Talent Demand Study Indicates 35,000 New Jobs in the Next Five Years

Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce
October 2, 2018


Charleston, SC — The Charleston Metro Chamber, in partnership with the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, has released the 2018 update to the Talent Demand Study, which predicts the addition of nearly 35,000 new jobs to the Charleston Metro area over the next five years. This forecast is 32 percent higher than the 2016 study’s five-year job growth prediction.

The Charleston region’s first Talent Demand Study was completed in 2014 by the Chamber with funding support and participation from the CRDA, Charleston Southern University, College of Charleston, Medical University of South Carolina and Trident Technical College. Last updated in 2016, the 2018 analysis provides a fresh assessment of talent supply gaps and identifies the fastest-growing and most in-demand occupations.

The study shows that 80 percent of predicted job growth will be in 10 specific occupations:

  • Production & Mechanical
  • Hospitality
  • Medical
  • Business Operations Support
  • Software & IT
  • Personal Services
  • Logistics
  • Business Management
  • Construction
  • Education

“Our economy’s transition to STEM-based over the past decade has resulted in many employers finding it difficult to fill positions in our top-growth sectors,” said Tina Wirth, Charleston Metro Chamber Senior Vice President of Talent Advancement. “Local school districts, colleges and universities, and local training programs are ramping up training resources, but talent demand is currently outpacing supply in some cases – leaving our region to depend on recruiting workers from outside our region.”

Four occupations show the highest talent-supply gaps with annual jobs openings beyond local graduate output.

  • Production and Mechanical: 300 – 500 annual overage
  • Software & IT: 200 – 300 annual overage
  • Hospitality: 200 – 250 annual overage
  • Construction: 100 – 200 annual overage

“Charleston’s regional economy is strong, healthy, diverse and growing. Our region is responsible for 21% of all jobs created in the state from 2013 – 2017. While we reap the benefits of new business development and talent attraction, expanding the pipeline of locally produced talent is critical for our long-term economic well-being,” said Mike Graney, CRDA Vice President of Global business Development. “I’m super impressed with how quickly area colleges have responded to the needs of local businesses. Aligning curricula and student enrollment with the needs of innovative, technology-driven companies is the key to sustaining strong economic performance and ensuring all residents have the relevant skills and experience for area job opportunities.”

Substantial work is currently under way to address our region’s talent demand gaps through regional partnerships and the commitment of the Chamber, CRDA, area colleges and universities, and local employers. For instance, the regional Career Academy and Youth Apprenticeship programs are working to ensure local students are trained in high-demand skills; area colleges and universities added more than 30 new STEM degrees in 2016 and 2017; and our current workforce is being trained through programs with Explore Charleston and Trident Tech’s Aeronautical Training Center.

View the 2018 Talent Demand Study Update, which is part of the One Region Global Competitiveness Strategy, visit www.charlestonchamber.org/talentdemand.

About the Charleston Metro Chamber: With approximately 1,600 member organizations representing 160,000 professionals, the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce serves as the collective voice of the business community, and a catalyst for regional economic advancement and member success through Talent, Advocacy, Leadership and Business Development. Visit www.charlestonchamber.org.

About the Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA): The Charleston Regional Development Alliance serves as a catalyst for long-term, sustainable economic growth in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties of South Carolina. The CRDA leads a global marketing effort to attract and retain world-class business and talent, and to facilitate the site selection process for companies considering the three-county market for competitive expansion or location investments. The CRDA drives regional competitiveness through competitive research and engages top business, academic and elected leaders in economic development. To learn more, go to www.charlestoneconomicdevelopment.com.

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