06 January 2014

The New York Times: “Unemployed in Europe Stymied by Lack of Technology Skills”

Skills Mismatch

In all countries, there is an expectation that many of the new jobs created will be in the knowledge-intensive economy, said Glenda Quintini, a senior labor economist at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. But we are seeing a worrisome skills mismatch that means a large number of unemployed people are not well prepared for the pool of jobs opening up.

Employers have long complained that graduates do not have the skills they need. But in a recent report, the International Labor Organization warned that skills mismatches and occupational shifts have worsened in Europe in the wake of the crisis. People laid off in hard-hit sectors, from construction to finance, face lengthy retraining, while too few graduates entering the job market have chosen engineering, science or technology degrees for the growing innovation-based jobs market.

Liz Alderman

That’s a long-term problem that will require some serious rethinking of the education system – most students choose their studies based on the current demands of the market, which can shift dramatically in the years it takes to graduate. Technology moves so fast these days that people looking for jobs need to be more flexible than ever, willing to learn and employ new skills. Companies can certainly help through their own training and internship programs, but many don’t have the time or resources to organize large-scale programs – or they don’t want to undergo the risk that the trainees will find other jobs once the trainings are complete.

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