University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Employment and Training Institute

Brief Summary

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 1995

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 workers.

  • 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.

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