Business leaders concerned about talent shortage

Posted at 12:21 AM, Apr 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-02 03:59:43-04

Many business leaders surveyed by the CU Leeds School of Business, say they’re concerned about a talent shortage in Colorado.

The survey was part of the Leeds Business Confidence Index for the second quarter of 2016.

Other agencies like the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Technology Association confirm there is a shortage of skilled workers.

“We’re highly focused and are aware of that shortage,” said CTA spokeswoman Amy Regnier.  “We have different programs in place to address that need.”

The Chamber says the top three fields in need of workers are nursing, retail and software development.

At a recent housing forum hosted by Zillow, U.S. Senator Cory Gardner said tech businesses could hire 14,000 people today, “if they had the right mix of skills.”

Gardner said that since 2010, 100-thousand people a year are moving to Colorado.  Businesses are too.

Some, like Gusto, are moving here because of the state’s dependable work force.

Gusto offers payroll, worker’s comp and health benefit services for small to medium size companies.

Gusto spokeswoman Steffi Wu says they’ve hired 40 people so far and plan to hire more.

She said the Gusto office at Tabor Center can hold 400 employees.

Wu said they’ve had no problem finding skilled workers.

Other businesses aren't as fortunate.

“We have software companies, electronics companies, service providers and IT companies that are seeing the shortage as well,” Regnier said.   

When asked what the shortage can mean to an individual business, Regnier said, “Those shortages typically mean that a position may not be filled in a timely manner, and that companies may have to pay more to hire and retain skilled employees.

When asked what’s being done to address the skilled worker shortage, Regnier said the CTA and several local businesses are partnering with schools to raise interest among students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Match) classes.

Gardner said the federal workforce centers should also be used to do the same thing.

Despite the shortage of skilled employees, Regnier said she feels very strongly that the outlook for Colorado technology is very bright.