Big Data Speaks Up for Soft Skills

Ask employers what they seek in new hires and “soft skills” rise to the top. Yes, it is a squishy buzz word but it covers a lot of what matters, including communication, teamwork, creativity and problem solving. For the new grads from our colleges, this is good news — they can show that they’ve got what today’s hiring managers want.

Don’t buy it? Start with the hard data. Sara Johnson, employer and alumni relations manager at Concordia College, has looked at full-time job postings from the last two years for new bachelor’s degree holders in our five-state area. Using TalentNeuron Recruit, a big-data tool that pulls together and analyzes job postings, Johnson’s search identified more than 390,000 postings in that period. She looked specifically at the skills required.

“When you look at the most listed skills, both hard and soft ones, almost all are soft skills,” she said. “These are really people skills. Employers are looking for a good quality candidate with problem solving abilities who can be creative, who can be analytical and who can take that information and articulate it.”

The top sought skill was oral and written communication. “That’s always number one. Looking at our data from job postings, we see demand for communications skills is two times more in demand than any other skill,” Johnson said. “It is about that ability to articulate ideas and information; it is extremely useful across all industries. If you dive in to what it means, it gets at expressing yourself in all sorts of ways.”

Ten of the top skills sought in new hires with bachelor’s degrees

Skill
# of postings that mentioned skill
Oral and written communications 148,238
Marketing 68,820
Detail-oriented 57,632
Problem solving 57,192
Integrity 43,938
Organizational skills 43,486
Creativity 40,049
Work independently 35,847
Self-starting / self-motivated 34,784
Team-oriented 33,721
Source: TalentNeuron Recruit

Data for period from May 31, 2015 to May 31, 2017 for full-time, entry-level positions for those with bachelor’s degrees in Minnesota and bordering states

Good news for grads

For college students who’ve been immersed in coursework and campus experiences and apprehensive about moving into the job market, this is a rare view into what employers are seeking. “For a student, they often don’t give themselves enough credit for those skill sets that they bring,” Johnson said. “So it is important to see the value of those skill sets — ones like integrity, working independently and working in a team.”

From Johnson’s perspective, students at Concordia College and Minnesota’s other private colleges have benefitted from educations focused on the liberal arts with opportunities for invaluable hands-on experiences, from internships to undergraduate research.

“The liberal arts colleges really have an advantage in helping students develop these high demand skill sets and preparing them for the workforce,” she said. “There’s always a transition — when you’re a new employee. These soft skills, they’re people skills and they give an advantage to liberal arts students, helping them be productive sooner. That’s a huge value to an employer, they’re a quick learner.”

And looking down the road, with the labor force expecting significant changes as more Baby Boomer retirements happen, the importance of these soft skills will only grow, Johnson predicts. With her analysis of the recent job postings for new college graduates, she also looked for where expectations are changing. The strongest increase was in management and leadership skills.

When employers hire new grads they worry about what soft skills are missing, as research has shown. Hiring managers were most concerned about a lack of critical thinking skills in recent grads. Next up was attention to detail and then communication. So as students apply for those first post-graduation positions, these data about the importance of soft skills can help them prepare. Johnson recommends students highlight these skills on their resumes and prepare to speak up during interviews about their experiences using these skills.

New graduates have what employers are seeking — now’s the time to be sure they let the decision makers know.

By John Manning

John Manning is the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Minnesota Private Colleges Council, a partner of RealTime Talent.

Successes of 2017

RealTime Talent closed 2017 with a large and growing impact on Minnesota’s education-workforce ecosystem. Here are a few of the accomplishments from 2017 that we are proud of:

