While we hope that Oklahoma’s pro-get-back-to-work policies and incentives drive employee engagement, work is required on several fronts to ensure employers can access the talent they need. Recently the Broken Arrow Economic Development Corporation (BAEDC) engaged with Broken Arrow employers to determine workforce needs for that reason. The goal of the survey was to collect data regarding the demand for workers and the skills required of workers in our community. This information can be used by economic developers, government officials, employers, and educational administrators to guide their decisions on issues related to workforce development, training, and employee recruitment programs.

This survey provides quality data for understanding the extent to which Broken Arrow businesses are experiencing hiring difficulties and identifies the top reasons, recognizing that different challenges exist for different industries. Although hiring remains strong in the community, 60% of employers have had difficulty filling at least one position over the past year, particularly in manufacturing, construction, and service-based industries. A lack of work experience, education, technical skills, and soft skills were the top reasons given by over half of employers experiencing hiring difficulties.

Those responding to the survey were a cross-section of businesses including retail, health services, restaurant, and hospitality; with manufacturing and professional services making up the largest percentage of respondents.

Next Steps

Diagnosing specific issues and creating better integration among employers, jobseekers, and the workforce development and education system can potentially help shorter-term needs such as the lack of specific technical or occupational skills to meet changing industry requirements. Other longer-term issues, such as developing a younger cohort of workers to acquire new sk

ills and gain opportunities to advance in a career pathway, will require more time and resources. Broken Arrow Workforce Center of Excellence, which is made up of stakeholders, employers, and education providers will ensure survey findings are utilized. Opportunities exist for all the stakeholders in Broken Arrow’s workforce development system to increase their engagement with employers to help meet their needs and match jobseekers with jobs through Work In BA efforts. Click here for a full report of the findings.