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ASA Skills Gap Index: Top 10 List of Hard-to-Fill Jobs

Top 10 List of Occupations Difficult to Fill

The American Staffing Association’s Skills Gap Index identified the hardest-to-fill occupations in the U.S. for the third quarter of 2015, with the 10 most difficult being

  1. Podiatrists
  2. Photographic process workers and processing machine operators
  3. Occupational therapists
  4. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers
  5. Psychiatrists
  6. Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists
  7. Internists, general
  8. Physical therapists
  9. Speech-language pathologists
  10. Occupational therapy assistants

During the past quarter, podiatrists, psychiatrists, general internists, and forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists moved into the top 10 list of hardest-to-fill positions, displacing family and general practitioners, microbiologists, surgeons, and nurse practitioners—nonetheless the top 10 list is still dominated by the health care sector.

“Businesses are turning to staffing and recruiting firms to source new talent and for information on strategies to better retain top talent,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “With more than five million unfilled job openings in the U.S. today, the ASA Skills Gap Index is an important tool for firms to use to ensure that they are setting wages at competitive levels based on current skills shortages and regional market conditions.”

The ASA Skills Gap Index was established by the American Staffing Association, using a hiring indicator developed by ASA corporate partner CareerBuilder. The hiring indicator measures the level of difficulty (on a scale of one to 100, with lower scores indicating harder to fill) to fill a specific occupation based on demand, supply of active candidates, and all individuals working in that occupation. The ASA Skills Gap Index concentrates on hiring indicator scores of 50 or less with a demand of 2,000 jobs or more to determine the top hard to fill occupations. The ASA Skills Gap Index is updated quarterly.

Methodology Update
CareerBuilder recently implemented stricter guidelines for its demand data deduplication methodology, resulting in significantly fewer reported job postings on average. This changed the base for the ASA Skills Gap Index, reducing the number of hard-to-fill occupations overall.

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About the American Staffing Association

The American Staffing Association is the voice of the U.S. staffing, recruiting, and workforce solutions industry. ASA and its state affiliates advance the interests of the industry across all sectors through advocacy, research, education, and the promotion of high standards of legal, ethical, and professional practices. For more information about ASA, visit

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