North Carolina’s economy is transitioning. Many businesses have yet to recover from the recession of 2008-2009. This has contributed to limited private training dollars and has prohibited some businesses from reinvesting in their workforce. North Carolina currently has the 5th highest unemployment rate in the nation. Despite the high unemployment, some businesses are struggling to find skilled workers.
The 2012 Skills Survey of North Carolina Employers outlined the need for a skilled workforce that will allow companies to compete and flourish in a global economy. Employers indicated the need for a workforce with strong soft skills which include communication and interpersonal skills, critical and analytical thinking skills, problem solving skills, and good attendance as critical to job performance. In regard to occupational skills and/or educational skills, employers indicated customer service/sales and skilled trades are in short supply followed closely by office skills.
The North Carolina’s 2013 JobSeeker Survey revealed some of the frustrations job seekers are having when trying to connect with employers. These challenges include low-wages, long commuting times, poor benefit packages, and inadequate training and career advancement. Job seekers are willing to learn new job specific skills on-the-job, and do believe they already possess most of the soft and technical skills employers need. They believe their biggest obstacle to finding employment is the availability of job opportunities. The survey also indicated thatsome employers’ recruitment techniques are frustrating job seekers and limits the employer from connecting with qualified candidates. Most job seekers, who have received a job offer but turned it down, did so because they did not believe the employer offered a competitive wage.