Community Workforce Analytics – You have the data

Tech, energy, manufacturing...whatever the workforce needs, analytics can help a community attract and retain talent. Image by Flickr user Tech Jobs Tour

Without a prepared and available workforce, a community, county or state will slowly decline and ultimately die.  Why? Lacking a skilled workforce, a company cannot grow and compete. And if a company can’t grow and compete, it leaves, and the community suffers.  Ever hear someone say, “I can’t find a job” or a politician say, “We need to get jobs for our citizens” or a company say, “We can’t find the right workers”?  This persistent disconnect between the skills in a community and what a company needs is a big issue.  But what’s driving it? The most likely reasons are:

  • Local educational institutions are behind in what the local community needs
  • Companies have changed and the work skills needed have surpassed a local community’s capacity
  • Would-be employees need to be retrained…upskilled…to meet the new requirements
  • Politicians have a tendency to only see the issue and not understand the underlying cause therefore passing legislation that may actually be hurting more than helping

How do you overcome this disconnect?  Data analytics! However, analytics is only useful if you understand the bigger picture.

There is a natural ebb and flow of business in a community. 80% of all job growth comes from a community’s existing employers; the remaining 20% transpires through the recruitment of new industry.  Yet we spend 80% of our time chasing the 20%.  The end goal is to have both the workforce and their wages grow as companies grow, as this ensures a community’s long-term sustainability.  However, where does a government focus its limited resources to ensure job and skills growth?  It starts by understanding the state’s employment assets --where the 80% of job growth occurs.  Communities and states need to be able to answer these questions:

  • Who are the current employers?
  • Where are they located?
  • What kind of work do they do (manufacturing, white collar, retail, etc.)?
  • What kind of workers do they employ (technical, advanced manufacturing, etc.)?
  • Are these industries sectors growing or declining?
  • What are the average wages?
  • Are educational institutions training to this workforce need?

When government can answer these questions, it can see why employees cannot find a job. Also, education institutions are able to align their curriculum to better support the growing industries, and politicians can implement better policies.

Simple fix, right? Not so much. Typically, the data currently being used for this analytics is dated (3-10 years old), it is not readily available (multiple sources) and correlating it is a nightmare (it is not all in the same format).  Further, most of the analytics takes place in Excel spreadsheets and at some point we just do not have the skills or, more importantly, the time to manage it all.

Things are changing.  Government is beginning to ask, how can we better use our data to help our citizens? It is beginning to see the value of real-time analytics and, more importantly, that it actually has the needed data for such analytics.

Imagine no longer using old data or managing complicated spreadsheets.  Imagine being able to see where your workforce is, where they are coming from, the type of workforce you have and if it is growing or declining.  Imagine the alignment that can develop between corporate and community needs.

When we use old data it is like driving a car looking through the rearview mirror…cumbersome and slow, and you only see where you were.  Using real-time, or near real-time data, changes that perspective. No longer are we looking at what we were but are now looking at where we are.  When we understand where we are, we can build an effective road map on where we want to go.

Please download the white paper, How to Apply Analytics to Government Workplace Challenges to learn more.




About Author

Rodney Carson

Principal Engagement Manager, SAS Security Intelligence Practice

Rodney Carson guides state and local governments as they implement analytics to combat fraud and tackle security intelligence issues. For 25 years he has helped non-profit, state and local government and Fortune 40 corporations with economic development and business/organizational structuring challenges. Rodney holds a double major in international business and business finance, as well as a master’s in business administration

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