Shortage of Skilled Workers a Top Concern

April 11, 2006 ( - The Ken Blanchard Companies' annual corporate issues survey found that a skills gap for corporate leadership positions, as well as trained talent at all levels, is emerging as a top concern for training and development professionals.

Forty-three percent of respondents included skills shortages in the top three business challenges this year compared to 34% in 2003, according to a news release on the survey. Respondents specifically cited retooling and reskilling their workforce to meet escalating customer demands, and creating management and executive bench strength as key issues.

Competitive pressure was still the number one business challenge, the release said, but declined from 71% of respondent votes in 2003 to 60% in the 2006 survey. Growth and expansion, offered for the first time as an option in the 2006 survey, ranked second as a major concern with 53% of respondent votes.

Top management challenges center around developing potential leaders (63%), selecting and retaining key talent (57%), and creating an engaged workforce (53%). Results support the fact that concerns about the leadership skills gaps left by retirement of baby boomers and the need to compete for talent weigh on organizations around the globe.

Respondents voted manager/supervisor skills (66%), interpersonal communication skills (51%), and customer relationship skills (48%) as the top three employee development challenges in 2006.

More than 800 training and development professionals responded to The Ken Blanchard Companies poll. More information can be found at .