A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

The Skills Gap Worldwide

The skills gap we’ve covered extensively on Construction Citizen isn’t just a phenomenon in the United States.  It’s also a problem in Europe and the Middle East, where The Economist reports that a quarter of 15- to 24-year-olds don’t have a job.

In a piece called The Great Mismatch”, The Economist Schumpeter Blog says:

“Altogether 75 million of the world’s young people are unemployed and twice that number are underemployed.  This not only represents a huge loss of productive capacity as people in the prime of life are turned into dependents.  It is also a potential source of social disruption and a daily source of individual angst.  The Japanese have a word for the 700,000 young people who have withdrawn from society into domestic cocoons: hikikomori.”

Whenever this is written about or discussed, people scratch their heads and ask the simple question: “How can unemployment remain high while so many companies go wanting for workers?”  The answer is largely found in education, where our public policy has emphasized what many now call a “college-for-all fantasy” that simply hasn't worked.  That's not to say that college isn't a good option for lots of people.  But a career path in the skilled trades is too often completely written off as a real option for young people.

The Schumpeter Blog concludes: “Better vocational education is hardly a cure-all for the global jobs crisis: millions of young people will be condemned to unemployment so long as demand remains slack and growth sluggish.  But it can at least help to deal with an absurd mismatch that has saddled the world not just with a shortage of jobs but a shortage of skills as well.”

What do you think?  Tell us in the comments section below.


Maureen's picture

Why does The Economist not bother questioning why wages don't go up in these occupations that are experiencing a "skills gap", which is what economic theory would predict? Manpower's research also finds that 54% of employers in the U.S. say that they can't fill jobs because workers are looking for more pay than they offer http://www.manpowergroup.us/campaigns/talent-shortage-2012/

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