Sunday, June 16, 2013

Here’s the "final word," for this week, on the “skills gap” myth.

I've blogged about it many times, and even have CNN stories from the 2004 that exposes the “skills gap”myth on my Video History tab, but this time I’ll let Bruce Murphy tell the story, since he's got all the links:
Urban Milwaukee/Murphy’s Law: Yesterday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had a front-page, top-of-the-fold story telling us the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce is working to attack “the region’s skills gap” … Others, including many academic researchers, suggest no gap exists and companies simply refuse to pay a competitive wage. 

Former Bucyrus International CEO Tim Sullivan … wrote a long report for Gov. Scott Walker that suggested, among other things, that the state’s education system needed to be changed to address the issue.

In March I did a column noting this and suggested the Journal Sentinel wasn’t sharing the whole story with its readers.

I also cited a 2012 survey by Manpower of U.S. employers who have trouble filling job openings which found that 54 percent of workers turned down the job because they expected higher pay. Milwaukee Area Technical College held a job fair that could have introduced companies needing welders to 50 job candidates, but “few employers” showed up, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. If companies are so in need of welders, why didn't they come to the job fair?

GenMet Corp. in Mequon is “one of the companies that have complained the loudest about the inability to hire skilled metalworkers,” but … a New York Times story found this company was offering a starting wage of $10 an hour … a new study by the LaFollette Institute which concluded there was little evidence of a skills gap in Wisconsin.  The report got some coverage in the Business Journal and Madison’s Cap Times.
Which brings me to WKOW’s Capitol City Sunday, and Greg Neumann’s guest from the LaFollette Institute UW Prof. Robert Haveman. It’s dry, but the truth, and isn't that just what we’re seeking?

One final note from Murphy:
If companies need to reduce costs to compete globally why aren't they trimming (or simply holding the line on) salaries in the executive suite? 

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