NEARLY half of the employers here - 47 per cent to be exact - are facing difficulties finding staff with the right skills, a survey by employment consultancy Manpower Singapore has revealed.

The jobs they are having the toughest time filling are those in office support, as well as in the categories of supervisors and labourers.

Last year, the openings most difficult to fill were in production operations, accounting & finance and engineering.

Manpower Singapore's survey on talent shortages found that globally, 35 per cent of employers are struggling to fill jobs - the highest level since before the global financial crisis.

Globally, the hardest roles to fill are those of skilled trades workers, engineers and sales representatives; increasingly, employers are also having problems filling positions in accounting & finance, as well as in management and executive management.

Linda Teo, country manager of Manpower Singapore, said: "After years of talking about talent shortages, the survey results show that employers are now awakening to the business effects that occur when talent is scarce.

"Business leaders have accepted that talent shortages are an ongoing, long-term challenge and are ready to address solutions. They just want guidance."

In Singapore, 54 per cent of employers surveyed said they will relook workforce strategies to identify talent and solve acquisition challenges, while 41 per cent said they will step up their efforts on building succession management strategies.

The survey also found that 51 per cent of employers in the Asia-Pacific region said skills gaps are posing difficulties in hiring. The hardest jobs to fill in the region are those of sales representatives, engineers and technicians.