Monday, November 26, 2012

There's no skills shortage, just a shorting of pay

Here's a very good post from John Peterson's Democurmudgeon blog, where he discusses articles showing that the claims of a skilled worker shortage is complete bunk. The real problem isn't a lack of skilled workers- it's a lack of pay for people that have those skills. John quotes from Adam Davidson's article in the New York Times , and Davidson observes
At GenMet, the starting pay is $10 an hour. Those with an associate degree can make $15, which can rise to $18 an hour after several years of good performance. From what I understand, a new shift manager at a nearby McDonald’s can earn around $14 an hour.

The secret behind this skills gap is that it’s not a skills gap at all. [the author of the article] spoke to several other factory managers who also confessed that they had a hard time recruiting in-demand workers for $10-an-hour jobs.

“It’s hard not to break out laughing,” says Mark Price, a labor economist at the Keystone Research Center, referring to manufacturers complaining about the shortage of skilled workers. “If there’s a skill shortage, there has to be rises in wages,” he says. “It’s basic economics.” After all, according to supply and demand, a shortage of workers with valuable skills should push wages up. Yet according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of skilled jobs has fallen and so have their wages.
Huh, you can't find people who would spend their own time and money to learn a skill that are willing to accept $10-an-hour poverty-level work. 'Magine that.

In addition to not paying proper market wages, I pointed out a few months ago that these cheapskate employers refuse to pay for the training they say they want their employees to have.

Seems like a simple choice to me when it comes to getting skilled workers in 2012. Pay up, or stop bitching that you can't find anyone. Make the call.


  1. Sort of interesting how this ties in with Walker's statements in California regarding education, and how they will do their performance evaluations based off of degree and the employment of those degrees. They are all evil snakes.

  2. It does seem that having those performance evals be substandard certainly does seem to be part of the intelligence of that design- then you can say schools are "failing".

    I was also going to mention Walker's comments about trying to make colleges do less of the Humanities and more toward "work skills". This also includes using students as free or reduced-cost labor for these businesses. Funny how those things all tie together, don't they?