If you are not yet familiar with Brian Kelsey (@BrianJKelsey) with Civic Analytics, you should be. We have had the pleasure of working with Brian for the past few years and were able to recently help him with some data for his keynote address at NAWDP. In his talk he focused on the skills shortage debate and how workforce and economic development can be used to build more competitive regions. Brian published the details of his talk over on his blog. Give it a look.
One of the key things you should note is the insight Brian provides relative to the debate about manufacturing’s domestic skills shortage. He also includes Stacy Wagner’s interesting post, which can be seen over at MEP. Basically, do we really have a skills gap or is it that employers just aren’t willing to pay market value for quality workers (and thus the workers decide to find employment in other sectors)? Here is an excerpt:
Thanks to my friends at EMSI, I was able to have this conversation with about 1,000 experts at the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals annual conference on Monday, where I did the opening keynote. We looked at job postings for skilled trades as a way to measure the shortage, compared wages for production work to wages in other types of occupations that could be competing for the same employees, and learned that workers in the skilled trades are generally older than the workforce as a whole. If the skills shortage is debatable today, it likely won’t be at some point in the future.
Regarding Brian’s last point on aging workers in the skilled trades, he produced this chart using EMSI’s workforce demographic data for Texas. You can access his full NAWDP presentation here.