Where Are the Workers?

New Online Resource Provides Data-driven Talent Strategies for Evolving Workforce

WhereAretheWorkers.com gives first-hand look at what’s going on with workers in Northeast Ohio and identifies opportunities to make workplaces work better for people.

CLEVELAND—The Fund for Our Economic Future (the Fund) today announced the launch of WhereAretheWorkers.com, an online hub for Northeast Ohio employers, policymakers, workforce practitioners, and others to understand and address the needs of an evolving workforce in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The site extrapolates data from a demographically representative sample of 5,000 working-age adults across 11 counties in Northeast Ohio to quantify the various factors influencing the tightness of the labor market and provide a better understanding of where the greatest opportunities are to pull workers in.

“No other resource provides such a deep, first-hand perspective of real workers—how they’re feeling about work and what they desire in a job and need to be successful,” said Fund President Bethia Burke. “Compared to two years ago, Northeast Ohio’s workforce is smaller and it views work differently. Many workers and would-be workers continue to struggle despite what employers have tried so far to attract and keep them. Solving the talent crises will require a combination of growing local talent, retaining more workers and attracting more talent to the region.”

The Fund estimates that more than 408,000 residents quit their jobs in the past 12 months, with another 330,000 planning to quit in the coming year. The biggest impact on the labor force, more than early retirements, stimulus checks, or the health impacts of COVID, is a change in worker sentiment. The pandemic shattered the traditional image of work and transformed people’s relationship with it. People are quitting their jobs in record numbers, and they are choosing to work somewhere else, work part-time, do gig work, work from home; work—but work differently. Employers able to respond and adapt to these changes will come out on top.

“Workers want better compensation, better culture and more meaningful connection to the work they do,” Burke said. “The good news is every workplace can respond to these changing dynamics in some way. We’ve created a resource that defines what it means to become an ‘employer of choice.’ In the coming weeks, we will also roll out a toolkit that enables employers to sort and filter potential strategies for their specific environments, workforce demographics, and attraction and retention needs.”

Understanding that employers wanted answers to their hiring and retention challenges yesterday, the Fund and its execution partners have been sharing insights from this research as they emerge since launching the effort at the end of 2021, through blog posts and public webinars. WhereAretheWorkers.com compiles these findings and quantifies the potential untapped and at-risk segments of the workforce employers could better serve through new talent strategies. This site will also serve as a home base for deeper analysis and additional data insights to come, including an interactive employer toolkit; MSA- and industry-specific snapshots; guest commentary from Northeast Ohio business and civic leaders; worker profiles and case studies; a resource library; and a searchable database.

Visitors to WhereAretheWorkers.com can sign up to be notified when this employer toolkit is added to the site later this month, along with the additional analysis, commentary and resources that are in the works.

About Where Are the Workers?

Where Are the Workers? is a collaborative, multi-part initiative led by the Fund for Our Economic Future, ConxusNEO, PolicyBridge, the Summit and Medina Workforce Area Council of Governments, and Team NEO, designed to improve understanding of Northeast Ohio’s changing talent landscape and equip leaders with actionable insights to support the workforce of the future. The analysis includes information collected from employers and working-age adults across Northeast Ohio from late December 2021 through June 2022. In total, more than 600 employers in 18 counties and nearly 5,000 working-age adults in 11 counties participated in detailed surveys, and several hundreds more shared their perspectives in focus groups and roundtable discussions.

About The Fund for Our Economic Future

The Fund for Our Economic Future is a network of philanthropic, higher education, community development, private sector, economic development, and civic leaders collectively investing in efforts to understand what matters, advance what works and prepare for what’s next to grow an inclusive economy in Northeast Ohio. Learn more at thefundneo.org.

Media Contact:

Reanna Karousis
rkarousis@thefundneo.org | 216.633.6827