As the nation, state and region enjoy a state of full employment, businesses are contending with a tight labor market. But, even during a time when job seekers have the upper hand, the only surety is change – whether that’s an eventual change in economic dynamics or changes in the skills required to meet the demands of the modern workforce.


At a time when technology continues to advance rapidly, consumer trends are shifting with the times and the way business is conducted is in flux, the Business Journal asked Long Beach employers and business association representatives to weigh in on the following question: If you were to speak to high school students, what fields and skillsets would you encourage them to pursue to prepare them for the modern workforce?


Executives from a variety of key Long Beach industries – aviation and aerospace, financial services, the public sector, trade and logistics, real estate, technology, engineering and others –submitted responses. While a number of commonalities emerged, the top tip was to cultivate one crucial skill: effective communication. Some employers lamented the loss of person-to-person communication in lieu of texting, and emphasized the importance of doing things the old-fashioned way. Others noted that, no matter how communication is conducted, doing so effectively creates efficiency in the workplace and helps forge business relationships.


Other common suggestions included: following one’s passion, but at the same time not expecting immediate success; being willing to learn and build skillsets over time; developing practical skills such as learning how to interview for a job, balance a checkbook and punctuality; cultivating ethics and dedication; being flexible; learning technical skills such as coding and data analysis; and more.


The following are responses from 22 Long Beach corporations, small businesses and public sector agencies.