To understand the “skills-gap,” we must compare the suitability of those seeking work against current posted job openings, and determine whether both seasoned and entry level job seekers are preparing appropriately for jobs projected to be in demand.
In the current labor market, job seekers slightly outnumbered posted opportunities (December 31, 2015 VEC). This indicates a tightening of the labor market that is imbalanced among occupations. Delving into Chmura Analytics, JobsEQ® data from the 3rd quarter 2015, the occupations with the greatest imbalance include construction (4.5 job seekers : 1 open job), building and grounds maintenance (3.8:1), personal care and service (3.1:1), production (3:1), transportation (3:1), and healthcare support (2.8:1). Those seeking positions in these fields can expect strong competition, as well as downward pressure on wages. Whereas available management positions match the number of job seekers (1:1), healthcare technicians and practitioners have a slight imbalance (1.2:1).
39% of the jobs posted in the Richmond Region require STEM skills with 30.5% requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher.
The imbalance reflected by the numbers doesn’t show a complete picture. According to the Brookings Institute, 39% of the jobs posted in the Richmond Region require STEM skills with 30.5% requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher. The skills and education of many job seekers may not be adequate since the Virginia Employment Commission estimates that 45% of the unemployed have a high school diploma or less. This gap is reflective in the number of days required to fill a position: 50.2 days for healthcare practitioners and technicians as compared to 27 days for production and 22 days for administrative support.