The Myth of the Skills Gap | MIT Technology Review

The Myth of the Skills Gap; Andrew Weaver; In MIT Technology Review; 2017-08-25.
Teaser: The idea that American workers are being left in the dust because they lack technological savvy does not stand up to scrutiny. Our focus should be on coordination and communication between workers and employers.

Andrew Weaver is an assistant professor in the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

tl;dr → There is no hiring problem. There is no “skills gap.” Entry-level IT desk jobs require but “password reset” type skill sets. Don’t worry about the robots.


  • skill surveys
  • occupations
    • manufacturing production workers
    • IT help-desk technicians
    • laboratory technologists
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM)


  • <quote>We would ultimately like to ratchet up both employer skill requirements and employee skill levels (and the corresponding productivity and wages), but doing so requires that we think not only about adjusting worker skill levels, but also about changing employer behavior.</quote>
  • <quote>However, pushing students and new workers to unilaterally make expensive investments in generic skill categories (or, worse, to just get “more education”) is likely to result in inefficient investments, mistaken choices, and a large number of dead-end paths.</quote>
  • <quote>A final point is worth making on technology and the fear that robots will steal all the jobs. Occupations evolve as technology advances. Help-desk technicians once spent more time on tasks like password resets than they do today. Despite the automation of such functions, computer problems—and the occupation that tackles them—continue to expand.</quote>


  • skills
  • economic growth
  • unproductive hand-wringing
  • blinkered focus
  • supply side
  • labor market
  • workers
  • STEM
  • math
  • high-tech establishments
  • cutting-edge establishments
  • soft skills
  • entry-level
  • skills gap
  • economists and labor-market experts
  • probability
  • statistics
  • algebra
  • labor-market intermediaries
  • employment agencies
  • trade associations (unions)
  • employer relationships



In MIT Technology Review

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