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Job opportunities ahead: Bookkeepers, nurses, lab technicians
02/12/2010From the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating board
Learn more about the Workforce Board's Skill Gap Analysis
SKILL GAP: NEW REPORT PREDICTS SHORTAGES IN KEY OCCUPATIONS
OLYMPIA -- Washington is going to need more bookkeepers, nurses, lab technicians,
and aircraft mechanics in the coming years. And while the recession has slowed demand
for all occupations, demand for mid-skill jobs could once again outstrip supply by
2013, according to a state analysis.
A new Skill Gap Analysis from the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board
(Workforce Board) compares future demand for occupations with how many workers are
currently being prepared in Washington through public and private colleges and apprenticeship
programs. This information provides insight as to which occupational fields should
be recruiting new students and increasing educational capacity.
The Workforce Board’s research focuses on jobs that require at least one year of post-high
school education and training but do not require a bachelor’s degree—an essential
but sometimes overlooked slice of the job market referred to as mid-level jobs. These
jobs typically pay well
and often come with benefits, offering Washington residents the chance to earn a living
Topping the list of occupations facing shortages are categories such as accounting
and bookkeeping, health care, and installation, maintenance and repair of equipment.
These are the fields where demand (job openings) will most likely outpace the supply
of newly prepared workers as the economy recovers. The largest potential undersupply
will be in bookkeepers,
accounting assistants and other accounting professionals with a projected average
annual gap of 1,350 between 2012 and 2017.
In general, demand for mid-level workers is not expected to recover to pre-recession
levels until 2013—when projected demand for new mid-level workers will be 8 percent
above current output.
Some occupations, such as nursing, are in short supply of trained applicants even
in this recession. Nurses will continue to be in high demand even though Washington
currently produces over 3,000 new nurses per year. If Washington's community colleges
and private schools continue to produce the same number of nurses they do now, the
projects an average supply/demand gap of over 1,000 per year between 2012 and 2017.
High unemployment resulting from the recession has put at least one category of skill
shortage in question.
"We had a shortage of skilled construction workers before the recession hit and our
projection shows we might have another shortage in upcoming years, but it does not
account for the great number of currently unemployed workers in the trades who will
be willing and able to return to
work when the economy recovers,” said Rick Bender, President of the Washington State
Labor Council and a member of the Workforce Board.
Still, the skill gap analysis has been useful in helping recruit students and expand
programs when needed. For instance, in the late 1990s, the Workforce Board identified
that Washington suffered from an acute shortage of Information Technology professionals.
In response, the State Board for
Community and Technical Colleges directed funding from the Legislature to boost the
number and capacity of IT programs. Today, Washington’s production and demand in that
occupation is basically in balance.
"While no one has a perfect crystal ball, our analysis at least gives us some tools
to anticipate where the shortages might occur before they represent a serious drag
on our economy. Washington’s employers not only require a skilled workforce but a
workforce with enough of the
right skills,” said Mike Hudson, a project manager with the Association of Washington
Business and member of the Workforce Board.
The Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board is a partnership of labor,
business and government, dedicated to helping Washington residents obtain and succeed
in family-wage jobs, while meeting employers' needs for skilled workers
Find out moreFind out more about training for accounting careers. Watch our video.
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