The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

January 2, 2011

Certain skills in demand by employers

DANVILLE — With many competing for fewer jobs, the competition can be stiff in the job market.

The Vermilion Advantage office has initiated a Let’s Get Technical campaign, to help get the word out about how all jobs are becoming more technical in nature — even in retail, banking and customer service.

Vicki Haugen, president and CEO of Vermilion Advantage, said many jobs available are in engineering, too, but all positions have become very technical.

“All these occupations are changing,” Haugen said. “They take a high level of understanding and you have to work well with people.”

Haugen said Manpower’s in-demand jobs list mirrors the needs here in the Vermilion County area.

According to a 2010 Manpower talent shortage survey, where 35,000 global employers were asked about labor needs, the following jobs are the hardest to fill in the United States, ranked in order: skilled trades, sales representatives, nurses, technicians, drivers, restaurants and hotel staff, management/executives, engineers, doctors and customer service representatives.

Jayne Flinn, staffing specialist with Manpower in Danville, said she’s seen an increase in light industrial and clerical positions, here, as well.

Flinn said even with the economic strain locally and nationally in 2010, they’ve had consistency from employers needing help.

“We haven’t seen a huge difference,” Flinn said. “We’ve seen a steady flow. Our projections show 2011 is going to be an even better year.”

First quarter 2011 employment projections from Manpower for Illinois show that 70 percent plan to maintain staffing levels, 15 percent plan to increase levels, nine percent plan to decrease and six percent were yet unsure of their intent.

Categories where job prospects appeared best included durable goods manufacturing, transportation and utilities, wholesale and retail trade, information, financial activities, professional and business services, education and health services, leisure and hospitality.

Employers in construction planned to reduce staff, while hiring in non-durable goods manufacturing is expected to remain unchanged.

The latest local projections from the major Vermilion County employers are encouraging, with 36 of the 38 biggest employers responding. The major employers who are surveyed represent 25 percent of the total labor force, employing 9,000 at this time.

For first quarter 2011, all 36 respondents said they project steady to steady growth in sales and business volume, which is the first time all have been so positive since the surveys began being tracked in 2006.

On the hiring outlook, five of the 36 companies reporting currently have employees on layoff, with three companies projecting layoffs in the first quarter. Thirty-three of the majors responding were not projecting layoffs, with 22 companies (61 percent responding) anticipating hiring in the first quarter.

Flinn said that employers are looking for motivated workers, with solid work histories and a good work ethic.

She said it’s more important now than ever for job seekers to be interested in being lifelong learners. Becoming certified or validated with different skill sets associated with your job can help you to stand out. Also, other continuing education and a high school diploma or G.E.D. is an absolute necessity now, not an option.

“We really encourage everyone to get that …,” Flinn said. “It really will open up doors for them.”

Flinn said while her agency does sometimes get two to three week project work, most of their positions actually begin as temporary and move to full-time hire.

“The vast majority of our positions are long-term,” Flinn said.

There is a new application for Manpower online that can be accessed at Other places to search or apply for jobs locally are:,,,


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