NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Who Is Responsible for Fixing America's Skills Gap?

November 21, 2013

It's been a familiar lament over the past few years: Even though millions of Americans are unemployed, companies across the country just can't find enough qualified workers. New data suggest that although many companies continue to complain about the so-called skills gap, few are taking steps to fix it, says CNBC.

  • A recent CareerBuilder survey of 1,648 U.S. hiring managers and human resources professionals found that nearly 80 percent of managers are at least somewhat concerned about the skills gap, but just about 40 percent are doing anything to alleviate it.
  • Manpower's own talent shortage survey, released earlier this year, found that 39 percent of employers are having trouble finding workers with the right skills, down from 49 percent in 2012.

Others argue that there are longer term worries about how skilled the American workforce is generally when compared to other economies with which the United States competes.

  • A detailed worldwide report on worker skills, released last month by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), found that the United States ranked below average among OECD member countries in literacy and numeracy, which measures math skills.
  • Andreas Schleicher, the OECD's deputy director for education and skills, says the results were particularly concerning when looking more closely at younger American adults.
  • They tended to be about as skilled in math and reading as their grandparents, while in other countries younger adults were outperforming older ones.

"In most countries there has been a significant sort of generation gap," Schleicher says. "You don't see that for the United States."

Source: Allison Linn, "Employers: 'Skills Gap' Is Not our Problem to Fix," CNBC, November 7, 2013.


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