Employers Find Skills Shortage; Communication, Work Ethic and Critical Thinking Are among the Talents That Area Companies Find Lacking; BUSINESS

By Giegerich, Steve | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), August 9, 2012 | Go to article overview

Employers Find Skills Shortage; Communication, Work Ethic and Critical Thinking Are among the Talents That Area Companies Find Lacking; BUSINESS


Giegerich, Steve, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


St. Louis-area employers continue to see gaps in the skills that applicants bring to the interviewing process and new hires to the job.

The shortcomings, they say, are more glaring in so-called soft skills - communication, work ethic and critical thinking - than the specific knowledge required to succeed in a specific industry or job sector.

"Soft skills are a deciding factor," in hiring, said JoAnn Shaw, vice president and chief learning officer for BJC HealthCare. "We can teach the technical skills."

The lack of technical know-how, however, remains a source of concern for many area employers, according to the fourth annual State of St. Louis Workforce report issued Wednesday by St. Louis Community College and the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.

More than 75 percent of the respondents to the study reported being "forced to hire less experienced workers."

The consequence of inexperience is the on-the-job training offered by 96 percent of area companies and nonprofit groups.

The study additionally revealed that about a third of St. Louis area employers expect to increase hiring over the next 12 months. A majority of the 1,200 respondents said they have no intention of expanding payroll beyond the current level.

For the second consecutive year, uncertainty over the economy remains the single greatest impediment to hiring. …

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