  • Created a movement to align talent development, workforce services and Minnesota’s labor market
    • RealTime Talent developed 21 career pathway guidance reports in Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources, Finance, and Business, Finance, & Administration for Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Perkins Consortia, rolling new demand-oriented approaches to career decision making across Minnesota State and CTE secondary programs. Over 2,000 students in Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources career pathways across Minnesota State, in secondary CTE tracks, and participating in Future Farmers of America received reports filled with data from TalentNeuron Recruit to be used in career planning; 80% of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources educators across Minnesota State received the same CTE reports to use in their classrooms and were connected with local, trained TalentNeuron Recruit users.
  • Established RTT as a recognized leader and resource for driving the use of real-time data analytics to align talent development and workforce services with Minnesota’s labor market
    • 98 organizations and institutions of higher education that work with students, job-seekers, or employers received access to TalentNeuron Recruit and training.
    • Between 345-415 people currently use TalentNeuron Recruit regularly in service to students, job-seekers, or employers.  Broader reach of potential license use is estimated at about 800-900 people.
    • Over 75 unique training sessions in the TalentNeuron Recruit data tool have been held this year to date, with over 240 people participating.
  • Ensured the daily decisions and services of education and workforce providers are guided by current data and comparative analysis
    • Working with Job Seekers
      • 100% of workforce centers and employment services providers that shared data with us in our recent survey said that they use TalentNeuron Recruit data directly with job-seekers in the past 6 months.
      • Between 1,385 and 2,015 job-seekers statewide received job search assistance that included data from TalentNeuron Recruit in the past 6 months.
    • Working with Students
      • In the past 6 months, about 715 students (10% of all students served by partners sharing their usage) directly received career or academic advice from TalentNeuron Recruit data over the past 6 months.
    • Research, Curriculum, Program, and Economic Development
      • 68% of partners using TalentNeuron Recruit for research and workforce analytics found that it led to greater knowledge of local or regional workforce needs over the past 6 months.
      • 57% of users that are involved in curriculum development said use of TNR “increased alignment of curriculum to employer needs” over the past 6 months.
  • Improved the results and longevity of sector-based collaborations in meeting employer demand by integrating RTT tools and outreach
    • Working with Job Seekers
      • A reported 356 job-seekers developed an improved understanding of how to express their skills, experience, and education as a result of advice based in data from TalentNeuron Recruit in the past 6 months.
    • Working with Students
      • A reported 605 students developed an improved understanding of how to express their skills, experience, and education as a result of advice based in data from TalentNeuron Recruit over the past 6 months.
      • 66% of users working directly with students said use of TalentNeuron Recruit “increased student awareness of opportunities” over the past 6 months.
      • 53% of users working directly with students said use of TNR “increased the frequency of use of labor market data with students” over the past 6 months.
    • Research, Curriculum, Program, and Economic Development
      • 80% of partners in economic development said use of new labor market data “increased knowledge of current workforce trends” over the past 6 months.
      • 50% of partners in economic development said use of new labor market data led to “increased total number of employers engaged” over the past 6 months.
      • 56% of partners in economic development said use of new labor market data led to “improved knowledge of hiring needs of employers” over the past 6 months.

New Year, New Location, Same Mission

The new year marks several exciting new beginnings for RealTime Talent.

We are pleased to announce that we completed our transition and are now operating as a public-private collaborative program within the Minnesota Chamber Foundation. We are thankful for the generosity and support of The Saint Paul and Minnesota Community Foundations that we have called home for the first two years of RealTime Talent’s existence.  The Saint Paul and Minnesota Community Foundations have provided a firm platform for our work to advance workforce alignment across Minnesota.  We look forward to continuing this important work with the MN Chamber Foundation, driving a statewide strategy to bring businesses, education providers, workforce planning, and economic development efforts together to better align education and training pathways to meet Minnesota’s workforce needs.

We also welcome our new Executive Director, Deb Broberg, to the RealTime Talent team.  Deb comes to RealTime Talent from a successful 25+ year career with Northwest Airlines and Wells Fargo where she held positions with responsibility for Inflight Operations, Talent Acquisition, Learning & Development, and Talent Management.  During her tenure with Wells Fargo she gained a keen appreciation for the importance of talent management and workforce planning.

Deb received her MA from the University of Minnesota’s HRIR program and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Macalester College.  She serves on the board of the Human Resources Executive Council and has had a longstanding interest in education and the critical need to plan for future market needs when considering options for post-secondary education and training.  Deb is active on the Alumni Board for Macalester College as co-chair of the career development committee, and served on the Carlson School of Management Undergraduate Advisory Board for nine years, where she gained insight on the early Itasca Project research which fueled her interest in workforce readiness for the state of Minnesota.

Deb brings a strong sense of community, commitment, and collaboration to RealTime Talent.  Deb is originally from Minnesota and spent her youth in multiple geographies as the daughter of a military family.

You can reach us at our new address at the MN Chamber is 400 Robert Street N, #1500, Saint Paul, MN 55101, or www.realtimetalent.org.   We look forward to working with you in the new year and beyond!

As Labor Shortage Looms, Metro Workforce Planning Ramps Up

The 7-county Minneapolis-Saint Paul region faces a worker shortage of over 62,000 by 2020. RealTime Talent and MSP Win are bringing new research to the table to help workforce planners mobilize around our current and future needs, an essential step if we are to maintain our region’s growth and competitiveness.

Workforce development professionals must be able to quickly support each jobseeker to identify and train for the career they aspire to; using data analytics on a regular basis creates stronger coordination between organizations and the best results for both jobseekers and employers.
In the last few years, a range of online analytical tools have enabled a clear view of our dynamic and constantly changing labor market. For the first time, this data is available to job counselors not just as information for reflection, but as a real-time action tool to direct jobseekers to the best opportunities.

