A new report by the Washington Roundtable and the Boston Consulting Group Inc. concludes that there is a large and growing gap between the number of open jobs in Washington state and the number of skilled workers available in the state to fill those positions.
If the state takes steps to fill the growing gap, it would mean 160,000 jobs across many sectors by 2017, according to the report.
The report, titled "Great Jobs Within Our Reach,"
also concluded that:
- 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 would 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.
"These data make one thing clear: Washington has great jobs. It simply doesn't have the skilled workers to fill those jobs and that is a drag on productivity and state economic growth," said Joel Janda, partner and managing director for the Boston Consulting Group.
Dan Fulton, chairman of the Washington Roundtable and CEO of Federal Way, Wash.-based Weyerhaeuser Co., called on all stakeholders to "build upon existing programs and develop new programs to find workers for these high-skilled jobs."
"Both the private and public sectors have a role to play to provide a sustainable output of workers to meet the demand for this growing challenge," Fulton said in a news release.