It may surprise you to learn that even as layoffs mount and unemployment has passed the 10% mark, there are employers who are having a hard time filling positions that pay $50,000 to $60,000 plus benefits! How is this possible? Join me after the jump to find out.
According to a recent Associated Press (AP) article, good paying jobs in the fields of nursing, engineering and energy research have been hard to fill. According to the AP story,
“Ask Steve Jones, a hospital recruiter in Indianapolis who’s struggling to find qualified nurses, pharmacists and MRI technicians. Or Ed Baker, who’s looking to hire at a U.S. Energy Department research lab in Richland, Wash., for $60,000 each.
Economists say the main problem is a mismatch between available work and people qualified to do it. Millions of jobs with attractive pay and benefits that once drew legions of workers to the auto industry, construction, Wall Street and other sectors are gone, probably for good. And those who lost those jobs generally lack the right experience for new positions popping up in health care, energy and engineering.”
“A mismatch between available work and people qualified to do it” is the key phrase from this article. Simplified, it means that folks who lost jobs in fields where the jobs are gone for good, like manufacturing for example, are not able to easily make the transition to another highly skilled career. At least, not without significant retraining in fields such as healthcare where there are jobs sitting available and unfilled. I believe the problem goes deeper than just the shift in the economy that has caused the destruction of so many manufacturing and financial industry jobs. I suspect that there is a fundamental weakness in the education system in our country. Public primary and secondary education is in a woefully underfunded state. Ask any teacher you know if this is true. The deficiency of primary and secondary education is leaving our young people unprepared for success in the realm of higher education (college/university). In an article on the Huffington Post, blogger Hillary Pennington cites information from the conservative American Enterprise Institute that highlighs the shockingly poor success rate of American students in college level education.
“A new study from the American Enterprise Institute reports that fewer than 60 percent of students in four-year institutions graduate within six years, with many colleges posting graduation rates below 40 percent. Even more stark is the difference between the highest and lowest performing institutions: At the nation’s most competitive universities, the average graduation rate is 89 percent, while the least competitive universities graduate an average of 12 percent of their students. Students and families have a right to know this information. We as a nation, including policymakers, educators and students, must work together to dramatically improve postsecondary completion rates.” (Emphasis mine)
If government was doing a better job at funding education at all levels, we would be turning out plenty of graduates with the requisite skills to capture the jobs of the 21st century which require far more specialized expertise than jobs in the last century. Clearly, our collective inability to invest in education as a societal imperative is coming home to roost. Its maleffects are magnified by the current economic stress. How else to explain the inability of companies in the US to fill positions for between $50k and $60k plus benefits? For those motivated folks like yourselves who have taken the initiative to purchase specialized, supplemental educational and professional training, the rewards promise to be great.
Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hilary-pennington/getting-people-to-college_b_210914.html
Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/04/as-layoffs-persist-good-j_n_309232.html