Is There A Skill Shortage in the US?


5832437491_a8d1b4512d_z[We’re pleased to welcome Peter Cappelli
of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Peter recently published an article in ILR Review entitled “Skill Gaps, Skill Shortages, and Skill Mismatches: Evidence and Arguments for the United States” ]

Concerns over the supply of skills in the labor force, especially education-related skills, continue in the United States as well as in some other countries where employers complain about difficulty finding the talent they want. In the United States, there is little evidence consistent with the complaints about a skills shortage, and a wide range of evidence suggests the complaints are not warranted. Indeed, a reasonable conclusion is that over-education remains the persistent and even growing condition of the U.S. labor force with respect to skills. The best explanation for persistent employer complaints begins with a reminder that there is a market for labor regulated at least in part by supply and demand. Employers appear to be demanding more from applicants, most important, that they be able to perform jobs without any employer-provided training, and wages have not increased to match that greater demand. Employers and ILR_72ppiRGB_powerpointespecially their associations and consultants suggest some public policy response is in order to address employer complaints, but what that response should be is far from obvious.

The abstract:

Concerns over the supply of skills in the U.S. labor force, especially education-related skills, have exploded in recent years with a series of reports not only from employer-associated organizations but also from independent and even government sources making similar claims. These complaints about skills are driving much of the debate around labor force and education policy, yet they have not been examined carefully. In this article, the author assesses the range of these charges as well as other evidence about skills in the labor force. Very little evidence is consistent with the complaints about a skills shortage, and a wide range of evidence suggests the complaints are not warranted. Indeed, a reasonable conclusion is that overeducation remains the persistent and even growing condition of the U.S. labor force with respect to skills. The author considers three possible explanations for the employer complaints and the associated policy implications.

You can read “Skill Gaps, Skill Shortages, and Skill Mismatches: Evidence and Arguments for the United States”  from ILR Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from ILR ReviewClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Desk image credited to Nick Keppol (CC)

Peter CappelliPeter Cappelli is the George W. Taylor Professor of Management at The Wharton School and Director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources.  He is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, MA, served as Senior Advisor to the Kingdom of Bahrain for Employment Policy from 2003-2005, and since 2007 is a Distinguished Scholar of the Ministry of Manpower for Singapore.  He has degrees in industrial relations from Cornell University and in labor economics from Oxford where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He was recently named by HR Magazine as one of the top 5 most influential thinkers in management and was elected a fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources.  He received the 2009 PRO award from the International Association of Corporate and Professional Recruiters for contributions to human resources.  He serves on Global Agenda Council on Employment for the World Economic Forum and a number of advisory boards.

 

 

 

This entry was posted in Education, employers, Hiring and tagged , , , , , , , , by Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, Management INK. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, Management INK

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 900 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, and Washington DC, our publishing programme includes more than 560 journals and over 800 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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