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Despite stubbornly high unemployment, there are still as many as 3 million open jobs in the United States. For all of the talk of a manufacturing renaissance, companies are having trouble finding people to staff it. A segment on “60 Minutes” took a look at the debate between the idea that our education system has failed, or that companies got so used to being able to ship jobs abroad that they won’t to offer the salaries or training they used to.
“This is a market. And so, you know, if you’re not willing to pay more, don’t expect to get better quality people… One of the things we know now is wages are not going up. In fact, they’ve been stagnant and some cases even declining over time. So where is the shortage?
What’s new now is that employers are not expecting to hire and train people. If you turn the clock back a generation ago, there really was none of this discussion about skill gaps and skill problems…. Companies are now saying, for all kinds of reasons, “We’re not going to do it anymore.” And maybe they’re right, they can’t do it. But what they probably can’t do is say, “We’re not going to do it, and it’s your problem. It’s your problem to provide us with what we need, Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer. You need to pay for this for us.”
It’s basic economics. If there’s a shortage of skilled workers, employers either need to pay more to attract them to particular jobs, or they need to invest in educating and training them.
Hoping that a bad economy will drive people to things they otherwise wouldn’t try at lower wages just contributes to the problem.
See the full segment here