Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021

Employers say skills deficit is a big problem

Posted: Thursday, April 14, 2011

It's not breaking news that there is a skills deficit facing Hoosier workers and their employers, but the impact of that deficit is becoming even more problematic for some employers. A new statewide employer survey conducted by Ready Indiana, the Indiana Chamber's workforce development initiative, reinforces that fact and provides more interesting findings.

The annual Employer Workforce Skills Survey, which included results from 218 Indiana businesses, reveals some positives - almost 60% of respondents are predicting a stable workforce through 2013 and a majority of those employers plan to expand.

But a major red flag is the increase in the percentage of employers reporting that workplace skills deficits are negatively impacting their company.

Weaknesses in skills such as communication, problem solving and basic to advanced computer applications were identified as problematic by more employers in 2010 than in the past four years the survey has been conducted. Ready Indiana Executive Director Kris Deckard says that critical finding is 75% higher than in the 2009 survey.

"It could be that the skills mismatch is becoming more prominent - employers are feeling it more. According to data from Indiana's Workforce Intelligence System, approximately 16% of individuals on unemployment statewide do not have a high school diploma or GED and 50% have no formal education beyond a high school diploma or GED. It's not surprising that as employers are starting to hire, this is going to be more and more noticed and more and more of a problem," Deckard remarks.

The amount of money employers have spent on employee training over the past year is encouraging, Deckard indicates.

"Last year, the majority, 60%, were spending less than $250 (per employee on training). This year, that majority shifted to a range of $250 - $500 so I think it's a positive sign that employers are investing more in their employees," she reveals.

Overall, employers noted that time, inconvenience and costs are the greatest hindrances to employee training and education. Deckard asserts it's a matter of communicating to employers that there are resources available to help support employee training efforts.

"The state has millions of dollars for on-the-job training that need to be spent. At the same time, according to this survey (and previous surveys), employers prefer on-the-job training and are using this more than any other format. So it is a matter of bridging that communication between what's available and what's needed, " she acknowledges.

This survey fills a gap in the availability of statewide workforce readiness data, Deckard adds. "We've seen more employer surveys regionally recently and some are sector specific, but I'm not familiar with any that focus on workforce readiness, employer hiring, and training and public sector outreach statewide."

The full survey results are available by visiting the Ready Indiana web site. For more information on attaining workforce development assistance, contact Deckard This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or call (317) 264-7548.