Getting DSM Back to Work in 2021
During the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Future Ready DSM podcast, guests share insights about the employment landscape for individuals entering the workforce, as well as those looking to advance or change their career paths with The Partnership’s Senior Vice President of Talent Development Dr. Marvin DeJear.
In the first episode, Beth Townsend, executive director of Iowa Workforce Development, shared her thoughts on employment market recovery within the Greater Des Moines (DSM) region and the state. She said we have lost more jobs than other states and have not recovered them quite as quickly, but the end of federal benefits should have a positive impact on the number of people looking for jobs, signing up for jobs and making connections with employers.
Regional Employment Trends
Moving forward, Director Townsend said work will be different than it was pre-pandemic. Many enjoy working from home and more employers have become comfortable with their employees doing so. Investment in broadband is key in Iowa and provides opportunities for people to live anywhere and work where they want. If someone has a work-from-home job in another state, why not work remotely in a place that offers a lower cost of living?
The pandemic has accelerated the loss of low-skilled jobs, and Townsend said she anticipates the skills gap will grow larger as a result. When compared to other similarly sized metros, DSM is not too far behind when it comes to unemployment rates. The city of Ames has always had very low unemployment, and currently sits at around 3%, while DSM is close behind at 3.9%. Townsend anticipates metro areas will recover more quickly than other areas of the state due to more employers and lower unemployment per capita.
Getting Back into the Workforce
Townsend discussed the importance of getting people back to work. Following the summer break for students, she anticipates more people will look for employment opportunities. She advised employers to consider wages, benefits and flexibility in order to attract employees, while urging employees to look for ways to develop the skills for the job you want. This could be through micro-credentials or short-term training programs.
Townsend and DeJear also touched on valuable skillsets, including IT familiarity, productivity of telework, communication, critical thinking and job-specific skills.
Listen to the entire podcast above.
The Future Ready DSM podcast brings Greater Des Moines (DSM) employment leaders and experts in to discuss the latest trends in talent attraction and retention in the region. Hosted by Greater Des Moines Partnership Senior Vice President of Talent Development Dr. Marvin DeJear.