7 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE VOLUME 8, ISSUE 7 O p e n i n g L i n e s SURVEY: US BUSINESSES FACE HISTORIC DIFFICULTY FINDING QUALIFIEDWORKERS A mid a rapid reopening of the US economy and a huge increase in demand for workers, a new survey from The Conference Board found that businesses are having immense difficulty finding qualified workers. In fact, 80 percent of organizations hiring mostly industry and manual services workers report difficulty finding qualified workers, with 25 percent reporting it is very difficult. This compares to 74 percent before the pandemic, with 4 percent reporting it was very difficult. The results of the survey suggest human resources departments will face four main challenges in the months ahead: recruiting qualified workers and retaining existing ones; adjusting to a world where a large share of employees work primarily remotely; addressing deteriorating employee well-being; and managing the return to the workplace. Conducted by The Conference Board in April 2021, more than 230 HR executives, primarily from large US companies, weighed in about COVID-19’s ongoing impact on both the workforce and the workplace. This online survey is a follow up to similar surveys conducted in April and September 2020. Key findings from the new survey include: Both attracting and retaining qualified workers is a growing challenge, especially for organizations employing mostly industry and manual services workers. • Industry and manual services workers—a hot commodity: 80 percent of organizations hiring mostly industry and manual services workers report it is somewhat or very difficult to find qualified workers, up from 74 percent before the pandemic. Organizations report it is very difficult to find qualified workers at more than six times the rate (4 percent pre-pandemic vs.