Washington Roundtable, Boston Consulting Group Issue Report: Great Jobs
Within Our Reach
Washington state would gain 160,000 jobs, spread across many sectors of its
economy, if it fills its job skills gap; generating $720 million in new state
tax revenues annually
SEATTLE -- March 27, 2013
A new report, “Great Jobs Within Our Reach,” just released by the Washington
Roundtable and The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. reveals a large and growing
gap between the number of open jobs in Washington and the number of skilled
workers available in-state to fill those positions. If the state takes steps
to fill the growing gap, it would mean 160,000 jobs across many sectors in
Washington state by 2017.
According to the research:
*There are 25,000 “acute” unfilled jobs in Washington today – jobs that
have been unfilled for three months or more due to a lack of qualified
candidates. Eighty percent of these jobs are in high-demand health care
and high-skill STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)
disciplines such as computer science and engineering.
*The gap is projected to grow by another 5,000 jobs per year, reaching
50,000 jobs, by 2017. Ninety percent of those openings will be in health
care and STEM roles.
*Due to the multiplier effect, filling the job skills gap will generate an
additional 110,000 jobs in Washington across many sectors by 2017.
*Filling the job skills gap would generate $720 million in annual state tax
revenues and $80 million in local tax revenues by 2017.
“These data make one thing clear: Washington has great jobs. It simply doesn’t
have the skilled workers to fill those jobs and that is a drag on productivity
and state economic growth,” said Joel Janda, Partner and Managing Director,
The Boston Consulting Group.
“The state faces a challenge supplying skilled workers for highly technical
positions,” said Dan Fulton, Washington Roundtable Chair and Weyerhaeuser
President and CEO. “Washington needs to build upon existing programs and
develop new programs to find workers for these high-skilled jobs. Both the
private and public sectors have a role to play to provide a sustainable output
of workers to meet the demand for this growing challenge.”
Steve Mullin, Washington Roundtable President, said the report’s findings
define a clear path to rebuild and reenergize Washington’s economy.
“Bridging the job skills gap and filling open positions, particularly in STEM
and health care roles, is the best lever Washington has to increase employment
not just in these sectors, but broadly across the economy,” Mullin said.
Broad employment impact across the economy
According to the data, for every one STEM or health care job filled with a
qualified candidate, Washington can expect creation of another two to four
jobs in-state. Filling the job skills gap would significantly reduce
unemployment and result in an estimated one-time savings of $350 million for
the state unemployment trust fund.
State budget impact
Researchers estimate that $5,000 in state and local tax revenue will be
generated on average for every job created. This equates to $720 million in
annual state tax collections and $80 million in local taxes by 2017 (based on
filling 50,000 skills gap-related jobs plus an estimated 110,000 additional
“Washington has struggled with recurring structural budget deficits for
years,” Mullin said. “We’ve all been looking for solutions and this is one.
Closing the job skills gap is a great opportunity to grow the economy and
build state revenues.”
Keeping jobs in Washington
The report cautions that the job skills gap numbers – 25,000 “acute” unfilled
jobs currently and 50,000 by 2017 – do not account for jobs that recently
moved out of state or are currently filled with under-skilled workers. Forty
percent of Washington Roundtable members surveyed reported already having
moved positions out of state due to the job skills gap. Approximately half of
the companies surveyed reported having to hire under-skilled workers for
hard-to-fill job openings.
“The research clearly shows that jobs have already left Washington because
employers couldn’t find qualified candidates here,” Janda said. “We can only
assume that more will leave if the job skills gap isn’t addressed.”
The Roundtable acknowledges that filling the job skills gap will take time and
require concerted effort from state and federal policymakers.
“We have a leaky education pipeline. We must expand STEM education in our
universities and do a better job of preparing our young people in the K-12
system. We also need to make it easier and more attractive for skilled workers
to come to Washington state,” Mullin said.
The report puts forward five recommendations for policymakers to address the
job skills gap:
1. Increase computer science, engineering and health care capacity and
throughput at colleges and universities in Washington.
2. Foster STEM interest and performance among K-12 students.
3. Improve alignment of technical degree and certificate curricula with
4. Promote and enable in-bound migration of skilled workers from other states.
5. Support expansion of international immigration opportunities.
The report is available at www.waroundtable.com.
For its research analysis, BCG used statewide employment data as well as
quantitative and qualitative data collected from interviews with Washington
Roundtable members and human resource experts regarding job skills gaps
encountered within their companies.
About the Washington Roundtable
The Washington Roundtable is a not-for-profit, public policy organization
comprised of senior executives from Washington’s major employers. Since 1983,
the Roundtable has worked to create positive change on state policy issues
that foster economic growth, generate jobs and improve quality of life for
About The Boston Consulting Group
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and
the world’s leading advisor on business strategy. BCG partners with clients
from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to
identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical
challenges, and transform their enterprises. A customized approach combines
deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close
collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our
clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable
organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private
company with 78 offices in 43 countries.
Sara Garrettson, 206-623-0180 or 206-372-4800
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.