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The So Called Skills Gap

So Called Skills GapThis is not a topic about anything related to numbers such as finance, math or excel but more about the current social environment we have right now. Companies have been complaining that there is a skills gap and that is why open positions remain open for a long time. But that doesn’t make sense because I keep reading about people with degrees who can’t find jobs or people with technical skills whose jobs been offshored. Companies want people with degrees and they are out there.

So what is going on?

Maybe companies have unrealistic expectations about having high quality people working for peanuts (I’ve read about a few of those)? Or maybe they are looking for a mystical unicorn?

The elite have been discussing the current inequality and one of the topics as part of the inequality discussion is the topic of education: making it more available to everybody and improving the current state of education. But I don’t think education is the answer because there are people with education who still can’t get jobs. (However, we should improve access since the high cost of attending is making college level education unattainable to large swath of people, the very folks corporations depend on to run their companies and buy their goods).

It’s the mindset of those in corporations that needs to be changed. They’ve read about how the best person is 20 times or 200 times more productive (I can’t find the exact metric or quote) than the next set of productive folks, so they are looking for those kind of people. But those are very rare individuals, much like Steve Jobs or Albert Einstein were rare individuals. Corporations just need to find high quality people and forget about the unicorns. The problem is I don’t think the current batch of managers really know how to manage people: they’ve been laying off people and offshoring jobs for so long that they no longer know how to lead, mentor, and motivate people. That hasn’t been part of their job description for a long time, so if there is a skills gap, then it’s in our executive management who has lost the art of leadership. They can’t grow companies or create jobs so they are looking for unicorns to come to their rescue.

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