Written By: David G. Marshall, Greensboro Partnership
Greensboro, NC - A recent survey of about 400 Greater Greensboro area businesses finds the move to a knowledge based economy is highlighting that the area has a skills mismatch, or workforce gap, in certain industries and available jobs, resulting in some 1,775 vacant positions in 2011.
Commissioned by the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, the Human Resources Management Association of Greensboro, and the Greensboro-High Point Guilford County Workforce Development Board, the survey focused on five important industry segments, and included most of the larger businesses in the Greater Greensboro area. Among the 136 respondents to the survey, 79 percent agreed that they were having a hard time finding qualified applicants for a number of positions
The survey asked about 400 local businesses questions regarding their hiring experiences and whether they had any "difficult-to-fill" jobs. "From the responding companies, we learned there are certain skills that were difficult to find in the recruiting process, thus making some jobs a challenge to fill with local job candidates," says Lillian Plummer, Executive Director of the Greensboro-High Point Guilford County Workforce Development Board. Some of the most difficult-to-find skills included:
• Financial analysis
• Machining and skilled trades
• Industry specific certifications
Additionally, there were "soft skills" that employers considered lacking in the local labor force, most notably communication skills as well as analytical thinking skills. The survey reveals that the gap in skills required for available jobs can result in delays in filling positions, as well as the need to sometimes recruit outside the triad to find qualified candidates.
"These survey results clearly show that we must have a highly skilled workforce to compete globally in an increasingly high-skill, knowledge-based economy," commented Deborah Hooper, President of the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce. "Understanding of the issues allows business, education, government, economic development, and workforce development specialists to better focus efforts around timely and effective solutions." Hooper added.
Full survey findings can be found at the Greensboro Partnership website, www.greensboropartnership.org.