Press Releases

For Immediate Release
May 23, 2016

For more information, contact
Tricia Harris, | 717.720.5447

2016 Workforce Development Survey Shows Job Creators Struggling to Find Qualified Employees


HARRISBURG - Employers throughout the Commonwealth continue to have difficulty finding skilled employees to fill open positions across various industries, according to the findings of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry’s 2016 Workforce Development Survey. The survey, which is a follow-up to the PA Chamber’s 2013 survey, was conducted by Harrisburg-based Susquehanna Polling & Research, Inc. and polled more than 400 employers from across the state.


“The results of this year’s survey reflect what we have repeatedly heard from our diverse membership,” said PA Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr. “Pennsylvania has long been touted for its strong work ethic. However, a lack of job readiness among candidates in critical growing industries has been reported. There’s also a general lack of awareness about family-sustaining career opportunities that don’t require a college degree, which has led to a widening skills gap. The PA Chamber is committed to closing this gap by working with employers, educators and students to spread awareness of good-paying, long-term career opportunities in the skilled trades, and matching hiring companies with job candidates that have the qualifications they need.”


The survey of employers found:

  • 52 percent believe that recruiting qualified candidates is very or extremely difficult.
  • 57 percent think it will get more difficult to find qualified candidates within the next five years.
  • 56 percent said they have difficulty filling technical/skilled trade jobs.
  • Only 21 percent ranked the readiness of the current labor force to meet the needs of the state’s employers as excellent or good.
  • Employers lose approximately $189 million each year training new employees and in lost productivity.

The survey results were unveiled at the PA Chamber Education Foundation’s Workforce Summit. The summit was part of the PA Chamber’s ongoing commitment to workforce development and kicked off a meaningful discussion on how Pennsylvania’s business community can change the message and perception of pursuing a career in the skilled trades.


The summit also featured a presentation by Keystone Technical Institute President and CEO David Snyder who discussed KTI’s program for matching their educational programs with local business needs in their community; and a keynote address by Mike Rowe, TV host, producer and founder of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, which aims to change the message that a four year degree is automatically the best path for every young person to take.


More information regarding the 2016 Pennsylvania Workforce Survey can be found on the PA Chamber’s website.



The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its statewide membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.