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City Council, Chamber Release Small Business Workforce Survey Results

For Immediate Release 
July 23, 2014
For More Information:
John Ivanic, City Council, 645-6798
Michelle Bretscher, Chamber, 225-6908

Columbus City Councilmember Priscilla R. Tyson, chair of the Workforce Development Committee, released the results of a survey commissioned by City Council to better understand the needs of small businesses and guide future community investments in programs to support workforce development. The Columbus Small Business Workforce Survey, performed by the Columbus Chamber, studied issues such as workforce quality, recruitment, retention, and training. Councilmember Tyson highlighted the findings of the survey during a lunch hour program at the Columbus Metropolitan Club.

“It is important that we know the direction small businesses are going so we can fund programs to make the biggest impact possible,” said Councilmember Tyson, who also chairs the Finance Committee. “I want to thank the Columbus Chamber for their hard work on this project and I look forward to using the results to help grow this important sector of our economy.”

The survey was completed by more than 200 companies with between 1 and 50 employees. The survey is a product of a series of Small Business Roundtable discussions held by City Councilmembers and local businesses and support agencies. Key findings include:

  • Administrative support and sales are the top positions respondents are hiring.
  • Only 30 percent of respondents have worked with a for-profit or non-profit organization/agency to help with hiring needs.
  • Workforce training and education are viewed importantly across industries, but the industries vary in which part of the training/education system they would prioritize for improvement.
  • Among employee traits and qualifications, position-specific skills and time management skills have the highest average ratings of difficulty for finding qualified workforce, followed by creativity and project management skills. Various communications-related skills also rate highly.
  • Soft skills, work ethic and similar issues tend to be a greater challenge in construction, retail, restaurants, cleaning services, warehousing and other lower-skill industries and occupations.

The Chamber’s Research Director Jung Kim authored this report. He participated in the panel discussion at the Columbus Metropolitan Club today, along with Keith Stevens, president and CEO of PSI, and Cheryl Hay, deputy chancellor, higher education-workforce alignment, Ohio Board of Regents.

“We frequently hear that companies have trouble finding the right staff—a fact that the results of this survey underscores. Yet we know there is a strong, available talent pool in Columbus,” said Michael Dalby, president and CEO, Columbus Chamber. “Through our talent connections program and partnerships with organizations like Columbus City Council, we’ll continue to help businesses create a strategic approach to attracting and retaining top candidates.” 

To view the full report, visit