Skills Gap Persists

Thursday, 01 August 2024 378 Views

Seven years ago, I published these two posts regarding a skills gap: Finding the Key to the Skills Gap and Root Causes of Skills Gap (on Skills Culture). I decided to revisit the current narrative regarding a Skills Gap.

The notion of a skills gap often gets played different ways. Like with climate change, it ruffles the feathers of establishment and there are deniers. Who is responsible? How are leaders going to address the persistent problem?

With employment, a quick retort is always the steadiness of a relatively low unemployment rate for the last two decades. (I think) At this stage, employers make do with what they can, so hire and re or up skill their employers or scale back. But with AI and automation, an employer recognizing a skills gap might look to automation to fill it. Once a job is automated, will a company ever go back?

With post secondary education, it challenges the adequacy and effectiveness of colleges, universities, and training organizations. Should we be using a skills taxonomy as opposed to the credit hour system? Should we prioritize job preparation as opposed to a general liberal arts degree?

According to the World Economic Forum 2023 Future of Jobs Report, the skills gap persists. Some of the findings of their annual survey of company managers:

  • 60 percent of respondents reported difficulty “bridging skills gaps locally” and 53 percent “attracting talent” as barrier to their business.

  • Predict the shelf life of 44 percent of workers skills is less than 5 years.

  • (Managers with) +50,000 employees AI and machine learning is their top training priority and for all respondents it was third.

Separately, I have been following the Chips Act as our country invests in the manufacturing of semiconductors. There is clear evidence of a skills gap with engineers.

In Arizona, TSMC is scaling back and extending their operation date because of “insufficient amount of skilled workers with… an expertise” (Arizona Labor Spat Signals Challenges for U.S. Chip Manufacturing).

In Syracuse, anticipating a skills gap, Syracuse University’s Engineering School will “increase enrollment by at least 50%, 50 new faculty, and increase research by 100%” to prepare for a Micron investment of $100 billion in a memory chip plant (ECS, Micron established ‘academic partnership’ months ahead of Clay plant construction).

As I proposed seven years ago in my articles, our skills platform – Skills Based Approach, Skills Culture, and Skills Label, is one way to address the skills gap.