By Daniel Hunter

Despite an ageing workforce and the prospect of widespread employee shortages, senior executives are not worried - at least not for the vast majority of positions.

According to Plugging the skills gap: shortages among plenty, a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by SuccessFactors, just 20% are pessimistic about their company’s ability to find sufficiently skilled workers within the ranks to fulfil their business objectives over the next three years.

Respondents recognise, though, that shortages in two specific areas - the engineering/technical and strategy/corporate development job functions - threaten long-term economic growth. Sixty-three percent of those polled say it is “difficult” or “very difficult” to find suitable job candidates in the engineering/technical function and 56% say the same of strategy/corporate development.

Other key findings include:

· Executives downplay the importance of people management skills. Respondents were asked which internal management strategy they use most frequently to retain skilled workers and improve their productivity. Strikingly, a mere 9% cited “ensuring that managers throughout the organisation possess excellent people skills”. This disregard for the importance of people management could undermine the ability of companies to retain the skilled workers they do possess, and may well thwart their attempts to combat specific long-term skills shortages.

· Strategic leaders are hard to find. Sixty-eight percent of survey respondents agree that the higher the level in the organisation, the more difficult it becomes to find the requisite skills. Respondents were particularly concerned about a lack of strategic vision (55%) and an inability to handle complexity (36%).

· IT and energy industries more likely to staff up than others. Thirty-six percent of respondents in IT/technology and 28% in energy envisage a large net increase in staff numbers over the next three years compared with just 10% in manufacturing and 6% in life sciences.

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness