Sunday, April 13, 2008

Is there really a skilled worker shortage?

AT&T CEO says hard to find skilled U.S. workers

I find it very tiring to keep hearing the corporate block heads moan and groan about a skilled worker shortage in the USA. Is it really a shortage of skilled workers or a shortage of vision and innovation on the part of corporate titans?

Sure, there are areas of the country (the world?) where it is tough to find skilled workers. There are ways to alleviate that issue through creative compensation, a more enlightened view of workforce management, higher pay, and remote work/telecommuting.

Those complaining the strongest need to change their views on compensation, value creation and allow their workforce to adapt and innovate instead of enforcing rigid and out dated hierarchies and antiquated human resource models.

What needs to be answered is; is there a shortage of skilled workers or a shortage of skilled workers willing to work for low wages?


  1. I can't agree with you more that employers will need to change the way they do business. But I will also agree vigorously that there is indeed a shortage of skilled workers. Innovations and adaptation have only raised the bar on the skills that are required by workers and they are falling woefully behind. The U.S. only graduates 2/3 of the students who start 9th grade. How much should an employer pay to an employee who can't write, count, spell, or communicate no less show up on time (if at all) and be able to work on a team? How many employees have tried to coast the last 10 or 15 years, hoping to continue to pull down high wages without re-training or re-skilling themselves? And the skills gaps aren't only at the lower end of the payscale. The biggest skills gap to overcome is at the highest levels of leadership and management.

    So yes I agree that the current HR is history, the blame equally falls on workers who feel entitled to good wages without upgrading their skills...or learning them in the first place. It's very frustrated to walk into workplaces and meet with employees who tell me they are too old to learn new skills or tell me they're just not that smart but still expect good wages and promotions.

    Employers are in quite a pickle these days or as I like to say, they're standing in the eye of The Perfect Labor Storm. (

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