Florida Chamber Foundation’s new Metro Skills Report for the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area looks at today’s workforce shortages and overages from a fresh perspective to identify highly paid jobs that are likely to be in demand going forward – and the skill sets needed to get them.
The report identified four target career areas with severe imbalances between jobs available and people looking for jobs: Healthcare; education, curation and library services; business/finance; and information technology/math.
That healthcare should top the list is no surprise. Shortages of general practitioners, mental health workers, nurses and other medical professionals have long plagued South Florida’s healthcare community. Right now, said Jerry Parrish, Florida Chamber Foundation’s chief economist, the demand-supply gap for jobs in this field in the Miami metro area is -127,276, with a median salary of $70,360 among advertised jobs.
“We’re going to face a large physician shortage across the state,” he said. “Right now Florida has 4 million residents 65 and over. By 2030 we will add an additional 4 million residents, a high percentage of them also retired. It’s the graying of America. Nobody anywhere is prepared.”
The local target area combining education, curation and library services shows a demand-supply gap of -89,184, with a median advertised salary of $70,384. A gap of -84,732 in the business and finance target area pushes the median advertised salary to $68,021. And the demand-supply gap of -23,980 for jobs requiring information technology and math skills translates to a median advertised salary of $90,152.
At the other end of the scale, applicants for jobs in hospitality, recreation and personal services outnumber available openings by 186,449.
“This is a one-of-a-kind report for the state of Florida,” Dr. Parrish said. “We used to forecast by industry. That’s okay for talking to kids in middle school or high school, but for adults already in the job market we realized we needed to look at occupations – their pay scales and what skills they require – so they can see what their opportunities are, and schools and colleges can provide the appropriate training.”
With the conviction that future economic development and diversification depends on matching the right skills with the right job opportunities, the Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, looks 20 to 30 years into the future to come up with solutions.
The labor market is just that – a market – Dr. Parrish said. “In the future, the labor force is going to be tied not to degrees but to skills. If you have good skills, you will be paid for them.”
To prepare the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach report, economists first sorted the area’s workforce into similarly skilled categories called “career areas” rather than industries, then ranked them by volume of supply shortages or overages.
Core competencies and highly sought-after skills for each target career area were evaluated so that transitioning workers can prioritize their educational goals and increase their chances of prosperity in the job market.
“Upskilling the region’s workforce with the hard-to-find skills revealed in this study,” Dr. Parrish said, “will increase the likelihood of career opportunities as the regional economy continues to grow in areas requiring personal, technical and digital skills.”