Chamber Survey: Small Businesses Most Concerned About Workforce Quality

Jul 27, 2018

Brittney Hunt is part of the Florida Chamber of Commerce governmental affairs team. She advocates for legislative issues including education reform, investments in the talent pipeline, and healthcare policies.
Credit Florida Chamber of Commerce

Business owners in Florida are worried about the quality of the state’s workforce.

A survey by the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council shows an ongoing trend of employers being concerned about finding enough skilled and educated workers.

The third quarter survey of 2018 was conducted June 13th through July 13th. 129 responses were received.

The top issues facing Florida small businesses today according to the survey:

  1. Workforce Quality – 29%
  2. Economic Uncertainty – 14%
  3. Government Regulations – 9%
  4. Lawsuit Abuse – 9%
  5. Healthcare Costs – 6%
  6. Growth Management Issues – 6%

Workforce quality has been the top concern in the quarterly survey for the last year and a half.

We spoke with the Chamber’s Brittney Hunt about what the findings could mean for the state’s economy.

HUNT: I think our employers both large and small are being kept up at night wondering if they’re going to be able to find qualified talent to be employees of their business but also to grow their business. We look at talent in workforce as one of the main economic incentives and drivers of our economy here in Florida.

WFSU: In June, Florida’s jobless rate was 3.8 percent. That’s a very low unemployment rate. What are some things that businesses might do now to try to lure workers with such a low jobless rate?

HUNT: We’re working closely with CareerSource, and apprenticeships are kind of the topic du jour at the state level.

WFSU: Do you think that at this point we have enough workers that are reaching a high enough level of education to support the businesses?

HUNT: Our foundation is researching constantly, and one of the projects that they’ve been working on for the past couple of years is called Florida 2030. Within that large cornerstone research project has been a report called Jobs 2030. In it, we’ve actually advocated for 60 percent attainment, which is some type of attainment of degree or qualified credential.

60 percent is a really high number, but I think it’s doable. Not everybody’s got to go to college. Four year degrees are great, but when we look at (vocational technical schools), it’s perfectly doable. We just need to kind of open up the definition of attainment.