Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Phony skills gap exposed

If job-killer Scott Walker says there's a "skills gap" between workers and jobs, you can be sure there's no such thing. Here's Walker:
We understand the state able to fix the jobs skill gap is the state that will lead the country in economic development.
There is no skills gap in Wisconsin -- a new report says so. The skills gap is a fiction dreamed up by employers to blame workers who refuse to work for slave wages. It also lets companies -- especially high-tech companies -- justify hiring cheap foreign workers through the H1B visa program.

University professor Peter Cappelli has written a book about the skills gap. He concluded it doesn't exist. First, schools are better than they used to be. Secondly, the average American worker is more educated than his job requires.
There’s actually a whole line of research about the excess supply of people being over qualified...
Thirdly, if there were a shortage, you'd expect wages to go up. But that isn't happening. Wages fell faster in the first quarter of 2013 than they have in 65 years.

Cappelli says it is true that some employers can't find the workers they want to fill their jobs. It's partly because they're combining two jobs into one. And it's partly because they aren't training anyone anymore:
...companies got rid of their training departments because there was this big supply of talent on the outside market, and they didn’t have to train anymore. And now they’ve sort of gutted their human resources department so much that recruiting people are gone, training and development people are gone, and it’s probably tricky for them to do anything other than just hire on the outside.
Kay at the Balloon Juice blog asks:
Why do we have to go through this over and over? Wouldn’t it be easier to look at these claims critically right from the start before just blindly repeating them over and over until they become “durable beliefs”?
Good question.