Connecting students with in-demand careers

 

Last week, the L’Anse Creuse School District hosted Career Night, an annual event focused on igniting student interest in learning and preparing to enter the workforce.

Nearly 500 participants joined the evening festivities, which included a mix of students and their family members. With over 60 careers represented, students were exposed to a wide variety of professional opportunities.

Career Day_Macomb table.jpgMacomb County’s Department of Planning & Economic Development Deputy Director Vicky Rad and I were present to encourage students to explore career paths in both government and STEM-related industries. We spoke to students not only about careers in planning and economic development, but also about those that are in high-demand and directly impact our local businesses.

As an economic development specialist, I meet regularly with companies that are in need of talented engineers, machinists and cybersecurity professionals, so we spoke to students about the increasing demand for these types of positions and the local opportunities in higher education that support these career paths. Many of the students we spoke with were passionate about finding a career in one of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, and more importantly, they were preparing themselves for higher education opportunities after graduation.

One of the documents we shared with students was the Workforce Intelligence Network report naming the top jobs in Southeast Michigan in advanced manufacturing and information technology. Among the most in-demand positions are mechanical, electrical and civil engineers, as well as industrial designers, each of which pay roughly $35 to $40 per hour. When students were able to directly compare careers with salary ranges and educational requirements, they had a much easier time understanding how their work in school can prepare them for future success.

By connecting with students and talking to them about the careers of the future, we hope to inspire the next generation of great thinkers and doers!

Tracey, Alyssa IMG_0194Alyssa Tracey is a senior economic development specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

 

Employers hiring for top jobs feeling the pressure: Part 1 of 2

Originally published in Crain’s Detroit Business on December 8, 2015

Southeast Michigan workers are benefiting from strong employer demand, which is at a record high following the Great Recession, but employers are having trouble finding the talent they need for success.

In quarter three (Q3) 2015, the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN) found that regional employers posted over 137,500 online job ads—a 12.5 percent increase over the previous quarter, and a 60.1 percent increase compared to the same quarter one year ago. For more information, see WIN’s recently released quarter three labor market reports.

While demand for workers has continued to increase for over a year, the lack of aligned worker supply has employers struggling to fill many key open positions. This is in part because the labor force in in southeast Michigan (and the rest of the nation) plummeted during the recession but has failed to recover. Workers have either retired, decided to go back to school/stay in school longer, or otherwise stopped looking for traditional employment. Another reason is that there are simply not enough workers with education and skills that match top-demand occupations.

Some jobs feel the pinch of these dynamics more than others. The supply-and-demand occupation report from Career Builder includes a hiring indicator measuring labor pressure, which determines the difficulty of recruiting for a particular occupation in a specific location compared to all other occupations and locations.[1] Just six of the top 25 of the top in-demand occupations in southeast Michigan had a rating high enough for recruiting to be considered moderately easy or better, meaning that 19 of the remaining top 25 are difficult to hire for. Below are a few examples of the labor pressure metric, highlighting three of the top jobs in southeast Michigan. NOTE: The Career Builder tool examines the ratio of job postings and jobseekers using paid online job ads only.

truck driverssecretariesMech engineersMech engineers (1)

A hiring indicator score in the yellow or red area signals that the occupation is experiencing more hiring difficulty than an occupation with a number in the green. Secretaries and administrative assistants have a hiring indicator of 84, meaning that 84% of all other occupations and locations have more difficulty recruiting talent. In contrast, truck drivers have a hiring indicator of 21, meaning that just 21% of all other occupations and locations have more difficulty recruiting. Nine of the top jobs in southeast Michigan, highlighted in WIN’s Q3 2015 report, had a hiring indicator score lower than 50, signaling that recruiting for these positions was relatively difficult in southeast Michigan compared to all other occupations.

Labor Pressure Q3 2015The table below highlights the labor pressure detail for the top 25 posted jobs in southeast Michigan during Q3 2015.

Hiring for the top in-demand jobs in southeast Michigan may be made more difficult for several reasons, including technical skill and higher qualification requirements. For example, two-thirds of the top 25 occupations during Q3 2015 required a bachelor’s degree, a credential that just one-fourth of Michiganders hold. Of the six occupations with relative ease in recruiting, just one—sales representatives, non-technical non-scientific products—required a bachelor’s degree.

Quarter three is historically when employment and employer demand peaks for many counties in southeast Michigan, and the data collected often points to upcoming trends. In this case, anticipated trends include continuously high and growing employer demand and relatively low labor force participation. Should the labor force in southeast Michigan (and the nation, for that matter) continue to maintain lower education levels and a mismatch in technical skills and experiences, employers will continue to have difficulty finding talent to fill their open positions and employment growth with slow.

***The follow-up blog in this series will dive deeper into the educational attainment and training requirements of the top jobs in the region.

This blog was developed with data and research compiled by Hector Acosta, research and data analyst at WIN.

[1] The hiring indicator score is calculated using data from CareerBuilder, a third party aggregator, and Economic Modeling Specialists, Intl (EMSI).