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The Charleston region will add 35,000 new jobs over the next five years, according to the 2018 Talent Demand Study from the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Charleston Regional Development Alliance. 

The study shows that 80% of the jobs will be in 10 sectors:

  • Production and mechanical
  • Hospitality
  • Medical
  • Business operations support
  • Software and IT
  • Personal services
  • Logistics
  • Business management
  • Construction
  • Education

“Charleston’s regional economy is strong, healthy, diverse and growing,” Mike Graney, the CRDA’s vice president of global business development, said in a news release. “Our region is responsible for 21% of all jobs created in the state from 2013 to 2017. While we reap the benefits of new business development and talent attraction, expanding the pipeline of locally produced talent is critical for our long-term economic well-being.”

Four of those top 10 sectors have the largest talent needs — annual job openings versus local graduate output:

  • Production and mechanical: 300 to 500 more openings than local graduates annually.
  • Software and IT: 200 to 300 more openings annually.
  • Hospitality: 200 to 250 more openings annually.
  • Construction: 100 to 200 more openings annually.

“Our transition to a STEM-based economy over the past decade has resulted in many employers finding it difficult to fill positions in our top-growth sectors,” Tina Wirth, the chamber’s senior vice president of talent advancement, said in the release. “Local school districts, colleges and universities, and local training programs are ramping up training resources, but talent demand is currently outpacing supply in some cases —leaving our region to depend on recruiting workers from outside our region.”

The 2018 forecast of five-year job growth is a 32% increase over the 2016 Study. The region’s first talent study was completed in 2014. (Credit: Charleston Regional Business Journal)