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Manpower Inc. Annual Survey Reveals Talent Shortages Continue Despite Current Economic Environment

30% of Employers Worldwide Struggling to Find Qualified Job Candidates

Skilled Trades People, Sales Representatives, and Technicians Most In-Demand Globally

May 28, 2009

Manpower Inc. (NYSE: MAN) today released the results of its fourth annual talent shortage survey, revealing that 30 percent of employers across the globe continue to struggle to fill positions available despite the global economic downturn.


According to Manpower's 2009 Talent Shortage Survey, the top five positions employers are having most trouble filling globally remain unchanged from 2008: skilled manual trades people, sales representatives, technicians (technical workers in the areas of production/operations, engineering and maintenance), engineers and management/executives. Manpower surveyed nearly 39,000 employers across 33 countries and territories to gauge employers' ability to find the talent they need.

"Despite high levels of unemployment in many markets, this year's talent survey suggests a mismatch between the type of individuals available for work and the specific skills that employers are looking for," said Jeffrey A. Joerres, Chairman and CEO of Manpower Inc. "In an environment where companies are pressured to shift their mindset to think more strategically and creatively about how to do more with less, the same approach is being applied to how they manage their talent. Employers are looking for ways to accelerate their business strategy with fewer people. It's this specificity of skills required in the individuals that employers are now seeking that is creating a sense of talent shortage amidst an overabundant pool of available workers. This conundrum is frustrating both employers and individuals."

The top 10 jobs that employers are having difficulty filling across the 33 countries and territories in 2009 compared to 2008 are (ranked in order):

  2009 Hot Jobs                          2008 Hot Jobs
  1.  Skilled Manual Trades              1.  Skilled Manual Trades
  2.  Sales Representatives              2.  Sales Representatives
  3.  Technicians                        3.  Technicians
  4.  Engineers                          4.  Engineers
  5.  Management/Executives              5.  Management/Executives
  6.  Accounting & Finance Staff         6.  Laborers
  7.  Laborers                           7.  Administrative Assistants / PAs
  8.  Production Operators               8.  Drivers
  9.  Administrative Assistants / PAs    9.  Accounting & Finance Staff
  10. Drivers                            10. IT Staff

The complete results of Manpower's global talent shortage survey can be downloaded at

"The current economic downturn is masking mega trends such as demographic shifts and underlying talent shortages that are impacting the way companies and individuals view work around the world. Talent management strategies are no longer a one size fits all," said Joerres. "Through our career management business services at Right Management, we are finding that today's workforce strategy is being managed by legacy mindsets and leadership philosophies. Employers need to revisit their talent assessment process to focus on leadership qualities, as possessing the technical or functional skill sets for a job is the price of admission; but to be successful in a given role, it's the individuals that also have a flexible and collaborative mindset to work across countries and cultures that get the job.

"The importance of an organization's employer brand will become more critical as companies continue to adjust and align their workforce to prepare for the next cycle," added Joerres. "As the talent crunch worsens, training and development will be key for employers to keep and upskill the talent that they have. This downturn signifies how an agile workforce strategy is required to attract and retain the talent that a company needs in order to achieve its business strategy."

According to the Global Talent Crunch - Why Employer Branding Matters Now, paper also released by Manpower today, a strong employer brand will help organizations attract and retain the best talent; and therefore enable them to win during these challenging times and achieve their growth plans.

Employers having the most difficulty finding the right people to fill jobs are those in Romania (62%), Taiwan (62%), Peru (56%), Japan (55%), Australia (49%), Costa Rica (48%) and Poland (48%). The talent shortage appears to be least problematic in Ireland (5%), Spain (8%), the United Kingdom (11%), China (15%) and the Czech Republic (17%).

Compared to 2008, employers are reporting that talent shortages are considerably less pervasive in Hong Kong (down 24 percentage points), Norway (down 21 percentage points), the Czech Republic and Singapore (each down 20 percentage points) and Spain (down 19 percentage points).


In the Americas, the survey shows that 36 percent of the region's employers are having difficulty filling positions due to the lack of suitable talent available in their markets. This is an increase of eight percentage points when compared to the 2008 survey and is six percentage points greater than the global average.

Vacancies for technicians are the most difficult to fill in the Americas for the second year in succession. After not appearing among the Top 10 hard-to-fill positions in the 2008 survey, employers are identifying Accounting & Finance positions as the third most difficult to fill.

Asia Pacific

Talent shortages in Asia Pacific mirror those of the rest of the world, with 32 percent of the region's employers indicating they are having difficulty filling positions due to the lack of suitable talent in their markets. This is a slight one percentage point increase when compared to the 2008 survey.

Employers having the most difficulty finding the right talent to fill jobs are those in Taiwan (62%), Japan (55%), Australia (49%) and New Zealand (39%). The talent shortage appears to be least problematic in China (15%) and India (20%).

There remains a clear talent shortage of skilled sales representatives in Asia Pacific, as this job remains the most difficult to fill for the fourth year in succession. Adding to this, skilled trade vacancies have become increasingly difficult to fill, moving from eighth in 2006, to fifth in 2007, fourth in 2008, and second in this year's survey.

Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA)

Across the 17 countries surveyed in EMEA - Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom - 25 percent of the region's employers report having difficulty filling positions due to the lack of suitable talent available in their markets. This is a seven percentage point decline when compared to the 2008 survey and is five percentage points lower than the global average.

Those having the most difficulty finding the right talent to fill jobs are in Romania (62%), Poland (48%), Greece (37%) and Switzerland (36%). The talent shortage appears to be least problematic in Ireland (5%), Spain (8%) and the United Kingdom (11%).

EMEA employers named Skilled Trades as the most difficult position to fill for the third year in succession followed by sales representatives, who featured at the number six spot in the 2008 poll.

Visit for a copy of the Manpower white paper.

About Manpower Inc.

Manpower Inc. (NYSE: MAN) is a world leader in the employment services industry; creating and delivering services that enable clients to win in the changing world of work. Founded in 1948, the $22 billion company offers a range of services for the entire employment and business cycle including permanent, temporary and contract recruitment; employee assessment and selection; training; outplacement; outsourcing and consulting. Manpower's network of 4,200 offices in 82 countries and territories enables the company to meet the needs of 400,000 clients per year, including small and medium size enterprises in all industry sectors, as well as the world's largest multinational corporations. Manpower focuses on raising productivity through improved quality, efficiency and cost-reduction across the total workforce, enabling clients to concentrate on their core business activities. Manpower Inc. operates under five brands: Manpower, Manpower Professional, Elan, Jefferson Wells and Right Management. Web site is

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SOURCE: Manpower Inc.

CONTACT: Marci Pelzer of Manpower Inc., office, +1-414-906-7670, mobile,

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