The Skills Gap: It’s Mutual


This WP piece highlights another interesting debate in the college vs. manufacturing job debate (also discussed here yesterday).  

The conventional wisdom is that there are all these manufacturing jobs available, but young people refuse to take them.  They find them too dirty and dead-end.  This is the much-cited “wage gap.”  

This reminds me of a proud homeowner who refuses to budge on an asking price even though the house has been sitting vacant for months.  The market is demanding one thing, and her opinions another.  At some point, she will have to give into the market demand.

I will not doubt that given the choice between a cubicle job and a welding job, most Millenials (myself included) will choose cubicle.  

In an era where increasing numbers of youth are raised in suburbia and have never farmed, fixed a car, cleaned a gun, etc., we lack the intuitive knowledge of the trades.  With that, we lack knowledge of the joy that working with the hands can bring.  It is simply going to take more convincing — and training — to get Millenials to work in the trades.

It is hard, however, to shed too many tears for employers.  Like the article stated, if they really wanted to hire more young people, they would adjust their wages.  I think there is a bit of an entitlement factor among employers, as well.  

Employers still want a round peg for a round hole.  In an increasingly specialized economy, this is nearly impossible.  

To step into the job on day one needing no training is not feasible.  Employers in all fields can be this picky, though, with the stagnant hiring market.  

I couldn’t believe the number of assessments, interviews, requests for samples of my work, etc., I had been asked when pursing an entry-level job.

The “skills gap” is a gap caused by both sides, employer and employee.  

Young workers don’t have the interest in learning the trades, and employers don’t have the interest in teaching them.  At some point, if there really is a market demand for these jobs, the gap will close.  But like that proud seller, it could take some time for convincing.

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