Depending on the source a person uses, unemployment continues to be high with 12 million Americans who are unemployed. Yet there are millions of jobs that go unfilled each month. A simple solution to the unemployment issue then would be to require those who are unemployed to accept one of the millions of jobs available.
There is a problem with this simple logic. Simply put, those who are unemployed do not have the required skills to perform the job that is available. This is known as the skills gap.
With tightening budgets companies are demanding more and more skills from applicants. Those skills can come in many forms such as technology, processes, software knowledge or compliance. A goes the the applicant that can join a company and become a contributor immediately with next to no training. Back in the day when a applicant just needed the basics a company could invest into the employee and grow their skill set. Today, one of the first departments that is downsized in a company is Training.
What may have worked int the past does not work now. Some companies feel that with over 12 million unemployed people in the United States there must be someone that has the skill that can be hired quickly without the training. This philosophy hurts everyone. The unemployed continue to be jobless while companies perform at marginal levels due to being short staffed. Current employees have to perform more work for the same pay and that lowers morale.
More pressure is put upon Colleges and Trade Schools to overcome the skills gap. Through partnerships with business some of the skills gap are being bridged for graduating students. However, that does little for those who are in mid career and have been laid off. The prospect of returning to school to attain the needed skill is daunting. The first obstacle is paying tuition and second is meeting the cost of maintaining a family with no income. While unemployment compensation insurance is not intended to support someone in school. With most state re-training programs or assistance realistically out of touch with business skills needed.
There are wild cards that impact the skills gap. Some of those wild cards occur when companies that have jobs which are geographically located in a area that a unemployed person with that skill does not reside. An example of this would be the need for a skilled machinist in Orlando FL while a person with that skill set can be found in Detroit Michigan. The level of compensation is not significant enough to cause someone with the needed skill set to relocate to where there is work.
Or companies anticipate a future needed skill set and having a pool of candidates immediately available becomes a strategic advantage. Therefore, companies can and do collect resumes in anticipation of hiring soon at some future point. Another wild card is when a set exists the person and desperately wants the job but is unable to receive the offer due to situations such as a criminal conviction.
The questions on the skills gap come easier than the solutions. Clearly, with heavier demands on skills becoming apparent it begs business to re-invest into training and to partner with education to produce a skilled workforce capable helping to grow companies and the economy.
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