We have developed a series of Sector Analysis Reports – a regional overview document and its one-page profiles of IT, manufacturing, construction, healthcare, business and financial services, and government – to provide an analytical methodology to know and react to demand, supply, and training program outcomes. In other words, these tools can help us more efficiently close the worker gap. We hope that you see value in this data and decide to replicate this kind of analysis in your own sectors and communities.

We believe workforce development must now be based on a real-time feedback loop. If you don’t know the analytics and if you can’t easily answer the top two jobseeker questions in an informed way, you can’t advise jobseekers well and you can’t help close the gap. So let’s start doing things differently.

Read, download, or print the full reports here, or take a look at the Information Technology sector overview report here.

Hispanics and Latinos in the Workforce

September 15th through October 15th is National Hispanic Heritage Month.  Hispanic and Latino people began to arrive to Minnesota in significant numbers in the early 1900’s.  Currently, over 280,000 Hispanic and Latinos reside in Minnesota.  This infographic details the impact our Hispanic and Latino population has on our state and the workforce.

 

 

To download a PDF copy of this graphic, click here.

IT Jobs Continue in High Demand Across Industries

Our newest infographic highlights some of the latest trends in Information Technology–including the top soft skills, character traits, and computer skills that employers are looking for in new candidates.  Take a look to see what employers are demanding from today’s Minnesota job seekers and get a sense of how much this field is expected to grow by 2024.

 

Know another language? Bilingual jobs are on the rise in Minnesota

If English isn’t your only language, you can find some great opportunities that leverage your unique skills

 

¿Se Habla Español? Chances are good that you do, because speaking a language other than English is at an all-time high in the United States.

As of 2015, one in five Americans—nearly 62 million people—speak a language other than English at home, an increase of 50 percent since 1990 (U.S. Census Bureau).  Here in Minnesota, the number of people speaking more than one language has been on a steady rise, and now nearly 12 percent of prime working age adults speak a language other than English at home (U.S. Census Bureau).  And this population is fairly well-educated. Over half (54 percent) have an associate degree or higher or at least some college.  Classrooms are seeing a dramatic rise in linguistic diversity as well, with 75 percent of Minneapolis classrooms having at least one student speaking a language other than English, according to data from Minneapolis Public Schools. Considering that multilingualism is expected to keep growing in Minnesota, it’s more important now than ever to bring this linguistic diversity into our workplaces.

In Minnesota, the most common languages are Spanish, Hmong, and the Cushite language family including Oromo, Somali, and Sidamo, but nationwide the largest increases have been among speakers of Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic.  These happen to also be the sought-after languages employers hire for, according to the Center for Immigration Studies and New American Economy.  In fact, bilingualism was one of the top five most in-demand hard skills in Minnesota in 2015 according to online job posting data (TalentNeuron Recruit).

These trends mean more job opportunities are opening up for bilingual workers in most states. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of online job postings targeting multilingual or bilingual workers more than doubled in Minnesota, matching trends nationwide.  However, since a peak in the summer of 2015, counts of job opportunities specifically indicating a need for multilingual workers has been on a moderate decline—despite overall counts of job opportunities continuing to rise.

Using TalentNeuron Recruit, we identified the most in-demand occupations for people with bilingual skills, as well as the top cities and companies where you can find these jobs. Explore the lists below to get a picture of the bilingual job landscape in Minnesota.

Top cities hiring bilingual workers

Most Minnesota jobs hiring bilingual and multilingual individuals are located in large metropolitan areas, where the populations themselves tend to be more diverse or growing substantially.

City Number of Bilingual Jobs available in July 2017

Percent of Total Local Jobs available in July 2017

1.    Minneapolis 668 1.8%
2.    Saint Paul 330 2%
3.    Bloomington 104 1.7%
4.    Saint Cloud 83 1.4%
5.    Minnetonka 68 1.7%
6.    Eden Prairie 59 1.1%
7.    Rochester 55 1.1%
8.    Mankato 47 1.7%
9.    Eagan 44 1%
10. Duluth 33 0.7%

Top companies hiring bilingual workers

These employers had the most job opportunities open in July for a bilingual skill set in Minnesota.

  1. Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc.
  2. Wells Fargo
  3. PromoWorks
  4. H&R Block
  5. The Valspar Corporation
  6. CrossMark
  7. U.S. Bank
  8. CSL Plasma
  9. Planned Parenthood
  10. Wireless Vision

Top jobs hiring bilingual workers

Sales and business development has the highest demand currently for bilingual workers, with 817 jobs available in Minnesota in this function area—up 30% from July of last year. These are the top occupations requiring bilingual skills in Minnesota (to the 8-digit SOC level).

