The Labor Force Skills Gap Is Holding Back Our Careers and the Economy

But there is still hope! And that hope, as it turns out, lies with us.

The gap between workers’ current skills and the ones desired by employers has to close before our economy can go to its happy place.

Unfortunately, this won’t be happening any time soon, according to Federal Investors senior strategist Linda Duessel. While the U.S. job market is, in fact, rebounding in its demand for more workers, the labor force skills gap is keeping us from reaching higher employment and economic growth.

From Business Insider:

“It is true that there are a record number of job openings in this country,” Duessel, whose firm manages just under $370 billion in assets, told Business Insider in a recent interview. “It is also true that many, many CEOs and employers are saying, ‘I can’t find people with the right qualifications or that fit my needs.'” …

It takes time and investment to retrain unemployed people for the jobs that are available, and many of the jobs these mismatched workers may be qualified for are no longer expanding …

“It’s going to take at least seven years for the transition to occur and to get the large number of workers with the skills required for the jobs we are creating,” Duessel said.

This void is being caused by students’ lack of preparedness coming out of college. If no one teaches us the necessary skills of the new economy, then it shouldn’t come as a surprise when we can’t live up to employers’ standards.

Unlike back in the day, when the economy was dominated by manufacturing and young workers learned from older ones, today’s older generations don’t have the relevant skills to pass down to the incoming class.

So, the onus falls on institutions of higher learning. As we move towards a tech-based economy, our education system needs to move with us and provide its students with the proper training.

But there is still hope! And that hope, as it turns out, lies with us. Well, us, and the natural order of the world.

You see, as time goes on, the old folks will retire and, um, reach their final resting place, leaving space for our generation to jump in and takeover. In the meantime, as our understanding of the economic shift becomes clearer, we are responsible for enacting new policy and educational initiatives that will pave the path to our own prosperity.

This transition period will be a rocky one for sure, but if we already know the demands of our future job market let’s start making moves to meet them.


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Cover image: Shutterstock


Posted 07.26.2016 - 03:33 pm EDT

Filed under

Economy Education News

Written by

Michael Gorman