South Carolina has an estimated 80,000 open jobs, according to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.
The majority of the jobs are in the food and accommodations industry, which was hit most severely this past year, and manufacturing, S.C. Chamber of Commerce CEO Bob Morgan said. Both are the leading industries in the state.
To better understand why employers are struggling to fill roles, the S.C. Chamber of Commerce has created a Workforce Development Survey and is asking employers across the state to respond.
“The goal is to better understand what the needs of our employers are,” Morgan said. “In the state and around the entire country, there’s a real shortage of talent and some of that is related to a decline in workforce participation.”
The survey includes four questions, including two meant to gauge how concerned employers are with the current shortage.
A third key question asks employers to rank their workforce concerns in order of importance, whether it’s applicant shortages, aging workforce, lack of soft skills, high turnover or a talent gap.
“Employers have an appetite to hire more people,” Morgan said. “We want to better understand what are the skillsets and needs that employers are looking for so we, not just as a chamber, but we as a state can try to make sure that we’re matching our educational resources to the needs of the employers’ skillset needs for today and for the future.”
Having begun his role as CEO on April 1, Morgan said he understands he still has much to learn about the state and its economy. But the one thing he says with certainty is South Carolina is poised for growth, which is what attracted him to the state in the first place.
“South Carolina is in a position to get more than its fair share of that population growth… As people move to South Carolina, jobs will follow. As jobs move to South Carolina, people will follow,” he said. “It’s a virtuous cycle, but one of the fortunate things about being a growing state.”
Morgan thinks the next 10 years will be both exciting and significant in terms of strong economic growth.
The survey results will be compiled and used in October to help the chamber plan a Workforce Development Symposium. Results will project key workforce topics and other sessions for the symposium.