The Disconnect Between Leadership and HR

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According to a recent survey by ManPower Group, there seems to be a troubling disconnect between leadership and HR.

The survey states that 39% of US employers are struggling to find staff with the right skills – a number that’s actually 10% lower than 2012, but still very very high. The top 10 hardest jobs to fill, according to Manpower, are:

  1. Skilled trades
  2. Sales representatives
  3. Drivers
  4. IT staff
  5. Accounting and Finance staff
  6. Engineers
  7. Technicians
  8. Management/executives
  9. Mechanics
  10. Teachers

Keeping an Eye on HR LeadershipContrast these needs with a report from Gallup Chairman, Jim Clifton, stating that unemployment will not improve in 2014 – in fact, it will get worse.

There’s a disconnect between the number of unemployed, and the needs of the employer.

The employers have roles that need to be filled. Yet the job market continues to decline. Why?

Gallup describes it like this:

“No confidence, no startups, no growth, no jobs…These data are simply the quantification of an American free-enterprise engine that desperately needs fuel. Too many businesses have lost their free-enterprise spirit, and subsequently their ability to take risks.”

For HR professionals, there is a leadership disconnect that is driving these statistics. Amidst uncertainty regarding healthcare, and trillions of investment dollars remaining “on the sidelines”, employees are looking for leadership that won’t recreate the past.

Many of my clients are “once bitten, twice shy” when it comes to employment in the corporate arena. Talented technicians, engineers and management executives are not interested in pouring their heart and soul into an opportunity, only to be rewarded with a pink slip.

Now the business requirements have changed, but the message (for potential employees) remains the same. Hiring on with a company has become a risky business, indeed.

Leadership is difficult in the face of uncertainty. And so is effective hiring.

Until a significant shift in confidence and new prospects happens, Mr. Gallup’s projection remains an inconvenient truth. And business leaders will continue to be frustrated, when they turn to HR to find the talent that businesses need.

What’s the leadership strategy that can overcome these current market conditions? And, how can HR professionals find the leadership needed, especially for filling the 10 most difficult roles?

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