN that 65 percent of job postings for executive secretaries or administrative assistants require a college degree. Yet, only 19 percent of current executive secretaries have college degrees:

“Employers want ready-now people. As you get to the type of labor market where we’re in now, that’s not going to be available in a lot of these jobs.”

The lack of job skills often is related to a lack of technical training, according to CNN:

Some Americans choose to go to a 4-year college when they might be better suited for a career as an electrician or plumber, experts say.

To learn more about which positions are hardest for companies to fill, check out “The 10 Jobs Employers Struggle to Fill.”

Would you go back to school to learn the skills necessary to compete for these jobs? Sound off in our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth and post questions and get answers.

Stacy Johnson

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