It is conventional wisdom that the United States is suffering from a severe skills shortage, for which low-performing public schools and inadequate teachers must shoulder part of the blame (see here and here, for example). Employers complain that they cannot fill open slots because there are no Americans skilled enough to fill them, while pundits and policymakers – President Barack Obama and Bill Gates, among them – respond by pushing for unproven school reform proposals, in a desperate effort to rebuild American economic competitiveness.
But, what if these assumptions are all wrong?
What if the deficiencies of our educational system have little to do with our current competitiveness woes? A fascinating new book by Peter Cappelli, Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs: The Skills Gap and What Companies Can Do About It , builds a strong case that common business practices – failure to invest adequately in on-the-job training, offering noncompetitive wages and benefits, and relying on poorly designed computer algorithms to screen applicants –are to blame, not failed schools or poorly prepared applicants.
Cappelli, a professor of management and director of the Wharton School’s Center for Human Resources, has been making the rounds (here, here, here, and here), trying to introduce some balance, logic, and research evidence into the debate over skills, educational performance, and economic competitiveness. In his book and many interviews, Cappelli notes that there are two central parts to the debate…
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor from
“Around the world, governments and businesses face a conundrum: high levels of youth unemployment and a shortage of job seekers with critical skills” writes Mona Mourshed, Diana Farrell, and Dominic Barton in a McKinsey in Its report Education to Employment Designing a system that works. (Adapted choosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor to follow) How can a country successfully move … Continue reading »
On Tuesday, January 29th, the German Embassy in Washington, DC hosted “The German Skills Initiative” with many heads of both U.S. and German corporations in attendance. Alongside German Ambassador Peter Ammon, the speakers included U.S. Secretary of Commerce Dr. Rebecca Blank, German Deputy Chief Executive of International Economic Affairs Dr. Volker Treir, CEO of Siemens … Continue reading »
At this writing, the unemployment rate in the United States is 7.9%, yet, according to Manpower, one out of every two U.S. employers is struggling to fill mission-critical jobs. How can that be? In my view, based on my company’s work with more than 28,000 businesses around the world and our assessment of over 3.5 … Continue reading »
The much talked-about “skills gap” in the U.S. is more limited than many people think and shouldn’t prevent, or even stall, the U.S. manufacturing renaissance, at least for a while. More severe shortages are likely to develop, however. We need to take steps now to prevent them and make sure that enough new talent enters … Continue reading »
A shortage of skilled manufacturing labor is on the way, says a new study by Boston Consulting Group. But, says the firm, it hasn’t arrived yet. Many factory managers claim they’re already suffering from a skills shortage. Sixty-seven percent of respondents reported a moderate to severe shortage of available qualified workers in a survey last … Continue reading »
In an industry that now employs 22 percent fewer workers than it did just five years ago, automotive employers are finding they must search extensively to fill job openings. The market for skilled workers and the global competition for talent will be the focus of “Surviving the Skills Shortage: Hiring Strategies and Solutions” at the … Continue reading »
A specter haunts the job market. You’ve witnessed it on the campaign trail. You’ve seen it on TV. It is the idea that the skills of U.S. workers don’t match the needs of the nation’s employers. This “skills mismatch” is routinely held up to explain why the unemployment rate is still at 8.2% three years …Continue reading »
High and lasting unemployment is the fate of several OECD countries. But at the same time, employers widely report difficulty finding qualified and skilled workers. That used to be called “structural unemployment”. More and more analysts call it the Skills Gap. It has been observed for a long time in countries, or part of them, … Continue reading »
Skills Gap | Massachusetts : no current worker gap but a persistent skills mismatch or skills gap for selected occupations
There is no worker gap in Massachusetts currently: there are a large number of people available to work (those unemployed, underemployed or in the labor force reserve), but a persistent skills mismatch or skills gap for selected occupations a report says. Full Report