INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has released its annual employer workforce survey. The chamber says employers are “aggressively taking proactive steps” to solving workforce challenges, as the survey shows increased work-based learning opportunities and changes in recruitment and hiring practices to focus more on skills and competencies.
The survey was conducted over a two-week period in mid-September with 937 employers from a variety of industries responding.
“For years, we have heard leaders in the business community lament the lack of skilled employees to meet their workforce needs,” Indiana Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Brinegar said in a news release. “It appears they are now tackling the issue head-on, offering additional opportunities to attract talent for today and tomorrow.”
Respondents showed increases in work-based learning opportunities compared to the previous year, including student site visits, job shadowing, high school internships, college internships and apprenticeships and long-term training programs.
Additionally, 43% of employers said they partner with schools or other training providers to develop talent, compared with 34% a year ago.
Such efforts have led to decreases in key areas for employers. Only 37% cited workforce needs as their biggest or one of their biggest challenges, compared to 80% just two years ago. Additionally, 45% said they had jobs left unfilled due to underqualified applicants, compared to 49% last year.
“Following the familiar playbook wasn’t working previously and certainly won’t in the recovery from COVID-19,” said Jason Bearce, vice president for education and workforce policy at the chamber. “New issues have emerged, and new collaborative strategies must be embraced.”
However, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an impact on employers. The survey says 22% of respondents had to decrease their workforce due to the pandemic and 35% of those say they will not return to pre-COVID employment level.
Forty-three percent of employers say they will use employees to perform additional duties, while 18% will retrain employees and 12% will automate more job functions.
“With more than 40% of employers saying they expect to have employees perform additional job functions next year, and a fifth saying they have already transitioned employees to utilize their skills in other roles, employers will need to invest in their existing workforce in the coming months to help navigate these changes,” said Bill Turner, executive director of Skillful Indiana.
Overall, 41% of employers expect the size of their workforce to increase over the next 1-2 years, which is down from 45% in 2019 and 56% in 2018.
You can connect to the full survey results by clicking here.