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Business and economy news and issues in the Ozarks.

State of the Workforce Survey Findings Released

Michele Skalicky

The state of the workforce is positive overall in Southwest Missouri.  That's according to a survey released today by the Workforce Investment Board and the Missouri Career Center during a luncheon at the White River Conference Center.  A total of 368 organizations--both for profit and not-for-profit--in Greene, Taney, Christian, Webster, Polk, Dallas and Stone Counties responded.

The State of the Workforce Survey, conducted last October and November by Opinion Research Specialists, LLC, found that between 25 percent and 30 percent of organizations planned to hire additional full-time and/or part-time employees over the next 12 months while six to 12 percent anticipated lay-offs.

Another finding:  the top three occupational fields that organizations will look to recruit from over the next five to ten years are business, management and administration; marketing, sales and service; and information technology/computer service.

The survey also asked what employers see are the biggest challenges.

"We asked about concerns with job applicants, and the majority of employers responding said they are most concerned with these three things:  communication skills, job specific knowledge and personal hygiene and appearance.  These are the top three things that concern employers before they even get in the door.  So we must do a better job of helping job seekers put their best foot forward and to learn how to get the job," said Mary Ann Rojas, director of workforce development for the City of Springfield.

More than 85 percent of respondents indicated that "most" or "some" of their current employees needed improvement in the areas of problem solving, time management, critical thinking/decision making and leadership.

According to the survey, 77 percent of organizations that responded had recently hired graduates from one or more areas from one or more colleges and universities, and 85 percent rated the overall level of preparation of these graduates as satisfactory.

Rojas says they plan to host a workforce summit soon to follow up on the survey's findings.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.