Beverly Robertson Named Interim President & CEO


Select Memphis



Get a snapshot of the Memphis workforce and find out how we can help you find the workers you need.

Ready to Work

Companies new to Memphis are discovering what long-time Memphis employers already know — Memphis has many workforce advantages. It’s located in a Right to Work state and offers a low cost of living. It also has a robust workforce with a median age of 35 and a strong work ethic. With help from the Chamber, employers can benefit from grants and incentive programs that help them identify, hire, train, develop and retain workers. Plus, there are several proven partners eager to help — strong academic institutions, community colleges, vocational schools and technical training facilities.

Workforce Depth + Breadth

Not only does Memphis draw from a three-state labor pool (Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area), employment ranges across the spectrum of industries. Employment is relatively balanced among industries giving the Memphis workforce breadth in both skills and experience. Here are the metro’s annual employment figures for 2016.

March 2018 (preliminary)

Total Labor Force: 638,850
Employed: 613,680
Unemployed: 25,160
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%

Source: State of Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development
INDUSTRY SECTOR2016 Enrollment2015-2016 Completions
University of Memphis21,3014,392
Southwest Tennessee Community College8,3271,049
Northwest Missisippi Community College7,9051,367
Strayer University (Memphis and Shelby campuses)3,589344
University of Tennessee Health Science Center3,097971
Christian Brothers University2,138412
Rhodes College2,029534
Arkansas State University Mid-South1,836443
Swift Driving Academy1,7171,024
Concorde Career College-Memphis1,448869
East Arkansas Community College1,143277
Rust College1,005137
Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Memphis1,003563
Vatterott College (Appling & Dividend campuses)1,070344
Le Moyne Owen College959116
University of Mississippi - Desoto648
Remington College - Memphis600304
Park University (Millington Campus)57939
Southern College of Optometry530120
Delta Technical College464470

SOURCE: National Center for Education Statistics
and Tennessee Higher Education Commission, Fall 2016 Enrollment

Greater Memphis  2016 Labor Study Summary

Top Occupations in Demand:

  • Customer Service Representatives in these industries:
    •  Information Technology, Logistics, Manufacturing, and especially the Finance, Insurance, and Business Services.
  • For the Information Technology sector, demand is high in the Information sector as well as across all sectors for IT professionals on all levels.
  • Machinists are in demand for the Medical Device Manufacturing sector and within all of the Advanced and General Manufacturing sectors.

Potential Workforce

A survey of 450 unemployed and underemployed persons revealed that 64% needed public transportation to/from worksites and 62% are willing to apply for work via smartphone. Of those surveyed, 33% were interested in customer service, 21% were interested in light manufacturing & assembly and 33% were interested in warehouse positions.

High Demand Occupations in 2021, Memphis MSA

  • Industrial Machinery Mechanics: +6.5% increase in workers
  • Computer User Support: +6.4% increase in workers
  • Customer Service Representatives: +3.0% increase in workers
  • Machinists: +7.7% increase in workers

Higher Education Needs – Focus Group Results

  • Information Technology firms expressed a desire for more availability of internship programs for IT students enrolled in vocational and 4-year programs.
  • 50% of the engineering firms participating were satisfied with the pool of engineering graduates available locally. The other 50% recommended expanded training in drafting software and other methods of engineering theory.
  • Companies in logistics and warehousing cited a shortage of customer service representatives with sales experience as well as entry-level forklift drivers.
  • Manufacturers cited a strong demand for machinists, CNC operators, grinders and middle management supervisors.

All the companies expressed a willingness to work with local schools and workforce agencies to fill the gaps.

Access a copy of the Memphis labor study by clicking here

Source: Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce

Employment by Industry

Memphis Metro Employment by Industry

INDUSTRY SECTOR20172016% Change
Mining, Logging, and Construction22,80021,9004.1%
Retail Trade68,20068,2000.0%
Wholesale Trade36,50035,6002.5%
Transportation & Utilities71,20070,4001.1%
Information 5,6005,700-1.8%
Financial Activities 28,60028,0002.1%
Professional & Business Services92,70097,100-4.5%
Education and Health Services94,10092,5001.7%
Leisure and Hospitality68,60067,3001.9%
Other Services 25,70025,0002.8%
Total Non-Farm Employment625,800616,5001.5%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, CES Data

Workforce Assistance

See how the Chamber and our partners help companies identify, train and develop great employees. Click here to learn more or contact Ernest Strickland at or 901-543-3548.

Greater Memphis Chamber | 22 North Front Street Suite 200 | Memphis, TN 38103-2100 | 901-543-3500
© 2017 Greater Memphis Chamber. All rights reserved.

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