According to a blog post on the Business Examiner website (which bills itself as “The South Sound Business Information Resource”), Pierce County businesses are having a helluva time finding qualified employees:
About 70 percent of businesses responding to a Workforce Central survey said they find it necessary to seek talent outside the county to fill job openings. And 47 percent of respondents said they find it necessary to look outside the county for qualified workers most or all of the time.
WorkForce Central surveyed 130 Pierce County employers from across industries in November and identified the following concerns:
- 52.5 percent have difficulty finding a sufficient supply of local talent.
- 45.1 percent say that current employees do not have up-to-date skills and knowledge needed.
- 28.7 percent are concerned about a talent/brain drain because of an increase in retirements of experienced employees.
Um… really? At the time this survey was taken, Pierce County’s unemployment was hovering around the 8.6 percent rate, about the same level as the state as a whole. And employers still couldn’t find enough qualified local workers to fill the available jobs?
Hard to believe, but if it’s true, you gotta wonder about the wisdom of slashing funding and raising tuition at Washington’s community colleges and four year universities at the same time jobs remain unfilled in the midst of 8.6 percent unemployment. I mean, forget about taxes, there’s no way businesses can afford to stay in Washington state if we don’t have a qualified workforce, right?