SWOT With Skills

What Skills Tell Us About Regional Opportunities and Weaknesses

July 6, 2022 by Drew Repp

Often a business or organization will conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis to determine what they are doing well, where improvements are needed, and unearth new avenues for success. Examining a region through the lens of skills provides a community with a unique SWOT-like analysis that captures where opportunities and weaknesses lie.

When we conduct a regional skills analysis, it starts with online profiles, resumes, and job postings. The result is career areas based on the skills required in jobs, irrespective of industry. For example, an accountant working for the local municipality and the accountant at the aerospace parts manufacturer have and use many of the same skills. Thus, these roles and skills are categorized together under Business and Finance. Not separately under Government and Manufacturing. 

These career areas can then be charted based on the supply of talent (online profiles and resumes) and the demand of employers (job postings). As an example, the figure below is the supply and demand of talent by career area in the Sacramento region. The orange line represents equilibrium.

Thus, a region like Sacramento is able to see, at the skill level, where they have opportunities and weaknesses. And in many areas, Sacramento is operating very close to equilibrium. But there is an opportunity to develop additional talent to meet needs in IT and Math and Education, Curation, and Library services. The lower right quadrant reveals an abundance of Hospitality, Recreation, and Personal Services talent as well as Transportation and Warehousing, but low demand. These areas represent opportunities to attract new businesses or grow existing ones that need talent with these skills.

Business and Finance is an area of great strength, with both demand and supply very high. Efforts to maintain skills in this area should be taken. Healthcare is also a strength, as it is very near equilibrium. Career areas in the lower left quadrant have low demand and low supply. In situations where that low supply is still an oversupply, it is a regional weakness, and reskilling surplus workers into high-demand jobs is necessary. 

SWOT with skills helps regions identify which career areas (and the industries that employ them) they are strong in and where weaknesses lie that need attention. And because skills are the common language used by employers, education, and people, this SWOT analysis is reflective of the market in a way much different from traditional LMI (industries and occupations).

Interested in using skills to identify strenghts and opportunities in your region? Get in touch, we'd love to help.