Thursday, August 21, 2014

More on labor shortages

Two recent pieces on labor shortages, following up on my earlier post:
1) Today's WSJ reports a looming national shortage of less-educated workers.  Two things going on: more high school grads are obtaining some post-secondary education (supply down) and demand is picking up in sectors that need less-educated workers (demand up).  So what does econ 101 (or for NC State MBAs MBA 505) tell us is going to happen?  If the claims about shortages are real, wages will rise; if the claims are just management bellyaching, nothing will change.
2) Wharton HR expert Peter Cappelli has been arguing that one reason employers are having trouble finding qualified workers is that the corporate world has vacated the training business.  Workers now obtain skills on their own (usually through education) or obtain them through gradual observation and absorption on the job (learning-by-doing).  He tells BusinessWeek that employers will have to start investing more in training to turn this around.  Such investments are risky unless trained employees can be retained.  So maybe they will have to be paid more???

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