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Veronica Chiesi Brown,
Assistant Director,
Community Relations

Regional Employers Struggle to Fill Hundreds of Positions

Posted in All News, Labor Market Data, MCC News

Many choose to recruit within Greater Rochester, joint MCC survey finds

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – May 27, 2014 – As the national job market improves slightly for new college graduates, many Greater Rochester-area employers surveyed are experiencing a shortage of qualified candidates for at least 900 persistently unfilled positions — mostly at the middle-skill level — representing less than 5 percent of total occupied positions.

The findings from the latest Rochester Area Skill Needs Assessment and Business Climate Survey also showed that the occupations with the most persistently unfilled positions are in production, architecture and engineering, and construction fields.

The survey, conducted in December by Monroe Community College’s Economic Development and Innovative Workforce Services Division in collaboration with the Center for Governmental Research and the Rochester Business Journal, was developed to inform strategies in addressing workforce challenges and drive future MCC program development.

A total of 400 individuals from area businesses responded to the survey on topics covering skill needs, training and the business climate. The respondents represented advanced manufacturing, agriculture/food, business software/telecommunications, health care/life sciences, optics/photonics/imaging, and tourism industries. Questions were modified for the health care cluster to better gauge the industry’s skill needs, and the data are broken out in the report.

Some significant findings of the survey:

  • Most employers intend to hold the line on hiring, with more aiming to increase rather than decrease their workforce in the future. Fewer employers plan to reduce the size of their workforce, compared with results of the previous survey conducted in March 2013.
  • In using data collected from survey respondents to capture a broader picture of the labor market outlook, the report shows Finger Lakes region has an estimated 26,000 positions that are chronically difficult to fill across a range of occupations, less than 5 percent of total occupied positions. When recruiting job candidates, most employers say they seldom search outside the region. They feel that increasing salaries by 20 percent or less would attract a larger pool of job candidates for these positions.
  • Most of the persistently unfilled positions require short- or moderate-term training delivered on-site. Most common training topics are quality and customer service.
  • Employers in the health care field plan to provide on-site training for their workforce using internal talent. Ninety percent of respondents indicated they will provide training to their workforce within the next year. The three most frequently cited areas of training need include quality, customer service and HIPAA compliance.

MCC plans to conduct this survey twice a year to stay on top of changing workforce needs of local industries. Businesses interested in participating in future surveys can click here to opt-in.

Media Contact:
Hency Yuen-Eng
Marketing and Community Relations