Recruiters Ask "Where's the Talent?"

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Five hundred and sixty-four job seekers completed a survey questionnaire at recent job fair. According to Ira S. Wolfe, their responses are consistent with what he describes in his book, The Perfect Labor Storm. This book, based on over five years of research, lists hundreds of trends that are pushing America to the brink of a workforce crisis.

Sixty business recruiters look over the lines of job seekers walking up and down the aisles, passing by their booths. The event, the 2004 Lancaster (PA) Chamber of Commerce Job Fair, gives employers and job hunters a chance to connect. After long hours of reviewing resumes and chatting with applicants, many recruiters left asking, “Where’s the talent?”

Ira Wolfe, founder of Success Performance Solutions, answers the question. For the past three years, Wolfe has conducted surveys for the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce at its annual job fair. Five hundred and sixty-four respondents completed a survey questionnaire. According to Wolfe, their responses are consistent with what he describes in his book, "The Perfect Labor Storm". This book, based on over five years of research lists hundreds of trends that pushing America to the brink of a workforce crisis. “The result will be a worker gap, a skills gap, and a wage gap that will threaten the American employer’s ability to compete and be profitable,” says Wolfe.

Wolfe’s survey uncovered several trends. Better than 60 percent of currently employed people are dissatisfied with their jobs. Approximately one-third of respondents were looking for better pay, with benefits such as health care and flexibility ranking high on the list of ways employers can maintain talent. Lack of opportunity for career advancement is another reason why people look to make job changes.

While more pay was important, respondents may not have what it takes to deliver top-dollar performance. Fewer than half of the over-age-26 group seekers report excellent skills at solving large complex problems and handling stress. Even fewer believe they understand how a business operates and makes money.

Less than 39 percent of respondents rated computer skills, a basic competency in today's job market, as above average or higher. And approximately 44 percent of respondents gave a weak rating for ability to use the Internet and e-mail.

“These trends challenge business managers,” Wolfe says. “As employers attempt to reduce boost productivity and manage health care benefits, the demand for talent may force them to think otherwise. The knowledge center of many organizations is the baby-boomer segment of the workforce. These people are walking around job fairs looking for better opportunities.”

Wolfe believes employers must create a company culture that attracts and retains talent. That means responding to the diverse needs of four working generations who all want more pay but have place different values on health care benefits, flexibility and work-life balance.

About the Survey

The new Success Performance Solutions Workforce survey was conducted on September 23, 2004 at the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce Job Fair. Nearly 1000 job seekers attended and 564 agreed to complete the survey. For a copy of the results, contact Ira S. Wolfe at For more facts on Why Worker Shortages Will Not Go Away, visit

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