July 1, 2021 by Drew Repp
It has been well documented that businesses are struggling to find workers. COVID-related barriers (lack of childcare, unemployment benefits, and fear of returning to close contact work) are one contributing factor. But the U.S. is also at the beginning of a persistent labor shortage. Driven by a demographic shift and changing views on work, it has been predicted that by 2028 the U.S. could face a deficit of six million workers.
What this means is that even as the economy recovers from COVID, it’s only going to get harder for businesses to find talent. Efficiency in connecting employers with available talent will thus become increasingly important for communities. Additionally, this labor shortage will make it a jobseeker’s market. Those who assess their skills and identify proper upskilling and reskilling will have a great advantage in this new normal.
Workforce and economic development organizations will greatly benefit both jobseekers and local employers by using skills to more efficiently connect them to each other. Whether strategically filtering people to in-demand jobs with wage and staying power, or simply funneling jobseekers to available jobs, communities will retain existing businesses and attract new ones if they are efficient in making skills-based job connections.
Job postings signal the intentions of businesses and are the earliest indicator of what skills they need. Leveraging them is a great avenue to identify high-growth, in-demand roles. Here’s a few of the insights they provide.
Postings data quickly tells communities which employers are most actively seeking talent. Posting intensity is the ratio of total to unique (deduplicated) job postings. A higher than average posting intensity can mean that employers are putting more effort than normal into hiring that position. Median posting duration reveals which firms are having more difficulty filling open positions.
Job titles (as opposed to occupation codes) are what employers use when hiring and seeking talent. Seeing data on openings as they actually appear in the market provides more detail than the job buckets created by government sources.
In the case of IBM in Austin, unsurprisingly developer and computer science titles are prevalent, but so are less technical titles such as Associate Partners, Business Development Executives, and Offering Managers.
Government-sourced labor market information is great at telling us what has already happened: how many jobs were created and in what sectors. But the addition of postings data tells us what needs to happen for a local labor market to meet current demand.
Advertised wage trends—the salary listed in actual job postings—provide a timely and accurate representation of compensation in the market. For example, in addition to seeing the last three years of wage data for Human Resources Specialist in Austin, we can also see the average wage being offered all the way up to the most previous month.
Having accurate wage data is important for helping people move from likely job transitions to aligned job transitions. A likely transition is a move to a new job that largely deploys the same knowledge, skills, and abilities as the previous one. The requirements of the new role, and often the title, are also the same as the previous one.
Aligned transitions, on the other hand, may also use the same knowledge and abilities, but deploy skills in a different way, in a different environment, or require some amount of upskilling. However, when the right growth and wage conditions are met, moving from a likely to an aligned transition can be very advantageous for jobseekers, breaking them out of a job rut.
Advising jobseekers based on advertised wage trends provides them with information reflective of the current market, ensuring wage conditions are met before making any training investment for the aligned transition. As local businesses struggle to find workers, communities that help jobseekers leverage existing skills to make aligned transitions will be more effective in tempering the labor shortage.
We hear it all the time: jobs are changing fast. But more specifically, the skills that are needed for jobs are changing fast. Skills required for a job can change for a range of reasons, from new technology to changes in consumer taste. Whatever the reason, communities and workforce leaders need to keep a pulse on how skill demand is changing.
In Austin for instance, since the March-May quarter in 2020, we see that a soft skill like relationship building has jumped from being present in 23 postings to 67. Similarly, the hard skill of human resource information systems rose from being in 36 job postings to 98.
Reskilling and upskilling programs which have a pulse on shifting skill demand of employers will be far more effective in helping local businesses find talent. Being nimble and responsive with workforce programs and job placement requires working with the most current information. Skills surfaced from job postings and profiles equips communities to serve jobseekers based on current market demand.
These are three of many ways job postings, and the skills within them, can help identify in-demand jobs and consequently where the skills of workers can best be deployed. And because of the timeliness of the data, jobseekers can be confidently matched to jobs and training which is filling a market demand.
Taking a skills-based approach to connecting people and employers greatly increases efficiency in the labor market. And with 9.3 million job openings as of April 2021 (the most ever on record) finding more efficient ways to determine the best fit for peoples’ skills becomes increasingly vital.
Workforce development is seeing amazing innovation. Learn more about how we’re using real-time and skills data to help communities connect people to the right jobs.