The other day we interviewed futurist, Edward Gordon, PhD, author of Future Jobs: 'Solving the Employment and Skills Crisis', Gordon shared a great deal of up-to-date information about the global gap between jobs employers need to fill and the skilled workers to fill them.
Germany: shrinking population and failing educational system
Though Germany’s population is shrinking by 100,000 people/year, the country has the premier dual system of education in the world---separating those students who are best fit for the trades and those who are college bound. The problem is that dual system is failing. Like the situation in the United States, the trades are not respected. Parents are pushing their children to go to university. Apart from Badden-Wittenberg and Bavaria, their system is simply not working. As if that were not enough, they have a shortage of 100,000 engineers.
China’s technological and economic challenges
As China is struggling to move from cheap, mass-produced goods to higher-priced goods, they are transitioning to more sophisticated production facilities, which require more highly skilled workers. The reputed lack of quality control speaks to the fact that the Chinese lack an adequate educational system to support their great leap forward. All this change is happening against a backdrop of a slowed economy.
India: a thriving economy with a weak educational system
Unfortunately, though India’s economy is growing (over 7 percent rise in GDP), its greatly expanded university system has resulted in colleges and universities becoming diploma mills. Moreover, its elementary and secondary school system is weaker than China’s. Most graduates simply do not have the knowledge and skills Indian companies are looking for.
The US is not doing any better
“The skills gap in the United States is serious. The impending retirements of 20 million baby boomers by 2020 will add to this gap. According the National Association of Home Builders, about 200,000 construction jobs are unfilled nationwide. There are now 500,000 IT and computer science jobs, 600,000 unfilled high-end manufacturing jobs, and at least 700,000 vacant nursing positions according to surveys conducted by their professional associations. Both Boeing and Airbus are struggling to find enough trained aerospace technicians to ease their gigantic backlog of unfilled aircraft orders. Many communities have started RETAINs (Regional Talent Innovation Networks) which are public-private partnerships focused on rebuilding regional education-to-employment delivery systems.”
South Korea: the exception
“South Korea is an economic and education miracle of major proportions.” Its population is highly educated and its students compete very well on OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) global tests (9th in the world in reading performance). However, now even Korea has a shortage of engineers, and many of its young people are so addicted to computer games, there are now boot camps to help them break free.
What are the solutions?
Start early: introduce your careers to students in elementary schools; encourage schools to tour your facilities. Consider mentoring promising high school students. Offer scholarships and tie them to internships and on the job training. Companies also need to work with their local school systems and the technical colleges to ensure that the educational institutions are producing employable graduates.
© Copyright 1998-2017 by The Herman Group of Companies, Inc., all rights reserved. From 'The Herman Trend Alert,' by Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist. (800) 227-3566 or www.hermangroup.com
The Herman Trend Alert is a trademark of The Herman Group of Companies, Inc. Reprinted with permission.