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In MOmentum survey, employers continue to report hiring challenges

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The city of Springfield and Missouri Job Center yesterday released the results of the fifth-annual MOmentum State of the Workforce survey.

Before a crowd of 325 people at White River Conference Center, Mary Ann Rojas, Springfield’s Workforce Development director, acknowledged this year’s survey results have many similarities to last year’s. Hiring difficulties were mentioned as one of the area’s mirroring the 2018 survey, with 67 percent of respondents reporting struggles filling positions over the past 12 months. Last year’s response was 66 percent.

“The secret ingredient to a strong workforce is finding qualified talent,” Rojas said. “But the real way to make a difference is to start preparing tomorrow’s workforce by providing our children with a solid education today.”

Data from the confidential survey cover areas such as recruitment, employee retention, education and workforce readiness. Its results allow the Missouri Job Center to assess needs of employers, and identify issues and challenges in the workforce of the seven-county region it serves.

According to the survey, the top three reasons employers are facing hiring challenges are a lack of relevant work experience, at 36 percent, insufficient number of applicants, 34 percent, and lack of relevant technical or occupational skills, 30 percent. In 2018’s survey, the same responses also ranked in the top three.

A total of 506 completed surveys were reported for 2019, down from 575 responses in 2018, said Katherine Trombetta, Missouri Job Center business services specialist. She attributed the drop-off to a later start than usual to get the survey available online in mid-November 2018, which shortened the time to accumulate responses.

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