A new report, “Great Jobs Within Our Reach,” just released by the Washington Roundtable and The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. reveals a large and growing gap between the number of open jobs in Washington and the number of skilled workers available in-state to fill those positions. If the state takes steps to fill the growing gap, it would mean 160,000 jobs across many sectors in Washington state by 2017.
According to the research:
- There are 25,000 “acute” unfilled jobs in Washington today – jobs that have been unfilled for three months or more due to a lack of qualified candidates. Eighty percent of these jobs are in high-demand health care and high-skill STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines such as computer science and engineering.
- The gap is projected to grow by another 5,000 jobs per year, reaching 50,000 jobs, by 2017. Ninety percent of those openings will be in health care and STEM roles.
- Due to the multiplier effect, filling the job skills gap will generate an additional 110,000 jobs in Washington across many sectors by 2017.
- Filling the job skills gap would generate $720 million in annual state tax revenues and $80 million in local tax revenues by 2017.
The report puts forward five recommendations for policymakers to address the job skills gap:
1. Increase computer science, engineering and health care capacity and throughput at colleges and universities in Washington.
2. Foster STEM interest and performance among K-12 students.
3. Improve alignment of technical degree and certificate curricula with employer demands.
4. Promote and enable in-bound migration of skilled workers from other states.
5. Support expansion of international immigration opportunities.
The report is available at www.waroundtable.com.