A Closer Look

Skills Gap | Will It Chill a Warming Job Market?

According to the Society for Human Resource Management’s Jobs Outlook Survey for the second quarter of 2012, 58 percent of respondents have some level of confidence in the U.S. labor market and expect job growth for the April-to-June 2012 time frame. That’s up sharply from 34 percent of respondents in the fourth quarter of 2011.

The bad (and now old) news is that there is still an imbalance between some job seekers’ qualifications and the qualifications needed for positions available today.

A new report by McKinsey Global Institute found the skills gap is not going awayanytime soon.

McKinsey’s research said that in 2011, 30 percent of U.S. companies had positions open for more than six months that they could not fill, and this was at a time when unemployment hovered above 9 percent.

The skills shortage is coming to a head in places like Memphis, Tenn., which had the third-highest hiring rate among major metro areas in 2011, according to new research by Gallup. Memphis city officials estimate they have at least 3,000 new jobs coming in the next couple of years because of hiring surges at certain large employers like Mitsubishi and Electrolux. Many of those positions are rooted in manufacturing, which has been a stalwart of the economic recovery but is also falling victim to the skills mismatch problem.

“There’s a great shortage of people who are educationally equipped for these jobs that are coming,” said Patricia Myers, a business services analyst with Workforce Investment Network, a division of the federally funded Workforce Investment Act program that serves the Memphis region’s labor market development needs.

Myers’ organization is collaborating with local industry groups, community colleges and businesses to mold the talent to fill those future openings. The process includes interviewing manufacturers to determine their specific skill requirements for new jobs and then developing curricula that address those needs, she said…


Read More@  Will Skills Gap Chill a Warming Job Market?.

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