Jobs that companies struggle to fill

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It may be hard to believe in this tough job market, but there are many companies that are struggling to fill positions. The reason: not enough qualified applicants, according to a new study by the National Federation of Independent Business.

Now that construction and home building is rebounding, many builders say they can't find enough qualified workers to do the job. But unemployment is still 7.6 percent. So how is that possible?

Answered Nicole Riley, Virginia State Director for the NFIB, "A lot of these workers have had to move on, they've had to find a new career. They've had to find something different to do."

These are skilled workers, people trained to do specific jobs, like electricians, sheet rock installers, tile layers. The NFIB found 47%, or nearly half of businesses they surveyed that were hiring, were struggling to find qualified applicants. They found it's happening in road construction, too. Staffing company Manpower listed the top ten hard to fill jobs: skilled trades, engineers, it, sales, accounting, drivers, mechanics, nurses, machinists, and teachers.

Explained Riley, "Mechanics, engineering, high tech IT type jobs, mostly because they've had to move on and find something different."

The NFIB says many of these jobs are the jobs of the future.

"Most of these are growth jobs," said Riley. "Healthcare positions, skilled labor. People might be surprised at how much an electrician or plumber would make these days compared to traditional positions."

So if you're looking for a job, how can you qualify for one of these? You may need some education or training. Resources that can help you are community colleges, trade schools, the Virginia Employment Commission, and One Stop Career Centers. They'll even have information on job-retraining grants that you may qualify for.

And if you already have one of these jobs, the talent shortage may help you command a higher salary.

"We've seen some of them increase compensation for current employees as opposed to hiring new employees, because hiring that new employee is such a high expenditure," said Riley.