Shawn Wright| Crain’s Custom Media
The supply and demand for Michigan’s IT, engineering and skilled trades careers is at a disproportionate level.
And it’s not due to a lack of available positions, according to hiring indicator data taken from job portal website Careerbuilder.com.
“If a company wants to move to Michigan, one question they often ask is, ‘What about the workforce? Can we get the workers we need?’” said Colby Cesaro, director of research for the Workforce Intelligence Network.
The answer, though, doesn’t bode well for those businesses.
For example, the state’s IT sector has the largest dearth of available employees. Between January 2012 and December 2013, there were 5,365 active IT job candidates (those who posted resumes through Career Builder) and more than 24,300 job postings for related IT positions.
Those numbers are used to create a hiring level indicator on a range from 0-100. A lower number indicates it’s hard to hire (few job seekers and lots of postings) while a higher number means it’s easy to hire (fewer postings than job seekers).
The IT position was at a subpar 24.
A majority of the jobs needed are for software developers, Cesaro said, a relatively new career, considering that software development wasn’t even an occupation code in most government data sources until early 2000. With more people carrying smart phones, and websites needing mobile versions, Cesaro relates this new tech frontier to the invention of the cotton gin.
“All of a sudden, this new thing popped up and people had to learn how to use it,” Cesaro said. “We’re not even a decade into software development and applications of these devices being popular. We’re really trying to play catch up with people who can do this job. And we don’t have the talent to do it yet.”
Engineering followed IT with a somewhat better hiring indicator of 32, according to the data. But between January 2012 and December 2013, there were 25,610 active job seekers on Career Builder, compared to 87,776 job postings. Again, the amount of engineers in the job portal’s talent pool were nowhere near what was needed by employers.
“One thing we’ve noticed as we (at WIN) dig deeper into the data, is that the majority of the engineering job postings are for experienced engineers such as 8-10 years,” Cesaro said. “And although we have a lot of engineers graduating, the postings want something more.”
It doesn’t mean there aren’t jobs available for engineering college grads, she said, because there are plenty available. It’s just that most online postings are for more experienced engineers.
The final hiring indicator for skilled trades was still disproportionate, albeit not as much the previous two. Between the same time period on Career Builder, there were 1,424 active job seekers compared to 3,435 job postings. But there’s a reason for that.
“The skilled trades, for example manufacturing, is not a traditional online posting kind of job,” Cesaro said. “We hear from employers that they need more than we’re seeing in the online postings. We assume that a lot of is it aligned with hiring halls, union agreements and things like that.”
Although Career Builder’s data is just a snapshot of one website’s job and employer seekers, it paints a larger picture of the dire need for current and future employees.
“What this tells us is that there are so many job postings out there,” Cesaro said, “but there is a disconnect between supply and demand.”