CLOSING THE SKILLS GAP IN PALM BEACH COUNTY

October 2018

In the Palm Beach County Workforce Analysis report by Boyette Strategic Advisors released in June 2018, 56% of Palm Beach County employers surveyed identified lack of work skills as their greatest challenge to employee recruitment. Here’s how CareerSource Palm Beach County is helping to close that skills gap.

Five years ago we were still improving from the recession that began in 2008. Unemployment was over 7% -- double what it is now. Back then, finding jobs was a long and difficult process for most job seekers. Today, businesses in Palm Beach County are expanding but can’t find people with the skills they need to fill their jobs.

CareerSource and its community partners are engaged in several efforts to address the skills gap in Palm Beach County. We assist job seekers with training, soft skills and placements. We spend $2 million annually in training dollars to upgrade the skills of job seekers with certificates/degrees, apprenticeships/internships and training grants to help meet employer demand for skilled talent.

We work with the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, School District of Palm Beach County, colleges and universities along with some 12,000 businesses that use our services to develop a Targeted Occupations List (TOL) of in-demand jobs in Palm Beach County. This list of 107 occupations shows the annual percentage of job growth, wages, and career paths. Click here to see the list on our website:

Our training providers use the TOL to develop curriculum and courses to meet these in-demand jobs. We currently support 43 training providers offering 673 courses. We also work with our training providers to help develop new courses to meet the needs of local businesses based on their input.

Are you finding it difficult to locate and recruit candidates with the skills you need for your business? Let us help you! CareerSource provides a comprehensive package of services to help businesses compete in today’s challenging marketplace. We absorb the cost of most services including recruitment, assessments and referrals of qualified job candidates; space and staff assistance for screening/interviewing candidates; and grants for training employees. We save you time, effort and money by sourcing local candidates. During the past five program years, CareerSource Palm Beach County assisted more than 92,000 residents find employment ranging from entry level to executive suite, with salaries from these jobs creating $2.1 billion in annual wages. CareerSource also has awarded $13 million in grants to area businesses and employees for training and educational assistance during that time.

In conjunction with CareerSource Florida’s sector strategies initiative and focus on sharing a regional vision, strategically aligning with our partners and transforming delivery of services, we are able to convene with our community partners to support local business growth.

YOUR REGIONAL ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

The most recent unemployment rate for Palm Beach County is 3.9 percent, that was lower than the 2017 rate of 4.4 percent, and matched the nation’s 3.9 percent rate (all numbers not seasonally adjusted).

When we track our local labor force growth, unemployment and employment figures, we are looking for trends that may point to a change in our local economy. In the chart below we track total employment for Palm Beach County and this figure continues to grow monthly, measured year-over to account for local seasonality.

The Nontraditional Worker: Real Economic Trends and Impact on our Local Workforce

The Palm Beach County labor market is tight, continued strong economic growth will make it historically tight in 2019. Labor shortages and acceleration in wages are more visible in blue-collar occupations than ever before. Growing recruiting difficulties, quit rates, and concerns about labor quality or skill gaps are causing employers to dig deeper into the resume pile. Massive retirements will intensify the squeeze on blue-collar occupations in the next decade. With these local labor market conditions, the demand for nontraditional workers is increasing.

What are nontraditional workers? They are independent contractors, workers in the temporary help industry, workers on premise employed by outsourcing companies, and workers employed through labor market platforms.

Contrary to the GIG Economy hype, and according to the latest Census numbers, the share of nontraditional workers has not changed dramatically in recent years. This points of local focus:

  • Nontraditional work as a share of total PBC employment will grow, but probably not by much in the coming decade
  • In today’s tight labor market some nontraditional workers may transition to traditional jobs
  • Healthcare reform may increase the motivation for some traditional workers to become nontraditional
  • Online labor platforms are still limited in size but represent the most important change in nontraditional work
  • Most companies have not seriously considered using online platforms but should, based on which jobs are best suited to online platforms
  • For occupations well-suited to online labor platforms, staffing firms and business services companies could be disrupted

What is holding back the expansion of nontraditional work?

  • Employers are no longer rapidly expanding the share of jobs they outsource
  • In a tighter labor market, the supply of nontraditional workers’ declines, leading to rapid wage growth for such workers, which in turn reduces the benefit of hiring them
  • Many occupations do not and will not lend themselves to nontraditional work
  • Jobs with uncertain income streams and reduced access to key benefits are an acceptable work arrangement for only a limited number of workers
  • Policies limiting growth in nontraditional workers
  • Higher scrutiny of nontraditional work arrangements
  • Traditional work still serves most employers and workers well

Two main reasons to expect some increase in the share of nontraditional workers

  1. Policy changes – especially healthcare reform in the U.S.
    • Improved individual market could allow more workers to avoid relying on employer provided insurance
    • Employers can avoid penalties for not providing health benefits if they have fewer than 50 workers
    • Uncertainty about legislation’s future may reduce transitions to nontraditional work
    • Proposed independent worker category (1099) would make it easier for workers to build savings and benefits across many employers
  2. The emergence of online labor platforms specializing in nontraditional workers

Online labor platforms like our Employ Florida, are a growing new channel for hiring nontraditional workers; they facilitate on-demand physical services or services delivered entirely online.

online platform economy image

Business challenges and opportunities of using online labor platforms

ChallengesOpportunities
  • Most Platforms cannot easily 
    integrate into enterprise-level 
    systems and processes
  • Organizational resistance around changing
    the recruitment strategy
  • Platform adoption may require employee 
    buy-in, new skills and training, changes 
    in employees’ roles and responsibilities, 
    and even a culture shift
  • Target specific roles & occupations
  • Faster and better matches
  • A global and diverse talent pool
  • Increased flexibility for workforce 
    planning needs
  • Reduced costs
  • Access to ancillary services
  • Division of jobs into tasks

In summary, we believe that our local economy will continue to be as good in 2019. Florida leads the way, with more folks relocating to the Sunshine State from higher-tax locales farther north. We can use the additional labor weather in Traditional or Nontraditional jobs.

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