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Workforce

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. For the latest Memphis labor study, click here.

2016 Annual Average

Total Labor Force: 623,924
Employed: 590,853
Unemployed: 33,071
Unemployment Rate: 5.3%

University of Memphis

4-year public university
20,585 enrollment
memphis.edu

Southwest Tennessee Community College

2-year community college
9,135 enrollment
southwest.tn.edu

Northwest Mississippi Community College

2-year community college
7,809 enrollment
northwestms.edu

University of Tennessee Health Science Center

medical school
3,075 enrollment
uthsc.edu

Strayer University

4-year private university
2,155 enrollment
strayer.edu

Rhodes College

4-year private university
2,063 enrollment
rhodes.edu

Arkansas State University – Mid-South

2 & 4-year public university
1,896 enrollment
asumidsouth.edu

Christian Brothers University

4-year private university
1,842 enrollment
www.cbu.edu

Concorde Career College — Memphis

2-year private vocational college
1,258 enrollment
concorde.edu

East Arkansas Community College

2-year public vocational college
1,200 enrollment
eacc.edu

Baptist College of Health Sciences

4-year private college
1,079 enrollment
bchs.edu

University of Mississippi – DeSoto

4-year public college
1,ooo enrollment
olemiss.edu

LeMoyne-Owen College

2-year private vocational college
945 enrollment
loc.edu

Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Memphis

technical/vocational training
894 enrollment
tcatmemphis.edu

Rust College

4-year private college
856 enrollment
rustcollege.edu

Remington College

2-year private vocational college
724 enrollment
remingtoncollege.edu

Vatterott College – Dividend

2-year private vocational college
701 enrollment
vatterott.edu

Delta Technical College

technical/vocational training
662 enrollment
deltatechnicalcollege.com

Southern College of Optometry

medical school
528 enrollment
sco.edu

Memphis College of Art

4-year private university
410 enrollment
mca.edu

L’École Culinaire – Memphis

culinary school
402 enrollment
lecole.edu

Vatterott College – Appling Farms

2-year private vocational college
322 enrollment
vatterott.edu

Concorde Career College – Southaven

2-year private college
274 enrollment
concorde.edu

Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Covington

technical/vocational training
273 enrollment
tcatcovington.edu

William Moore College of Technology

2-year private vocational college
269 enrollment
williamrmoore.org

Memphis Theological Seminary

4-year private university
267 enrollment
memphisseminary.edu

Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Whiteville

technical/vocational training
241 enrollment
tcatwhiteville.edu

Crowley’s Ridge Technical Institute

2-year public vocational college
205 enrollment
crti.tec.ar.us

Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Ripley

technical/vocational training
204 enrollment
tcatripley.edu

SOURCE: National Center for Education Statistics
and Tennessee Higher Education Commission, Fall 2015 Enrollment

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.

Employment by Industry

Memphis Metro Employment by Industry
2014-2015

INDUSTRY SECTOR20162015%Change
Manufacturing 46,100 45,500 1.3%
Mining, Logging, and Construction 21,900 21,600 1.4%
Retail Trade 68,200 66,200 3.0%
Wholesale Trade 35,600 34,600 2.9%
Transportation & Utilities 70,400 67,900 3.7%
Information 5,700 5,800 -1.7%
Financial Activities 28,000 27,600 1.4%
Professional & Business Services 97,100 97,700 -0.6%
Education and Health Services 92,500 90,200 2.5%
Leisure and Hospitality 67,300 65,300 3.1%
Other Services 25,000 24,500 2.0%
Government 80,400 81,400 -1.2%
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 estrickland@memphischamber.com or 901-543-3548.

Greater Memphis Chamber | 22 North Front Street Suite 200 | Memphis, TN 38103-2100 | 901-543-3500
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