Survey Reveals Top Reasons Jobs Go Unfilled

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Express Employment Professionals Survey Reveals Businesses Say Many Applicants Lack Experience; 29% Cite Lack of Applicants

Top reasons new1

Express Employment Professionals released new survey results today revealing the primary reasons jobs are left unfilled.

In a survey of 1,951 businesses, respondents were asked, “What is the primary reason that your open jobs are not filled?”

“Lack of experience” topped the list as the choice of 33 percent of respondents. “Lack of available applicants” came in second at 29 percent, and “I have all positions filled” was the third most popular response at 26 percent. For the last four quarters that Express has polled businesses, these three responses have topped the list, but this is only the second quarter in a row that “lack of experience” has been the number one answer.

Rounding out the top five were “lack of hard skills” (17%) and “lack of soft skills” (13%).

“American businesses are hiring, or at least they want to,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express, and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “Almost two-thirds of respondents in our survey either don’t have enough applicants or don’t have applicants with the right experience.

“The labor market is tightening—both because more people are going back to work and because we have so many still on the sidelines. That makes it hard to find talent. Many people just don’t realize how many job openings are out there; the recurring theme, though, is the mismatch between job seekers and available jobs.”

What is the primary reason that your open jobs are not filled?    
Q1 2017    
Lack of experience    33%
Lack of available applicants    29%    
I have all my positions filled    26%    
Lack of hard skills    17%    
Lack of soft skills    13%    
Other (please specify)    11%    
Not enough pay offered    10%    
Client location    10%    
Unwilling to work part-time or temporary roles    6%    
Undesirable client image or reputation    1%    

The Jobs Insight Survey of 1,951 businesses, which are current and former clients of Express Employment Professionals, covers trends for the first quarter of 2017. Previous surveys were conducted to cover trends of the quarters indicated.


If you would like to arrange for an interview with Bob Funk to discuss this topic, please contact Sheena Karami, Director of Corporate Communications and PR, at (405) 717-5966.

About Robert A. Funk
Robert A. “Bob” Funk is chairman and chief executive officer of Express Employment Professionals. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the international staffing company has more than 770 franchises in the U.S., Canada and South Africa. Under his leadership, Express has put more than 6 million people to work worldwide. Funk served as Chairman of the Conference of Chairmen of the Federal Reserve and was also the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

About Express Employment Professionals
Express Employment Professionals puts people to work. It generated $3.05 billion in sales and employed a record 510,000 people in 2016. Its long-term goal is to put a million people to work annually. For more information, visit

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Sheena Karami
Express Employment Professionals
+1 (405) 717-5966
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