The average Payson worker is 47, makes about $29,000, is thinking about changing jobs, attended at least some college, has no health or retirement benefits -- and thinks they have strong job skills.
But many Payson employers say they can't find enough skilled workers and rates many employees as fair to poor on the qualities the workers themselves brag on -- like reading, speaking, problem solving, dependability, attitude and higher order thinking.
For instance, about 71 percent of employees rated themselves as "excellent" when it comes to dependability, a positive work attitude and interpersonal relations -- none considered themselves "poor." By contrast, employers gave just 2 percent of employees "excellent" and 15 percent "poor" rating on those same qualities.
Those perhaps surprising conclusions highlight a study on the Rim County workforce conducted by Dr. Larry Gregory for the Payson Regional Economic Development Corporation (PREDC) with help from the Arizona Department of Commerce, who got 400 people to fill out a long questionnaire in late 2006.
The workforce survey uncovered an intriguing gap between how workers rate themselves and what employers think of them.
For instance, 40-48 percent of workers considered themselves "excellent" when it comes to oral communications, reading comprehension, math, writing and basic skills and only 0-2 percent rated themselves as "poor." But if you ask employers, only 2-4 percent gave employees "excellent" marks in those areas and 8-19 percent ranked employees as "poor."
It gets even worse when you move to higher order thinking skills. About 53 percent of employees counted themselves as "excellent" on problem solving, ability to learn and decision making. None considered themselves "poor." By contract, employers considered only 5 percent of the workers "excellent" and 9 percent "poor" in those areas.
That pattern held when it came to productivity. Two thirds of workers said they were "excellent" and none confessed to being "poor." But when employers ranked workers, only 6 percent rated an "excellent"-- balanced out by the 6 percent who ranked as "poor."