"Skills Gap" Doesn't Explain Slow Hiring

Nov 17, 2016

Credit Forbes.com

Employers across the country are having trouble filling jobs, according to a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts. These days it takes about 28 workdays to fill the average job vacancy. Ten years ago, jobs were filled an average of four days faster.

One issue is the low unemployment rate. Since the recession ended, the number of openings has increased faster than the number of new hires. Politicians have often blamed the difficulty on a “skills gap.” These lawmakers have said that more job training would result in an easier time filling jobs. But now it seems clear a lack of skills in the workforce doesn’t explain slow hiring.

The answer, as with most things, is more complex. In many cases, employers are setting wages too low. They also often define qualifications too narrowly, or don’t cast their net widely enough for potential hires. And many people excellent potential workers lack transportation, or don’t have anybody to watch their children during the workday.