An Analytical Dashboard: Nebraska's Workforce

Creativity and innovation are the key for companies and countries to remain competitive. Technology has flattened access to resources and geography. Access to capital, equipment, and raw materials are no longer a competitive advantage. Geography offers few protections. The only true competitive advantage is in people—their connections and creativity.
The future of Nebraska’s economy is dependent on the future of Nebraska’s workforce. Given the importance, Contemporary Analysis decided to create an analytical dashboard of Nebraska’s workforce. Learn more: download our Dashboard eBook. The dashboard allows you to explore Nebraska’s Workforce from 1999 to 2012 by race, education and job types. It shows the distribution and trends for education and job types, and the correlation between job type and education.


The data used to build this dashboard can be found at US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Examples of Jobs by Job Classification.

  • Officials and Managers: chief executive officers, chief financial officers, operations and production managers, branch managers, storage and distribution managers, call center managers, technical support managers, and brand or product managers.
  • Professional Services: computer programers, financial advisors, actuaries, economists, architects, engineers, dentists, doctors, physical therapists, and pilots.
  • Technicians: dental hygienists, chemical technicians, survey and mapping technicians, agricultural and food science technicians, opticians, healthcare practitioners, and health technicians.
  • Sales Workers: cashiers, retail salespeople, first-line supervisors of sales workers, financial services sales agents, telemarketers, real estate agents and brokers, models and product promoters, insurance sales agents, and advertising sales agents.
  • Administrative Support Workers: bank tellers, customer service representatives, telephone operators, teacher assistants, library technicians and clerks, paralegals and legal assistants, dispatchers, receptionists, bookkeepers, accounting and auditing clerks, bill and account collectors, and statistical assistants.
  • Craft Workers: carpenters, masons, electricians, painters, plumbers, roofers, sheet metal workers, locksmiths, maintenance and repair workers, home entertainment equipment installers and repairers, jewelers, and crane operators.
  • Operatives: bakers, butchers, welders, modelers, bus drivers, parking lot attendants, industrial truck and tractor operators, first-line managers of production and operating workers, engine and machine assemblers.
  • Laborers and Helpers: Grounds maintenance workers, logging workers, construction laborers, first-line supervisors/mangers of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers, first-line supervisors/managers of farming, fishing and forestry workers, machine feeders and off bearers.
  • Services: cooks, bartenders, fire fighters, police officers, law enforcement workers, security guards, massage therapists, dental assistants, food servers, fitness workers, travel guides, hairdressers, pest control, dishwashers, housekeepers.

The Equal Employment Opprotunity Commission can provide you a full list of jobs and their classification.

How to use.

This is an example of an analytical dashboard. The purpose of analytical dashboard is to allow you to make comparisons across time and multiple variables. It helps you explore what is happening and why by providing easy access to the data and ways to manipulate it. Try it—roll over the charts to download, keep, or exclude data.
It is important to note that education measures highest level of education of employees in the workforce not graduation rates. This means that small changes in trends have long-term impacts on distribution. This is especially true, because, unlike job types, education is linear and achievements are relatively permanent.
You have to get a High School Diploma before a Bachelor’s degree, and a Bachelor’s degree before a Master’s Degree. Also, once someone achieves a Master’s Degree they don’t lose it, even though they might get promoted or change job types.
The most important feature of the dashboard is the correlation between job trends and obtaining at least a Bachelor’s Degree. The purpose of the correlation is to expose important patterns; not provide answers.
A correlation is a mathematical measure of how two things trend together. The closer a correlation is to 1, the closer the two items trend either directly or inversely. A negative correlation means that the two variables are inversely related: when one variable increases the other variable decreases. A positive correlation means that the two variables are directly related: when one variables increases the other variables decreases.
The purpose of correlations in this dashboard is to provoke questions. For example, all the correlations for Hispanic workers are positive. Why is there a positive correlation for Hispanics between higher education and all job types? Why does the level of correlation vary? Are people attaining higher levels of education yet failing to find new jobs, or are existing jobs demanding more education?
To answer these questions you have to explore deeper: explore into the data, acquire new data sources, read journal articles, interview experts, and/or develop surveys. You have to be analytical.
Finally, when using an analytical dashboard it is important to zoom in and zoom out. You need to zoom into individual graphs and numbers, and then zoom to see how they relate to the whole. One number isn’t enough, you need to find patterns and make comparisons—don’t worry analytics is hard work.

An example.

Let’s use the dashboard to explore Nebraska’s Hispanic workforce. The first thing that stands out is that their is a positive correlation between job trends and obtaining at least a Bachelor’s Degree. It is highly unlikely that getting a Bachelor’s degree is directly related to getting a job as a groundskeepers or construction workers. After interviewing several experts it does not appear that laborers with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are being artificially held in construction and groundskeeping jobs. Also, there has not been a sustainable increase in the education required to mow lawns or frame houses. What is going on then?
After examining the correlations, the next key piece of information is the education trends. There has been a rapid increase in education of the Hispanic workforce at all levels of educational attainment. The trend has started to show up in the distribution of education in the workforce.
In 2012 compared to 1999 there are 188% more employees with High School Diploma’s,  232% more employees with Bachelor’s degrees, and 286% more employees with Master’s degrees in the workforce. The trend has continued for 13 years, and if it continues we will see more Hispanics in jobs that require higher levels of education. The Hispanic workforce of today and tomorrow is not the Hispanic workforce of 1999.
In the future, we should expect more Hispanic lawyers, managers, executives, and salespeople. The differences in the degree of correlation show that there is less job growth in labor, craft workers and technicians, and that there is growth for Hispanic officials & managers, professionals, sales workers, and service workers. While the majority of Hispanics are still employed as Operatives (10,770), Laborers (3,690), and Service Workers (4,079); this will be changing. The correlation between education and job type, and the changes in trend and distribution of education, indicate that Hispanics are moving to jobs that require more education.

In conclusion.

An analytical dashboard is a starting-block not a finish line. Our hope is that this dashboard encourages conversations; not quick conclusions. We look forward to discussing your insights. Please comment.
Also, we understand that currently the dashboard is limited to sorting Nebraska’s workforce by race. Eventually, we would like the ability to sort by age and gender. 

Would you like to learn more about using dashboards in your business, download our eBook:

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