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


10 Most Difficult to Fill Occupations

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

  1. Podiatrists
  2. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers
  3. Photographic process workers and processing machine operators
  4. Psychiatrists
  5. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons
  6. Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists
  7. Merchandise displayers and window trimmers
  8. Occupational therapists
  9. General internists
  10. Physical therapists

During the past quarter, oral and maxillofacial surgeons and merchandise displayers and window trimmers moved into the top 10 list of hardest-to-fill positions, while speech-language pathologists and occupational therapy assistants dropped off, though both still rank among the most difficult to fill. Health care occupations continue to dominate the top 10 list.

“Demand for qualified workers continues to grow as the pool of talent shrinks,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “Using the ASA Skills Gap Index and related resources, staffing, recruiting and workforce solutions companies are helping businesses recruit and retain talent by setting competitive wages based on current skills shortages and regional differences.”

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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