In Spite Huge Labor Demand, Skilled Labor Comes Up Short

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Should professionals mind the skills gap when applying for a position? In new research from global staffing firm Robert Half, HR managers said 42 percent of resumes they receive, on average, are from candidates who don’t meet the job requirements. In a separate survey of workers, 78 percent admitted they would submit for a role when they don’t match all the qualifications.

Luckily for applicants, 84 percent of HR managers reported their company is open to hiring an employee whose skills can be developed through training.

View an infographic about candidate hiring criteria.

Workers were asked, “Would you still apply to a job if you didn’t meet all of the qualifications on the job description?” Their responses:






HR managers were asked, “How open is your company to hiring and training an employee who doesn’t meet the skills requirements for a position?” Their responses:

Very open


Somewhat open


Not open at all



*Responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding.

Additional findings:

  • 62 percent of employees have been offered a job when they didn’t match the exact qualifications.
  • Among the 28 U.S. cities in the survey, Charlotte (74 percent), San Diego (72 percent), Austin and Washington, D.C. (71 percent each) have the most professionals who have landed a position without meeting the requirements.
  • Workers in Salt Lake City (89 percent), Atlanta (83 percent), Austin and Charlotte (82 percent each) are most likely to apply for a role if underqualified.

“When it’s challenging to find candidates who check off all the boxes, companies may need to re-evaluate their job requirements to hire the right talent,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half. “Workers can be trained on duties for a role, but individuals with the right soft skills and fit with the corporate culture are often harder to come by.”

McDonald added, “Professionals shouldn’t rule themselves out for a position if they don’t fulfill all the criteria. However, applicants need to make a strong case by highlighting past results, transferable skills and a willingness to learn.”

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