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.

 

 

 

How Important is Self-Managing Leadership for Crisis Management?

Crises are common in the modern world and the value system of leaders plays a crucial role in effectively managing a crisis. The article “Role of Self-managing Leadership in Crisis Management: An Empirical Study on the Effectiveness of Rajayoga” explores the role of self-managing leadership in crisis management. The topic is particularly pertinent because many crisis management blunders can be attributed to leadership failures, and in the context of business, lack of effective crisis management has led to downfall of many businesses.

IIM Journal CoverCrises can be generalized along a spectrum—on one end, you have individual crises, and on the other end, you have global crises. However, in all cases, it is individuals who have to provide leadership, whether it be for individual crises, organizational crises, or global crises.

In rapidly changing times, the challenge to an organization is to provide a framework for people to understand their journey through change so they can contribute their best work to the organization. In order to act as a leader or an agent of change within an organization, employees must be able to bring about significant change within their organization. The rate of external environmental change is inexplicably linked to self-management—as changes increase, self-management becomes more important. Because it is hardly possible to control the external environment, emphasis has shifted towards managing the inner environment and harnessing resources within an organization. The future of an organization rests on the autonomy, maturity and confidence of the people. Many employees are trained with particular technical and functional-oriented skills, and later promoted on the basis of those skills. However,sign-success-and-failure-1133804-m those skills primarily prepare employees to work in a relatively stable environment, not in a rapidly changing and at times chaotic environment. Thus, the skills necessary for employees now are those that help employees lead through a never-ending process of change.

The abstract:

Crises are common in the modern world and the value system of leaders plays a crucial role in effectively managing the crises. The role of self-managing leadership in crisis management is explored in this article. An empirical study is conducted to understand the effectiveness of the ancient self-management technique called Rajayoga. It is based on a sample survey among two groups—one group not practicing Rajayoga and the other group practicing Rajayoga. It is found that the inner powers and innate values have a positive correlation with crises management capabilities. Further, these capabilities and correlations are found to be stronger in a group of people practicing Rajayoga for self-empowerment. The relationship between inner powers and innate values, the interactivity and proactivity among the inner powers, the relationship between the ‘doing’ powers and the ‘being’ powers are also confirmed through the study.

You can read “Role of Self-managing Leadership in Crisis Management: An Empirical Study on the Effectiveness of Rajayoga” from IIM Kozhikode Society & Management Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research from IIM Kozhikode Society & Management Review? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Video: Taxonomy of Serious Games for Business

When Marco Greco decided he wanted to create a collaborative creative of business games, he realized he had one major problem: the taxonomy of serious games for business was unclear. Dr. Greco collaborated with Nicola Baldissin and Fabio Nonino to create a taxonomy that would work for scholars of the business gaming community in their article published in Simulation and Gaming entitled “An Exploratory Taxonomy of Business Games.”

Dr. Greco discussed his paper in a recent interview:

Read “An Exploratory Taxonomy of Business Games” from Simulation and Gaming for free by clicking here. Want to keep up with Simulation and Gaming? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

To Succeed, Should You Specialize?

In today’s market, does job specialization help or hinder one’s career? A new article published by John-Paul Ferguson and Sharique Hasan of Stanford University in Administrative Science Quarterly, “Specialization and Career Dynamics: Evidence from the Indian Administrative Service,” provides a unique perspective on this debate:

There are advantages to focusing on one thing. Whether it is because of skills that one learns on the job or because of the clearer signals of identity that one sends to potential employers, specializing can help an employee get ahead. Yet there are also advantages to broad experience. These might accrue from developing different skills or might be due to the ability to broker between different domains of expertise…

????????????????????????????In this paper, we use a rich set of longitudinal data about the background, work experiences, and career outcomes of officers in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) to parse the effect of specialization on career advancement. These data help us with both of these problems. First, the structure of the IAS minimizes variance in unobserved ability and rules out self-selection and survivor bias. This allows us to estimate more convincing, causal benefits of specialization on career advancement. Second, the IAS data include information about skills its officers acquire in each job, as well as the skill requirements of each job.

Click here to read the article in Administrative Science Quarterly, and visit the journal’s OnlineFirst section for more brand-new articles on organizational studies.