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Plenty of Jobs but Lack of Skills

August 20, 2012

It’s not news that the unemployment rate is still high (8.2% as of June). Many people are actively looking, but struggling, to find jobs.

Interestingly, two articles I recently came across tell a very different story about the employment market. There ARE plenty of jobs available. Of course, with 13 million individuals currently job hunting, this means that there are also plenty of people in the candidate pool. However, the people that are looking for work are not qualified to do the jobs that are open.

According to an article by the Wall Street Journal, about 31% of 811 small business owners and chief executives said they had open positions that remain unfilled because they had difficulty finding candidates who had the right skill set and experience. Similarly, 41% of 154 manufacturing firms, 30% of 283 services businesses, and 29% of 56 retail businesses expressed the same troubling concern.

Another article by Bloomberg shows that in a recent study conducted by ManPower, almost half of the 1,361 U.S employers surveyed say they can’t find people to fill the positions they have available due to lack of skills.

This tells me that there is a vast and widening gap between the skill levels that are currently in demand and the type of training and experience that the eligible workforce has. This also means that those jobs will remain unfilled and people unemployed.

Not only is the job market tough, it is also changing. A high school diploma used to be sufficient. Now candidates need much more specialized training to be considered for a job. Companies either need to step up and invest more in their training programs, or secondary education programs need to be more accessible while focusing on the needed skills.

What do you think is the solution?

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