The “skills gap” problem really is multifaceted. It’s like having a gasoline car but the gas price is too high, or you aviation fuel or solar energy. There is a gap all right in the type power you need and engine you are running. So the challenge is to find the old fuel you are accustomed to or innovate.
There are over qualified person with experience and skills employers don’t want to pay for. Some places don’t have a system in which over skilled workers can be employed in a mutually profitability way. Then there are managers not wanting to hire someone who can replace them or challenge them. I have seen a mixture of old and young working together respectfully each doing there own job like you see on a well tuned basketball team. Then I have seen the power struggles, people stealing other work to get ahead. It’s not about skills its about getting paid or rewarded for work. It’s not about skills it’s about using your own efforts to get rewards and not letting the other guy steal your efforts or ideas so they get the promotions. I have watched senior engineers steal ideas from younger engineers only to crash and burn; they found out they did know all the tricks that went into the magic show. Machinist would do the same thing when getting time studied for piece work. It’s about effort and reward.
There is gap of young mold able workers though. Much of today’s technical products are easily used by tech savvy young people but to build or repair them takes a different set of skills, which you cannot get in college. Like wine or beer are not made over night so many of the “skills” used to design, manufacture and repair many products are not teachable in a class room.
When you consider the degree inflation where it takes a four year degree to get a job which a two year degree was enough a few years back then you add a new problem to the mixture. In the past a two year degree got you trained to do the work a technician would do. My two year degree was more like a mentor ship with highly experienced teachers. We had technical knowledge combined with practical experience and many hours of hands on lab work to thoroughly train us. When I went to the university to get a four year degree we had some highly experienced professors but lots of inexperienced teaching assistant work teaching in the labs. The result is people trained like engineers trying to do the work of a technician. Yet more than that there is a different quality of teaching and different types of training.
Who wants to talk about the honest difference between schools, or the male worker and the female worker, or older worker and younger worker? Can we honestly discuss differences without getting sued or hanged in the public court of approval? There are different fuels for cars and different types of trucks.
Being honest then football teams, singers, musicians don’t get to blame their instruments like other industries blame the workforce or the economy. If you stink, people know it and they don’t buy your excuses. A burned burger cannot be blamed on a bad cow. Combine these problems with the soft people skills needed to communicate and facilitate just plain old working together. What appears as a simple skills gap is really the symptom of our cultural change. Maybe if we curbed our lust for power and money we could get along like the rest of nature in a non-polluting balance that produces life and more life.