Is The Skills Gap Growing?

At a time when youth and long-term unemployment is high, it is difficult to understand why some companies can’t find the people they need. Even though changes in the economy have caused the loss of many jobs they have also created new jobs that remain unfilled because of a shortage of people with the right skills.

The widespread use of machines and the effects of technology have caused a shift from the ‘old economy’ that used a range of general skills to a ‘new economy’ more focussed on specialised skills.

The traditional link between economic recovery and a jobs recovery is strained, as companies become profitable without creating enough jobs for those seeking work.
For the first time, there seems to be a serious divide between what employers want and what employees can provide.

The ‘old economy’ left many people without the skills needed to succeed in the ‘new economy’ and, so far, education and training have not provided a solution.

Traditionally, employers and those looking for work found suitable skill matches and as a result were able to accommodate each other’s needs.

In recent years, however, employers and those looking for work have found it increasingly difficult, as the type of skills needed is changing.

Many younger students leaving school, older students leaving university and retrained workers are not developing the skills needed for the ‘new economy’.

Government policy makers, educational institutions and training organisations need to prepare students in a way that equips them for the new world of work.

One solution is to reduce the gap between what employers want and what is provided, by aligning the needs of businesses with what students learn.

Employers increasingly look for industry knowledge, specific skills and a high level of technological know-how; and put less emphasis on general subject areas of learning.

The difficulty with such a large skills gap is that it affects so many areas: those looking for jobs, employers looking for staff and the economy.

Those looking for jobs find it harder to get and keep jobs; employers find it more expensive to fill jobs; and the economy suffers as competitiveness is reduced and growth restricted.

SO, the ‘new economy’ has created a gap between employers, those looking for jobs, and educational and training organisations; and unless solutions are found we will all feel the effects.

What do you think?

Is the skills gap growing?

Look forward to your comments.