Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Why they can't find skilled employees

It is a common theme you hear from employers; they can't find suitably skilled workers.

Of course, even in our "improving" economy, it doesn't take long to look at the classified adds within the skilled trades to see the problem.
Blame Employers, Not Workers, for Any Skills Gap, Economist Says
Josh Zembrum, Wall Street Journal, 18 August 2014 (hat tip: NC)
Much of the evidence in support of a skills gap could be explained by employers who are no longer willing to train their employees or raise salaries, and instead want to be able to hire people with exactly the right skills–and on the cheap. Mr. Cappelli points to data showing apprenticeship programs are being abandoned. The number of apprentice programs registered with the Department of Labor declined to 21,000 in 2012 from 33,000 in 2002, and the number of apprentices has plunged from 280,000 from 500,000 a decade ago. If employers really faced a damaging shortage of workers, this would be an odd time to abandon programs to train employees.
And you have the Wall Street Journal, of all folks, pointing it out.

The abandonment of the  is probably in part due to a more amorphous course-by-course approach that you see a lot these days.  But that is not a particularly good approach to use when you are trying to get folks onto a career path.

I have been looking at the more electronic-tcp/ip side of the electrical business.  The skill set seems very thin on the ground with tradesman, but you don't see anyone hiring much of anything outside of fully skilled folks, and then at wages that are way under the comparable for the rather similar IT folks.


Harry Flashman said...

It's a bad time to be looking for a job, especially for young people. I think, for the reasons delineated in the post, and some others, it will stay that way.

PioneerPreppy said...

Its been my experience that if a company needs a position filled they will fill it. If they really don't need it filled they will use it as an excuse for something else, usually finger pointing or keeping their options open. Not just companies either as government does the same thing.

The BS excuse of no one qualified yadda yadda is a smoke screen. They simply don't need em filled and are afraid to take the risk.

russell1200 said...

Harry: Yes, and this is supposed to be one of the good times.

Pioneer: Maybe. One item I would add though. If the skill sets of a group get thin enough, they may feel they have no choice but to hire someone who is completely trained, as their is nobody left who knows the skills.

But, I think employers are very reluctant to pay for skills training. Even OSHA training, required by law and potentially costing a ton in fines if not done, is very slow to get accomplished.