  1. Customer Service Representatives
  2. Retail Salespersons
  3. Social and Human Services Assistants
  4. Tellers
  5. Supervisors of Non-Retail Sales Workers
  6. Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers
  7. Merchandise Displayers and Window Trimmers
  8. Registered Nurses
  9. Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support Workers
  10. Healthcare Support Workers

 

Want to read more on this topic? Let us know in the comments.

RealTime Talent to be Featured in Tonight’s Policy and a Pint in Hibbing, MN

RealTime Talent has been invited to participate in the first Policy and a Pint panel event ever to be held in Greater Minnesota. Sponsored by the Citizens League, Target, and MPR, RTT Executive Director Sandee Joppa will be speaking with Roy Smith (IRRRB) and Aaron Brown (instructor at Hibbing Community College and prolific blogger) at Ironworld in Hibbing. The theme of the event will be on the Minnesotan workforce environment. Although Minnesota has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, there is still room for improvement. What can be done to ensure that we have a strong workforce now, as well as in the future?

 

For more information, go to: http://www.thecurrent.org/events/2017/05/18/2425/policy–a-pint

To register for this free event, go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/policy-and-a-pint-talent-within-range-tickets-33934744735

Follow along on Twitter with #PolicyPint

[statictweets skin=”simplistic” resource=”usertimeline” user=”@RealTime_Talent” list=”” query=”” id=”” count=”5″ retweets=”on” replies=”on” ajax=”off” show=”username,screenname,avatar,time,actions,media”/]

RealTime Talent featured twice this month in local news

RealTime Talent has been featured in the StarTribune twice so far this month, along with several organizational partners that make use of our data tools. In the Viewpoints interview with Neal St. Anthony that ran on May 6th, Project for Pride in Living and Jason Bruns, director of the Minnesota Center for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence at Minnesota State University Mankato, were highlighted for how they use TalentNeuron Recruit with students and job-seekers.  Among those partners featured in the second article were the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the Itasca Project, and Aaron Corcoran who has supported the work of the many workforce centers and Minnesota State partners in the Twin Cities.

May 6th: RealTime Talent Believes Information Sharing can Help it Improve Minnesota’s Workforce

May 16th: Employers Getting Creative in the Hunt for Good Workers in Good Economy

Top Trending Entry-Level Healthcare Positions Focus on In-Home Care

It’s no secret that there is huge demand for Home Health Aides across the United States.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics put out a report early last year, and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) followed suit in June 2016 with their article, “H is for Home Health Aide.” But will these positions be attractive to future workers who will have increasingly more choice in our nation’s job market and are looking for opportunities that offer a living wage and professional advancement?  Maybe not, unless employers start changing what they offer.

As many Minnesotans age and require additional medical attention (the population of Minnesotans over 65 years of age will increase by more than 400,000 people between 2014 and 2024), the need for Healthcare Support Professionals is increasing rapidly. Couple that with a growing preference to receive care in the home rather than in a care facility, the demand for Home Health Aides is skyrocketing.  In 2016, there were approximately 27,550 Home Health Aides working in the state and 4,457 Home Health Aide job openings advertised online; the occupation ranks as the 21st most in-demand position and the 20th most common occupation in Minnesota today.  Demand is projected to grow by 30.1 percent (9,254 jobs) between 2014 and 2024–the third highest growth rate of any occupation in Minnesota. However, these positions offer some of the lowest salaries of any occupation in the healthcare industry, with a median wage of $24,944 and currently advertised positions only offering $20-26k as a starting salary–just barely hitting the threshold for a living wage for a single adult ($11.39 in Hennepin County).  There may be little incentive to encourage workers to take on these roles as the number of job opportunities begins to exceed the number of available workers in the laborforce.

We are already observing high rates of job vacancies in entry-level healthcare positions that require an Associate’s degree or less.  Online job postings in the Twin Cities Metro for low-experience, low-education Licensed Practical Nurses and Home Health Aides have increased more than 7% since 2015, dramatically greater than other entry-level healthcare opportunities.  Hennepin County was home to 24% of the state’s total entry-level healthcare positions in 2016.

As Minnesota continues to face changing demographics, how will employers respond to ensure that they attract the candidates they need? Hopefully, we will start to see rising wages for entry-level healthcare positions.

For more data on healthcare occupations at the Twin Cities and Statewide level, check out our reports page.

Twin Cities Healthcare Report, March 2017

Minnesota Healthcare Report, March 2017