Job Sector Survey

Job Sector Survey 2012The Job Sector Survey is an annual, one-of-a kind tool that provides a comprehensive, on-the-ground assessment of conditions, challenges, needs and opportunities for regional employers of all types and sizes.

This survey, now its third year, is a cooperative project led by economic development organizations in King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. Through this survey we hope to gain insights that will help create prosperity for all businesses and a job-growing economy.

The Job Sector Survey represents a unique and valuable opportunity to bring the voice of business to all regional stakeholders. This year, the survey received over 1,700 responses in 15 industry sectors, providing a wealth of information that we were able to share with elected officials, policymakers, education leaders, economic development organizations and the general public.

Over the past two years, the Job Sector Survey has revealed:
  • Business aspirations by county, city, employment sector and size
  • Details about skills needed by specific types of employers
  • Insights into prominent trading partners and goods
  • Examples of obstacles to success by type and size of business

2012-13 Job Sector Survey

The 2012-13 survey assessed companies within a four-county region including King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Results will be coming soon. The Job Sector Survey is made possible by support from the Prosperity Partnership, Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, Economic Development Council, King County, Economic Alliance Snohomish County, Pierce County Economic Development Department, Kitsap Economic Development Alliance, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, The Seattle Times and the City of Seattle's Office of Economic Development.

2011 Job Sector Survey: The Results

Nearly 1,700 businesses participated in the 2011 Job Sector Survey. Key findings include:

  • Small companies with 6 to 100 employees are most likely to hire.
  • Sectors expecting to add headcount include energy, aerospace and manufacturing, life sciences, and information technology and interactive media.
  • Employers have a more pessimistic view of the overall economy, but a far more optimistic view of their individual prospects.
  • Of the sectors expecting growth, only some say they will hire. Many others expect higher sales or new contracts but won’t hire proportionately. This is especially true for sectors hurt badly by the decline in consumer spending in 2008 and 2009.
  • One in four employers say they have to recruit outside of their county to attract top talent.
  • There is universal appreciation for the high quality of life in the four-county region, but it is less so than in 2010. Tangible items such as proximity to universities, networking and transportation infrastructure have risen in importance since last year.
  • As the economy remains unpredictable, employers grow by peer networking and recruiting top talent.
  • Women and minority-owned businesses make up a low percentage of employers in high growth sectors, such as manufacturing, energy and environment, and life sciences. On the other hand, women and minorities are well represented in real estate, human services, education, retail, food and professional services.
  • 79 percent of employers said specific degrees (BA, MBA) would make employees more valuable. These employers were in the life sciences, international trade, human services, education, professional services, health care and energy sectors. 59 percent said vocational training. These employers were in the energy, tourism and recreation, transportation, aerospace and manufacturing, and real estate and construction sectors.

View full report

The 2011 survey was supported by King County, the Prosperity Partnership, the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, enterpriseSeattle, the Economic Alliance Snohomish County, the Pierce County Economic Development Division, the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance, The Seattle Times and the City of Seattle's Office of Economic Development.

2010 Job Sector Survey: The Results

The 2010 survey collected data from nearly 1,200 businesses in 15 unique industry sectors in King County. Key findings and results by sector as well as company size are listed below. The final report is also available and includes questions asked and verbatim responses.

Key Findings:
  • Survey participants were optimistic about their business prospects for 2011. More than 40 percent said they plan to hire.
  • The five sectors that were most resilient in spite of economic conditions were IT-gaming, international trade, professional services, life sciences and health care.
  • The five most challenged sectors were tourism-recreation, food-retail, real estate-construction, transportation and government.
  • Small and midsize companies (six to 100 employees) within technical sectors were most likely to increase headcount. Most large companies and the public sector were continuing to downsize.
  • Quality of life and the strong local economy were primary benefits to doing business in King County.
  • 56 percent of employers recruit from outside of King County out of necessity.
  • 80 percent said their employees need a bachelor's or master's degree and 56 percent said their employees need vocational training.
  • Regional transportation infrastructure and proximity to customers is important.




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