Skip to Content
FIU and Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce uncover local workforce development trends, business landscape

FIU and Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce uncover local workforce development trends, business landscape

Survey results highlight the importance of partnerships between employers in Miami-Dade County and higher education institutions to prepare students to meet a changing workforce

March 28, 2024 at 11:39am

What are the skills job candidates need to thrive in South Florida’s workforce? How are employers in Miami-Dade County finding job candidates and retaining them in their organizations? How can universities deepen efforts to prepare students for their careers? Do employers feel ready to handle changes that may be ushered in by shifting economic conditions and new technology such Artificial Intelligence?

FIU partnered with the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s (GMCC) Education and Workforce Development Committee to conduct a survey of local workforce needs and higher education’s role in the area. The survey featured questions particularly relevant for the GMCC but enlightening for all those interested in bolstering the local economic and talent development ecosystem.

The questionnaire addressed business challenges, employer retention and recruitment strategies and future workforce needs of the businesses in Miami-Dade County. The findings reflect 397 responses from managers, business owners and others employed in local organizations, which range from large businesses to non-profits to educational and governmental organizations.

"The collaboration between FIU and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce in conducting this survey underscores our commitment to understanding and addressing the evolving workforce landscape in Miami-Dade County," says GMCC President and CEO Alfred Sanchez. "Findings from the survey highlight the current challenges and opportunities for employers, especially from smaller companies. It also suggests the need for regular and ongoing dialogue between employers and our educational institutions to ensure that our future workforce is equipped with the proper skills to thrive in our rapidly evolving economy. This initiative underscores our commitment to fostering partnerships and driving positive change for the benefit of our entire community"

The survey’s findings were shared in a report prepared by FIU’s Jorge M. Pérez Metropolitan Center. The report was unveiled recently during the GMCC’s South Florida Economic Summit.

Major findings include:

  • Only 17.6% of employers said their organizations were well-prepared to handle the evolving workforce needs.
  • Employers ranked communication skills and critical thinking skills as the two most important skills new hires should exhibit.
  • 70% of employers have internship/apprenticeship programs, and 63.2% have hired from their intern pool.
  • Despite the currently low unemployment rates in Miami-Dade, 55% of employers reported an increase in resignations in the last two years.
  • 7% of managers believe that a competitive salary is the most important job characteristic candidates are looking for, and 82.9% of employers found it either "extremely" or "moderately" challenging to offer competitive salaries.


The survey found that employers expect their local academic institutions to:

  • Develop new programs or enhance existing ones to meet the demands of the changing economy (64.9% of respondents)
  • Teach skills that meet the talent needs of local communities (49.5%)
  • Create opportunities for students to engage with industry and connect to local places (38.4%)

“Another interesting finding is that employers desire partnerships with universities,” says Maria Ilcheva, the report’s principal investigator and associate director of planning and operations for the Metropolitan Center. Nearly 73% of employers felt that it was "extremely important" or "very important" for their organization to establish partnerships with local universities and colleges.   


“These findings show how critical higher education institutions are to the success of our workforce and our community,” says Anthony Rionda, associate vice president of Strategic Communications, Government and External Affairs and co-executive director of the Center for Community Impact and Public Purpose. “FIU has been preparing our students to start their careers with the knowledge necessary for them to succeed."

Rionda adds, "To address the survey's findings, FIU will continue to work with the public and private sectors to build on student successes via internship programs and other initiatives to prepare students for careers and leadership roles in South Florida and beyond. The FIU Career and Talent Development office is leading many great initiatives that continue to strengthen FIU’s relationship with employers and local businesses to further connect students with career opportunities.”

Ilcheva notes that the survey points to the interconnected nature of business, economics, higher education and general community stability.

“We want a thriving community,” she says. “This is dependent on a thriving economy. For a thriving economy, we need employers to be successful. It is not just about the health of businesses, government agencies or non-profit organizations. The community can only thrive with the talent it has. FIU is an economic engine. FIU and other institutions provide the fuel for a thriving economy.”

View the full report.