Friday, September 14, 2012

A Tale of Two Gaps: Skills and Wages

The skills gap is a widely-publicized theory that high levels of unemployment are related to a mismatch between workers' skills and currently available jobs. We wrote about this subject back in June, and offered some potential solutions for businesses that struggle to find skilled workers. That discussion continues with a new article by author Jeff Selingo, who reports on the disconnect between the skills job candidates have and the skills employers want. 

He offers a number of solutions to help bridge this gap: 
  • companies relying less on technology to screen out potentially qualified candidates that may not pass the keyword screening test
  • colleges developing more internships and other programs that incorporate real-world work experience
  • states offering more apprenticeship programs (especially in manufacturing) 
  • employers creating stronger relationships with colleges to ensure that graduates meet their needs
More information on this last point can be found in a recent Oregon Labor Trends article about connecting training to workforce needs, which was the highlight of our last post.

Keeping with the gap theme, another article published today by NBC News covers the latest data on the difference between men's and women's wages. According to a new U.S. Census Bureau report the gender gap has remained relatively constant over the past four years, with womens' pay hovering around 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. Wages fell at about the same rate for both genders during the recession. Between 2010 and 2011, pay fell 2.5 percent for both men and women. Last year, women working full-time earned median annual wages of $37,188 while men employed full-time earned $48,202. You can find more details in the full article.

No comments: