Is There a Shortage of Skilled Workers?

cubicle-farm-107096-m[We’re pleased to welcome Lawrence M. Kahn of Cornell University. Dr. Kahn currently serves as co-editor of ILR Review.]

In recent years, some employers, researchers and policymakers have raised concerns about a shortage of skilled workers in the United States. In some instances, the supposed shortage takes the form of poor literacy and numeracy skills among young people making the transition from school to work. In others cases, employers have complained about an insufficient supply of technically-trained workers, while policymakers have voiced concerns about a dearth of students pursuing science, technology and mathematics (STEM) fields. Related to possible shortages at the aggregate level is the potential problem of mismatches between the skills workers have and those demanded by firms. These concerns, if valid, have important implications for macroeconomic policy as well as the long run standard of living of U.S. workers.

In the March 2015 issue of the ILR Review, we publish a Symposium consisting of three papers studying different aspects of these ILR_72ppiRGB_powerpointquestions. In papers by Peter Cappelli and by Katharine Abraham, the authors provide evidence that leads one to question whether there is indeed a shortage of skilled workers and whether there is an increasing mismatch between the supply of and the demand for skills. The third paper in our Symposium, by Werner Eichhorst, Núria Rodriguez-Planas, Ricarda Schmidl, and Klaus F. Zimmermann, addresses one of the issues posed by Cappelli: how can we better integrate young people into the labor market? It provides international evidence on policies regarding vocational education and training, which of course don’t just affect youth, but young people are disproportionately served by such policies. This Symposium provides important new evidence on skills and labor market outcomes that will be of great interest to those concerned with the sluggish labor market beginning with the Great Recession.

You can read the Symposium on Skill Shortages and Mismatches from ILR Review for free for the next 30 days. Click here to view the Table of Contents. Like what you read? Click here to sign up for e-alerts and have notifications of all the latest research from ILR Review sent directly to your inbox!

This entry was posted in Economics, Education, Employees, employers, Labor, Labor Supply, Management, Performance, Unemployment and tagged , , , by Cynthia Nalevanko, Senior Editor, SAGE Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Senior Editor, SAGE Publishing

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 1500 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC, and Melburne, our publishing program includes more than 1000 journals and over 900 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

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