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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 first quarter of 2016, with the 10 most difficult being

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

During the past quarter, genetic counselors moved into the top 10 list of hardest-to-fill positions, while physical therapists dropped off, though the occupation still ranks among the most difficult to fill. Health care continues to dominate with six of the 10 most difficult to fill occupations in that sector.

“More than 16 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed, according to the Labor Department, yet there are currently more than five million job openings going unfilled in the U.S.,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “Addressing the skills gap must be a top priority for businesses, government, and educators because it is negatively affecting economic growth and the employability of U.S. workers.”

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
In December 2015, CareerBuilder 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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