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ASA Skills Gap Index: Top Hard-to-Fill Jobs by Sector

Most Difficult-to-Fill Occupations in Each Sector

The American Staffing Association’s Skills Gap Index has identified the hardest-to-fill occupations in the U.S. for the fourth quarter of 2016. The two hardest-to-fill jobs in each staffing industry sector are

Engineering, information technology, and scientific

  • Computer and information research scientists
  • Information security analysts

Health care

  • Physician assistants
  • Psychiatrists


  • Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers
  • Food service managers

Office–clerical and administrative

  • Interviewers, except eligibility and loan
  • Tellers


  • Tax preparers
  • Sales engineers

Since the third quarter, general internists, bus and truck mechanics, sales floor stock clerks, and police patrol offers were edged out of the most difficult-to-fill occupations (by sector) by physician assistants, food service managers, tellers, and sales engineers.

“The skills gap is growing, as are talent shortages across a number of occupations,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “The ASA Skills Gap Index quantifies those shortages, providing a data source that staffing, recruiting, and workforce solutions companies can use when developing flexible and permanent talent acquisition strategies with their clients.”

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, now based on a one-month snapshot of data. The ASA Skills Gap Index will be updated twice a year, after the second and fourth quarters.

Methodology Update
In September 2016, CareerBuilder implemented new guidelines for its supply and demand data methodology and salary data inputs, significantly changing hiring indicator scores and the number of hard-to-fill occupations. There were also substantial changes to many occupational information network (ONET) codes, which necessitated remapping of occupations by staffing industry sector.

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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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