Last updateTue, 25 Feb 2020 5pm

Manufacturing & The Economy

Is the ‘Skills Gap’ Problem a Myth?

For years now we’ve heard that U.S. manufacturers have difficulty hiring due to a so-called “skills gap.” But Andrew Weaver of the MIT Technology Review has gone through the data and isn’t convinced.

“I have conducted a series of nationally representative skill surveys covering a range of technical occupations: manufacturing production workers, IT help-desk technicians, and laboratory technologists,” Weaver writes.

“The results yield a number of surprises. First, persistent hiring problems are less widespread than many pundits and industry representatives claim. A few years back, Paul Osterman of MIT’s Sloan School of Management and I found that less than a quarter of manufacturing plants had one or more production-­worker vacancies that had lasted for three months or more. By contrast, industry claims at the time were that three-­quarters or more faced a persistent inability to hire skilled workers.”


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