Press Release

Help Wanted, Skills Lacking: Why the Mismatch in Today's Economy?

Friday, October 19, 2012

This report is the fourth from ASTD to cover the growing importance of talent to organizational performance and the skills gap that threatens so many organizations today. The 2012 edition of Bridging the Skills Gap updates the picture with the jobs outlook in today’s recovering economy, looks at the role of training and education, and explains the need for collaboration among all sectors responsible for filling the jobs pipeline.

ASTD defines a skills gap as a significant gap between an organization’s current capabilities and the skills it needs to achieve its goals. It is the point at which an organization can no longer grow or remain competitive because it cannot fill critical jobs with employees who have the right knowledge, skills, and abilities.

On a national level, the state of employment continues to play a major role in the United States skills scene. At 8.3 percent in July 2012, the unemployment rate has gradually decreased during the past three years after hitting 10 percent in October 2009. While the number of unemployed workers remains fairly high, the number of job openings is on the rise, with 3.8 million in June 2012, compared to 3.1 million in June 2011. Despite a large pool of unemployed workers, employers continue to struggle to find skilled talent to fill the growing number of job openings in the country.


The action plan this paper gives readers a step-by-step approach to tackle this challenge within their organizations. The case studies--provided by Deltek, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, University Health System, Vistaprint, and Wells Fargo demonstrate how some organizations are creatively addressing this challenge head-on.

Thank you for your engagement on this topic. Please send me questions or comments about the paper!

About the Author

Jennifer joined ATD in 1999 to lead the Public Relations function. Jennifer continues to lead communication efforts to members and customers, the media, and public policy makers. She also leads ATD’s awards programs and governance functions. In her volunteer work, Jennifer served a two-year term on the executive board of directors for the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and was president of the IABC Washington, D.C. chapter. She holds IABC’s Accredited Business Communicator credential. Jennifer was an adjunct professor at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland where she taught Public Relations Writing in 2009.  

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