The persistent myth of the 'skills gap'

Michal Rozworski, Academic Matters, Aug 23, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The point of this article isn't that there is no skills gap. There is. But as my one-time colleague Jim Stanford writes, according to the skills-shortage perspective, "the biggest challenge facing our labour market is adjusting the attitudes, capabilities and mobility of jobless workers… The problem is with the unemployed." Indeed, as Rozworski writes, "employers in Ontario spend dramatically less on employee training than they did just two decades ago." And "the obvious solutions to attracting more workers, raising wages, gets nary a mention." All true. But it's also true that people cannot just self-qualify for these high-skilled jobs. You can't just do nothing. But there shouldn't be any breaks for these companies that don't invest in training and development. Support should to students directly, and not for simply job training but for the means and opportunity to compete against the companies that wouldn't lift a finger to invest in them.

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