INDIANAPOLIS - Finding skilled workers is such a problem in Indiana, many companies are choosing to leave jobs unfilled. That’s one of the findings of the 12th annual employer workforce survey from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and its Institute for Workforce Excellence.

During a three-week period in August, companies from throughout the state were asked to respond to a list of questions about hiring practices. The Chamber says it received more than 1,000 responses from employers in 89 of Indiana’s 92 counties.

Results of the survey show 49 percent left jobs unfilled in the past year due to underqualified applicants, compared to 51 percent a year ago. The Indiana Chamber says that the trend of the last five years remains largely intact.

“Given the survey responses, another strategy seems to be accepting that the talent shortage is not going to change anytime soon and simply finding alternative methods for dealing with it,” says Indiana Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Brinegar.

Brinegar says understaffed companies are adapting to the ongoing shortage of qualified applicants in several different ways.

More companies are assigning responsibilities internally; 25 percent compared to 18 percent two years ago.

Companies are also finding themselves having to hire underqualified applicants. Twenty-three percent of the companies in this year’s survey are taking that path.  In 2017, it was just 11 percent.

While nearly half of the employers are leaving jobs unfilled, fewer respondents are listing workforce/talent needs as among their biggest challenges. The chamber says that the number declined from 80 percent to 45 percent. Other issues are more pressing to their businesses.

“A slowing national economy, tariffs and ongoing trade disputes are some of the potential concerns for employers today compared to recent years,” says Brinegar. 

Brinegar says there is less optimism among employers in the growth of their own organization. Forty-five percent expect to increase the size of their workforce in the next year or so, but that’s a decline from 56 percent in 2018.

Click here to read more results of the employer workforce survey from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.