Linking Job Seekers to Available Job Openings:
A Survey of Central City Milwaukee Workers, Fall 1994
by Lois M. Quinn and Linda Hawkins, Employment and Training Institute and Social
Science Research Facility, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, February
From October 24 through December 2, 1994, residents in 491 households in central city
Milwaukee neighborhoods were interviewed to solicit information on their employment status,
methods used to hunt for jobs, and perceived barriers to employment. A total of 317 women
and 174 men of working age (18 through 59 years) were interviewed. The survey was
conducted concurrently with a survey of Milwaukee area employers, collecting data on job
openings, location of jobs, wages offered, and education and training requirements. These
surveys are part of an intergovernmental Labor Market Study Project designed to increase the
employment of Milwaukee area residents and to improve education and training programs for
- One out of every three central city Milwaukee men and women in the labor force reported
that they were looking for a job. This included unemployed men and women (54 percent of all
job seekers), workers in temporary or part-time jobs (23 percent of job seekers), and workers
with full-time permanent jobs (23 percent of job seekers). Need for better pay, better or more
hours, desire for advancement, and dissatisfaction with their present job were cited by employed
residents seeking new jobs.
- The October 1994 Job Openings Survey emphasized the importance of technical training,
with 10,800 full-time openings requiring experienced or technically-trained workers. The survey
found that over three-fourths of job seekers were interested in participating in a training program
at the Milwaukee Area Technical College to prepare for a new job. Ninety percent of
unemployed high school non-completers were interested in MATC training.
- The October 1994 Job Openings survey found that unemployed workers in the central
city neighborhoods of Milwaukee outnumber available jobs by a ratio of four workers for every
one full-time opening. While 40 percent of full-time job openings were located in Waukesha,
Ozaukee and Washington counties, only one out of every six central city job hunters reported
applying for jobs with companies outside Milwaukee County.
- For many of the job openings in Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties, workers
need private transportation. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of unemployed job seekers did not
have a car, and 17 percent had a car but no valid Wisconsin driver's license.
- Wages sought by workers appeared realistic for many of the job openings listed by
employers in October. Ninety percent of unemployed job seekers were willing to accept jobs
paying less than $8.00 an hour, 71 percent to accept jobs paying less than $7.00 an hour, and
46 percent to accept jobs paying less than $6.00. Only 17 percent of unemployed job seekers
reported that they could work for minimum wage or less than $5.00 an hour.
- Very few central city teen job seekers registered at Job Service or applied for jobs with
companies located outside Milwaukee County. Survey findings highlight the importance of the
Milwaukee Public Schools School-to-Work Program in helping teenagers develop comprehensive
job search strategies.