Forbes recently published a very interesting piece that discusses how employers need to change their strategy when it comes to finding new employees with the skills they need.
The article makes some fascinating observations:
- By 2015, 60% of new jobs will require skills held by 20% of the population.
- By 2015, 76% of all U.S. Jobs will require highly skilled workers.
- According to Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce, the demand for college educated workers will outpace supply by more than 300,000 per year
- More than half of employed American workers (53%, or 63.5 million people) are open to new job prospects — even if they’re not looking. Many of these people are actively looking for better opportunities while they are happily employed.
- Social media, networking, and referrals are playing an enormous role in job searching.
- Many companies are starting to promote their jobs in these same networks.
These interesting statistics should also be digested by educational institutions. Another nuance that we might want to pull out of all this is that educational institutions need to work hard to figure out where these workforce gaps are going to occur and start to develop programs to provide the skills that employers so desperately need.
At EMSI we have developed (and are continuing to develop) ways for educators and workforce pros to analyze their educational offerings in light of labor market or employment trends. In addition, we can help you look at skills that are related to those employment sectors so you can get better insight on what educational offerings need to prioritize.
Here is a quick example.
Business managers of all types and sizes are a very important occupation. In the US about 2,000,000 people in a category called “managers, all other,” which is a bit of a catch all area.
The basic description of this occupation is broad: “Plan, direct, or coordinate the operations of companies or public and private sector organizations. Duties and responsibilities include formulating policies, managing daily operations, and planning the use of materials and human resources, but are too diverse and general in nature to be classified in any one functional area of management or administration, such as personnel, purchasing, or administrative services. Includes owners and managers who head small business establishments whose duties are primarily managerial.”
These jobs are projected to grow by 4% from 09-11. Moreso, the projected openings is supposed to be 10%, which means there could be a total demand for nearly 200,000 workers in just two years.
So how can educators approach this?
The first thing to do is to look at what industries these folks work in. Using a staffing pattern we quickly understand that a lot of them work in the petroleum and natural gas industry. Many others work in areas like office administration, janitorial services, management offices, professional / technical services, the federal government and warehousing. In each case see quite a bit of growth.
Next, it is important to get a sense of what sort of knowledge and skills these people need.
Using O*NET data via EMSI’s Career Pathways module we quickly see that “Customer and Personal Service” is the top knowledge area required by these managers. This is followed by administration and management skills and so on (see radar chart). There is quite a variety of knowledge areas that these workers need, and anyone who is designing a program to help supply this job should keep in mind that these are the in-demand skills. Furthermore, this data should be ground-truthed with real employers from these various industry sectors to make sure what they are looking for is part of the curriculum.
Finally, it’s also a good idea to look at what skills are important for these management occupations. In this case we are also able to use EMSI’s Career Pathways. There are actually a lot of skills that these management positions have that are considered “advanced.” Competencies like management of financial resources, speaking, time management, writing, problem solving, etc., are all very important parts of the job here, and again, programs that seek to train these managers must keep this in mind.
If you are considering adding a new program or would like to get a better sense of occupational or program demand in your area, please contact EMSI.