The Workforce Demand Study: The New Generation of Workers and what it means for Business

Author: Elizabeth Mueller

survey photoThe Workforce Demand Study, a regional survey conducted by six Valley Chambers, including the Tempe Chamber, has released its results. The findings of the study were further analyzed based on business size that was broken down into three categories: 10 or fewer employees, 11 to 100 employees, and over 100 employees. In total, there were 209 respondents.

The results showed that smaller businesses had an easier time hiring new employees than their larger counterparts. Employers of smaller businesses found that the largest challenge they faced while looking for potential new employees was “a lack of employable skills”. On the contrary, employers of larger businesses found that they were faced with an “insufficient number of qualified applicants” while searching for possible new employees. Other challenges presented to employers of all businesses were a lack of relevant work experience and potential new employees that were unwilling to accept the offered wages for the position.

Among the businesses surveyed, there was a consensus on what was considered the most desirable and in-demand skill sets that were crucial when considering adding new members on board. Those skills included professionalism and work ethic, critical thinking abilities and problem-solving, and teamwork and collaboration. However, the most commonly desired skill sets that potential new hires were lacking just so happened to be professionalism and work ethic, critical thinking abilities and problem-solving, and written communication skills.

So, what does this mean for business? There are a few things to keep in mind when mulling over the results of the survey. As the Baby Boomer population beings to retire, more causes for concern in regards to gaps within the workforce will become more apparent. The greatest deficit within the businesses that were surveyed was in entry-level positions, and since those positions tend to require less experience with the skills previously mentioned, it is important to keep an eye on the Millennials entering the job market. An interesting excerpt from the summary of the study is “…less emphasis has been placed on these softer skills that are often necessary to allow employees to move up the career ladder. This may be something to seriously consider as programs are developed at the state and local level moving forward”. Of course, however, the skills that are in the highest demand from small and large businesses alike, tend to be in the shortest supply.

 In order to help combat this predicament, it is important to continue active workforce programs to help with current deficits. One solution is the Career Ready Tempe program, a partnership of the Tempe Chamber and the City of Tempe. Career Ready Tempe is a two-year workforce program that is intended to tackle barriers that income-eligible youth may experience when it comes to employability. The goal of this program is to help employers create a successful youth ‘talent pipeline’ in order to help teens entering the workforce develop crucial soft skills that tend to only come with previous work experience. The Career Ready Tempe program is partnering with local Tempe businesses to provide eligible juniors and seniors within the Tempe Union High School District 8-week, paid internship programs to prepare students for future employment. This program is funded by the City of Tempe’s Innovation Fund and the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Career Readiness Lab Grant.

The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce published their ‘Pulse of Business Survey & Business Outreach Summary’ where additional survey information and results can be found. 

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