Help Wanted: Vets, Foreign Workers Sought by U.S. Organizations

By Garry Kranz

Dec. 20, 2011

U.S. companies are ready to hire, although most struggle to recruit workers with the criteria to fill open jobs. That has companies looking to hire more non-U.S. workers and military veterans, a study by the Society for Human Resource Management shows.

Overall, 52 percent of organizations that wish to hire say they can’t find full-time workers whose skills match specific job openings, while 48 percent of organizations reported no such difficulty.

The survey, “Global Competition and Hiring Strategies,” culled responses of 2,286 human resources professionals across eight industries. It marks the third and final survey in a series by SHRM that explores the ongoing impact of the recession.

Nearly one-quarter of organizations hiring for hard-to-fill jobs in 2011 recruited workers from outside the U.S., with larger companies (500 to 25,000 employees) more likely to do so. Another 4 percent of organizations say they will consider hiring, or plan to hire, workers from abroad within the next 12 months.

Thirty-nine percent of organizations reported hiring veterans in 2011, according to SHRM’s research. Another 15 percent will consider recruiting vets in 2012. Among organizations participating in the survey, federal agencies are more likely than other employers to have added veterans in 2011, SHRM says.

Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of organizations say they face global competition for the thin supply of applicants. Still, 77 percent say that’s not a problem.

Hiring veterans is a theme that has generated headlines lately. The American Logistics Associations said in October that its member companies, which include 270 large consumer packaged-goods companies, plan to hire 25,000 military veterans and their spouses by 2013.

Garry Kranz is a contributing editor based in Richmond, Virginia.

Garry Kranz is a Workforce contributing editor.

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