Good luck telling this to someone who’s out of work, but around the world, 30% of employers are struggling to fill open positions despite the high jobless rates brought about by the economic downturn. Globally, the toughest of all jobs to fill are the skilled trades—the category to which most printing employment belongs. This is according to research by Manpower Inc., a Milwaukee-based global provider of employment services. For its 2009 Talent Shortage Survey, Manpower surveyed nearly 39,000 employers across 33 countries and territories to gauge their ability to find the talent they need. The respondents said that the top 10 jobs causing them the most recruitment problems are, in order of difficulty: 1. skilled trades 2. sales representatives 3. technicians (primarily production/operations, engineering or maintenance) 4. engineers 5. management/executives 6. accounting & finance staff 7. laborers 8. production operators 9. secretaries, physicians’ assistants, administrative assistants, office support staff 10. drivers The “skilled trades,” as Manpower defines them, span a broad range of job titles that require workers to possess specialized skills, traditionally learned over a period of time via apprenticeship. The “technicians” category also can include positions in graphic communications. The fact that so many employers can’t find what they need in world labor markets indicates that “while more people may be looking for jobs, they don’t generally have the skills that organizations are looking for,” the survey report states. The situation is less severe in the U.S., where only 19% of 2,019 respondents reported difficulty in filling positions. Here, the skilled trades are number 3 in order of difficulty, and technicians come in at number 6. But Bethany Perkins, a spokesperson for Manpower, told us that recruitment still can be an exercise in frustration for many American employers. “They’re telling us that people are just not bringing them the combination of skills they need,” she said. The employment famine is worst in Romania and Taiwan, where nearly two-thirds (62%) of would-be hirers have positions going begging. Peru (56%), Japan (55%), Australia (49%), Costa Rica (48%), and Poland (48%) are almost as bad. In contrast, there’s not much of a talent shortage in Ireland, (5%), Spain (8%), the United Kingdom (11%), China (15%), or the Czech Republic (17%). Jeffrey A. Joerres, chairman and CEO of Manpower, thinks that “legacy mindsets and leadership philosophies” are blinding many employers to demographic shifts and other “mega trends” that they should be factoring into their recruiting strategies. The complete results of Manpower's global talent shortage survey can be downloaded at its research center.