Survey Finds U.S. Faces Critical Gap in Workforce Development Skills and Talent to Attract Corporate Expansion Projects

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Workforce development skills and talent shortages are viewed as more critical in the United States than other countries by corporations seeking to expand to new locations, according to the newly released 2015 Workforce Skills and Talents survey conducted by the Site Selectors Guild (SSG).

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Skills and talent issues have always been, and continue to be, an issue for site selection, but the gap is viewed as more critical in the U.S. than in Europe or Asia.

Workforce development skills and talent shortages are viewed as more critical in the United States than other countries by corporations seeking to expand to new locations, according to the newly released 2015 Workforce Skills and Talents survey conducted by the Site Selectors Guild (SSG).

SSG is the world’s largest association of business location experts whose combined membership leads corporate location projects valued at more than $30 billion in annual capital expenditures and thousands of new jobs globally each year. The survey findings were released at the organization’s recent Fall Forum held in Philadelphia.

“Skills and talent issues have always been, and continue to be, an issue for site selection, but the gap is viewed as more critical in the U.S. than in Europe or Asia," said Phil Schneider, chairman of the SSG board. “The availability of skills and talent is highly variable from location to location depending upon the skill required. As site selection consultants, we are often able to find those clusters of talent in the quantities and at the costs that will make a particular company’s business profitable. We are also on top of government policies that can help ensure a reasonably secure talent supply."

The 2015 SSG Workforce Skills and Talent Survey identified the following economic development trends and insights:

  • Skills and talent availability are critical to the site selection decision.
  • Skill and talent shortages are both global and local, but there are significant perceived differences in the skills gap globally. Specifically, the skills and talent gap is viewed as more critical in the U.S. than in Europe and Asia.
  • Skilled crafts and STEM backgrounds have the greatest shortages.
  • Process manufacturing and technical manufacturing (often known as “Advanced Manufacturing”) are the most affected.
  • Community or technical college and apprenticeship programs can set regions apart in the short-term.
  • Addressing long-term structural gaps starts in the primary education system.

“Economic development professionals need to work with local educational, community and government leaders to emphasize and improve local technical education, training and apprenticeship offerings to increase the availability of in-demand talent and meet ever-evolving needs,” Schneider continued. “By listening to the needs of – and working directly with – local business, we can help close these skills gaps and boost domestic economic growth.”

“Based upon the success of SSG’s annual site selection trends survey, we decided to conduct additional surveys of our membership in key areas related to corporate expansion and site selection,” said Schneider. “We selected the talent and workforce availability and development issue because it is typically the most important location selection variable across nearly all industries and companies. And, given growth and demographic trends, it has become a pressing issue in today’s global economy. Corporate leaders responsible for their company’s location investment decisions will benefit from these survey findings and the economic development community will gain insights into what corporations need and want in a location.”

A copy of the survey results can be found at http://www.siteselectorsguild.com/themes/site_themes/ssg/uploads/Skills.pdf.

About The Site Selectors Guild

The Site Selectors Guild is a professional association comprised of the world's leading site selection consultants. The mission of The Site Selectors Guild is to advance the profession of international corporate site selection by promoting the profession and providing education, networking and other services to those involved in the industry. All members of The Site Selectors Guild have been nominated and approved by their industry peers. As the first and only group of its kind, the Site Selectors Guild brings together a dynamic network of site selectors from around the world, combining their talent and expertise to create an invaluable resource, unmatched in its quality, for both corporations seeking site selection assistance and economic development organizations.

For more information, visit http://www.siteselectorsguild.com.

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Lara Kretler
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Phil Schneider
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