Journal: Unemployment Up AND Gap in Skills

03 Economy, 04 Education

Skilled worker positions go unfilled, despite high unemployment

Employers cannot find job candidates with the most sought-after ability

By John Schmid of the Journal Sentinel

Sept. 11, 2010 7:06 p.m

EXTRACT 1:  According to Manpower Inc., the global job-placement company, the nation has a gaping disconnect between openings and qualified candidates – a gap contributing to around 3 million unfilled U.S. jobs – which in turn hampers growth.

EXTRACT 2: Talent shortages span a broad scale, from engineers who can contribute to global development teams to electricians, mechanics and other specialized machine-shop skills that have seen waves of retirees exit the workforce in recent years without a commensurate wave of apprenticeships to replace them.

EXTRACT 3: “Notwithstanding all our best efforts in attempting to fix the system with recent improvements in workforce development, the pipeline is broken,” Sullivan said. “The fact that virtually all (kindergarten through 12th grade) education in southeastern Wisconsin is based solely on a college prep curriculum, with no exposure to industrial arts, means we are not feeding the market with the right skill sets.”

EXTRACT 4:  Resigned they might not find the exact candidates they need, even from abroad, employers will begin to abandon the notion of the ideal candidate. Instead, they will seek the most “teachable fit.”  This is a new breed of job candidate – folks who lack some qualifications “but whose capability gaps can be filled in a timely and cost-effective way.” Employers who are willing to set up in-house training academies increasingly will look outside their traditional industries.


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