Help wanted: educated workers

Worldwide, demand for high-skilled labor is growing faster than supply in advanced economies, concludes a report by the McKinsey Global Institute. Demand for low-skill labor remains weak. Lower-skill workers —including 75 million young people — are struggling with unemployment, underemployment and stagnating wages.

The global labor force will approach 3.5 billion in 2030, the report predicts. By 2020, the global economy will face skills shortages:

– 38 million to 40 million fewer workers with tertiary education (college or postgraduate degrees) than employers will need, or 13 percent of the demand for such workers

– 45 million too few workers with secondary education in developing economies, or 15 percent of the demand for such workers

– 90 million to 95 million more low-skill workers (those without college training in advanced economies or without even secondary education in developing economies) than employers will need, or 11 percent oversupply of such workers

The population in China, as well as in many advanced economies, is aging. Most new workers will live in India and the “young” developing economies of Africa and South Asia.

Scientific illiteracy disqualifies many young Americans from good white-collar and blue-collar jobs, writes Rishawn Biddle on Dropout Nation. “The average American working in science, technology, engineering, and medical fields will earn $500,000 more in their lifetime than peers outside of those fields — and are more likely to stay employed even in periods of economic recession.”

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Comments

  1. and yet, the President, with the stroke of a pen, just increased the workforce of people with a high school degree by nearly a million.

    The idea that our 21st century economy needs a steady supply of people with less than a high school education, every year, is in a word, insanity.

  2. Roger Sweeny says:

    The 21st century requires a steady supply of people who will show up on time, be honest, and do a day’s work. It is also a great help if they can write a succession of sentences that make sense, read a passage and understand it, and understand simple fractions and arithmetic.

    This describes many people who don’t have a high school degree. Alas, a lot of people who do have a high school degree don’t match that description.

    It is factually wrong–and extraordinarily misleading–to confuse “high school diploma” and “high school education.”

  3. Mark Roulo says:

    “The global labor force will approach 3.5 billion in 2030, the report predicts. By 2020, the global economy will face skills shortages … 38 million to 40 million fewer workers with tertiary education…”

    And yet we also get reports that “… currently, only 60 percent of college graduates are in jobs that require a college degree. The odds aren’t likely to improve for the 1.7 million new grads this spring.” (1)

    So, we are graduating kids from college who then get jobs that don’t need a 4-year degree (not by itself a problem … there are non-economic reasons to go to college) and at the same time we are only 8 years away from a huge shortage of college educated workers.

    One (or both!) of these is probably wrong.

    *OR* the issue is not college-educated vs. college-educated but one of specific skills (e.g. electrical engineering).

    This reminds me of the perennial state of engineering employment … we don’t have enough engineers according to the companies doing the hiring. And according to those engineers older than 40, the companies won’t even interview them.

    We have both a shortage and a glut. At the same time! :-)

    -Mark Roulo

    (1) http://www.mlive.com/jobs/index.ssf/2011/05/40_percent_of_college_grads_end_up_settl.html