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Skills development vital to fill in-demand jobs in San Diego

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Where will San Diego’s future job growth come from and how will we educate our workforce to meet employer needs?

To assist in answering these questions, the San Diego Workforce Partnership published its bi-annual In-Demand Jobs report last fall, a study conducted by BW Research Partnership that provided insight into San Diego’s future workforce needs.

The study had three key research objectives: identify the top 50 in-demand occupations in San Diego County; develop a robust profile of each of job, including key skills, growth expectations, benefits, and wages; and examine employer expectations for employment growth, education, and technical and non-technical skills. Each profile provides an in-depth understanding of what employers require for these high-growth occupations.

The research utilized current labor market information, as well as direct feedback from San Diego County employers through quantitative surveys, qualitative interviews and online panels.

The top 10 in-demand jobs by nominal growth in the next five years are:

·Personal financial advisers

·Securities, commodities, and financial service sales agents

·Management analysts

·Registered nurses

·Office clerks, general

·Medical secretaries

*Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks

·Receptionists and information clerks

·Market research analysts and marketing specialists

·Accountants and auditors

Across the board, employers indicated that written and verbal communication were the most valued skills. In addition, employers want employees to arrive with strong customer service skills and the ability to manage and supervise people. Employers were generally less willing to train new employees to develop these non-technical skills.

That is not to say that employers do not place value on technical skills. In fact, employers indicated that the top two applicant deficiencies were training specific to occupation (30 percent) and relevant work experience (28 percent).

“An emphasis on skills development is vital for workforce growth,” said Peter Callstrom, president and CEO of SDWP. “But we need our employers to accept the call-to-action to engage with training providers to develop programs that will adequately prepare the current and future workforce to meet their needs.”

Career counselors are using the In-Demand Jobs data to assist job seekers and students in identifying opportunities and training programs necessary for employment. Employers have the opportunity to work with educational institutions and career centers, such as the America’s Job Centers of California, and voice which skills and programs they value and should be taught to job seekers.

The report also identified some general trends. San Diego County employers will continue to add workers at a consistent but not overly-exuberant rate in early 2014. Employers that have at least one of the 50 in-demand occupations expect to grow about 2 percent over the next 12 months. Employers of construction occupations are also expecting to increase hiring over the next 12 months, bringing to a close six years of job losses. A few occupations, such as laborers and equipment operators, are expected to see more than five percent growth in the short-term.

Long-term forecasted growth expectations for certain occupations have different short-term employer growth expectations. For instance, occupations such as network and computer systems administrators and management analysts are expected to grow considerably over the next five years by most occupational models, but are actually expected to decline in the short-term based on employer feedback.

The SDWP Research Department will be presenting the In-Demand Jobs report at America’s Job Centers throughout San Diego County, starting March 6 at the South Metro Career Center. For more information, go to http://workforce.org/news/demand-jobs-presentation-highlight-workforce-trends. Employers and job seekers are encouraged to attend.

-Ngo is research manager for the San Diego Workforce Partnership. She manages the labor market research department, which analyzes workforce needs and trends that are used by educators, trainers, employers and researchers.

The San Diego Workforce Partnership has funded regional job training programs since 1974 and is chartered by the county of San Diego and the city of San Diego under a Joint Powers Agreement. The SDWP will deploy approximately $35 million this year to fund job training programs that enable adults and youth to develop the skills and knowledge needed for careers that are in demand.

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