Prove the Skills of your Workforce – October 2013

Availability and Cost of Skilled Labor

Area Development’s latest survey of corporate executives ranks Availability of Skilled Labor and Labor Costs as two of the top three factors in site selection. Site Selection Magazine’s latest annual survey of site selection consultants ranks the #1 item that they want to see on an economic development organization website is the “amount and currency of labor information.” The primary source of labor information is the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which has developed the Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) system. The BLS publishes employment and wage data on a quarterly basis for nearly 800 SOC occupations.

Site consultants and business executives want employment and wage information for an economic development project by occupation (machinist, actuary, computer network architect, etc.) not by occupational category (production, finance & insurance, information, etc.). You should provide labor information to consultants and executives that answer the following questions so that they can assess the availability and cost of skilled labor in your labor market.

• How many people in your labor market are employed by occupation?
• What are the wages for each occupation, preferably by the 10th, 25th, 50th (median), 75th, and 90th percentiles?
• How do these wages compare against the wages in your state and the nation?
• What are the postsecondary education and training programs available in your labor market to prepare workers and students for the occupations that are needed for this project?

To answer these questions, Smart Solutions Group (SSG) has developed a group of Skills Ready solutions using the most current data from the BLS and other data sources including Smart Solutions Group, which delivers current skill compatibility information by occupation:
• Skills Ready Profile – A report on the size of your labor market and target clusters/industries including employment and wage information for all SOC occupations in your targets.
• Skills Ready Model – An easy-to-use computer model for each of your target clusters/industries that enables a consultant, business executive, or an economic developer to enter the number of workers required by occupation for a project and immediately receive a report that shows current information on the labor availability and wages by occupation in your labor market.
• Skills Ready Wage & Salary Report – A report that provides employment and wage information for your labor market on all of the nearly 800 SOC occupations.

Our Skills Ready solutions have application beyond business recruitment and attraction marketing and sales. The following are ways that Skills Ready products can be utilized by economic developers:

1. Your economic development website will have current employment and wage data for targeted SOC occupations that can be accessed by site consultants, business prospects, and area businesses and entrepreneurs.

2. You can download the labor information from your website and include the information in proposals.

3. Current wage and salary information can be used by area employers to determine their future wage structures.

4. Economic developers can use the information during business retention and expansion calls with area companies to discuss:
• Employment trends in your labor market for total employment and for target clusters/industries,
• If an employer is having difficulty finding new employees, the labor availability and cost information can be used to determine if there is a lack of available labor or the employer’s wages are too low, and
• Potential degree and certificate programs that could be offered by postsecondary institutions in the area to increase the number of workers needed in specific occupations.

5. For economic development organizations that are users of the LocationOne Information System (LOIS), a link will be placed on your LOIS database that will link directly to your Skills Ready Model. This will enable site consultants and prospects to easily explore the availability of buildings and sites with the availability and cost of labor.

6. The Skills Ready Profile can be handed out at trade shows and on sales calls.

7. Scenarios for your target clusters/industries can be created using the Skills Ready Model and the output report information can be used in proposals and marketing programs.

8. The Skills Ready Model can be used on sales calls and at trade shows to demonstrate current labor availability and wages.

9. Skills Ready solutions provide essential information for developing a strategic plan for workforce development.

For further information on each of the SSG’s Skills Ready solutions, including actual examples, go to or you can contact Ed Andrews at

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