The survey was conducted for the recruiting firm CareerBuilders by the Harris Poll. More than half, 34 percent, of companies polled said that they had open positions where they could not find qualified candidates and 34 percent said some jobs were going unfilled for three months or more.
CareerBuilders said companies typically lose about $14,000 for jobs that remain open for at least three months. The reasons include lower morale and higher turnover among remaining employees, who usually have to work harder to cover the gap.
The reasons companies give for not being able to find suitable new hires include a shortage of people educated with the needed skills and changes in technology that make existing skill sets outdated. In some cases, companies are also unable or unwilling to pay the going salary for a job.
"The skills gap is an issue that is not going away anytime soon," said Matt Ferguson, chief executive officer of CareerBuilder and co-author of The Talent Equation. "There is a growing disconnect between the skills employers need and the skills that are being cultivated in the labor market today."
Harris surveyed 1,025 companies, 1,524 job-seekers and 205 academics Oct. 17-Nov. 6.