skills gap

Data Matters: The Skills Gap Continues

By Rebecca L. Weber

One out of three U.S. employers has a hard time finding qualified workers.

The global skills gap has reached a new peak this year, according to the annual findings of ManpowerGroup’s Talent Shortage Survey. Of particular interest are the employees who are hardest to find: skilled trade workers. Here’s a look at the numbers at home and abroad.

Rebecca L. Weber

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.

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  • Richard

    Can someone tell me why the so-called “skills gap” doesn’t seem to be subject to the principles of supply and demand? That is, if there is a genuine shortage of a good or service, the price of that good or service should rise. Then, as the price of the needed good or service rises, suppliers will be encouraged to enter the market and satisfy the demand.

    Instead, we see as many articles in today’s press about middle class wage stagnation we do about employers with unfilled jobs. Does this not suggest that the underlying cause of the skills gap is the inability or unwillingness of employers to pay what today’s market says those skills are worth?

    I recognize that if companies paid higher wages to close the skills gap, then they may have to accept thinner profit margins or raise prices to their customers. Neither choice is attractive to most CEOs, but they are the same choices employers with unfilled jobs have always had … either raise wages in order to fill the jobs or find a way to operate with chronic vacancies.

    Choosing to leave jobs unfilled rather than raise wages is a legitimate strategic decision, but it should be no surprise that there will be a limited number of qualified candidates willing to accept lower pay than what the market says the work is worth. To suggest that the “skills gap” is somehow due to a flawed educational system and ignore the principles of supply and demand is disingenuous.

  • Craig Clark

    A Skills Gap is often linked to a pay gap as well. There needs to be better dialogue on this issue. Students will be driven to the right skills if pay is also at the right level. Looks at the recent expansion and filling of welding programs. Companies also need to work with colleges on developing apprentice programs.


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