Survey: Plenty of Blame to Go Around for Skills Gap

The American Staffing Association’s latest employment survey finds that many institutions share some of the blame for employees not having necessary skills in the workplace. Their employees are to blame, too.

If an employee joins the workforce without having the necessary skills to do the job, who deserves the blame for that failing?

The latest edition of the American Staffing Association’s (ASA) Workforce Monitor survey series, conducted with the help of Harris Poll, lays fault for this at the feet of a variety of players—the federal government, the education system, the employers, and even the employees themselves.

The biggest point of blame among the more than 2,000 respondents, according to the results [PDF], was schools, with 93 percent of respondents suggesting that high schools and colleges should do more to help make grads more employable, while 75 percent said that schools were failing to provide adequate education.

But the survey doesn’t leave employers off the hook, with respondents saying that nearly 70 percent of them failed to provide training and also that employers fail to communicate expectations to their employees (61 percent) or have unrealistic expectations of the people they get (58 percent). Likewise, the government received a good chunk of the blame as well, with 54 percent saying that the U.S. government had failed to invest in training, and 57 percent saying the same about state and local governments.

Of course, these results raise an obvious question: Where does personal responsibility come into play? And the answer is that it does: 72 percent of respondents felt that students were moderately or majorly responsible for failing to study in-demand STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects, and 92 percent said that employees should keep updating their skills on the job.

In a news release, ASA President and CEO Richard Wahlquist said the results highlighted that there was no single reason for the skills gap.

“The ASA Workforce Monitor findings support that there is no single cause nor solution to closing America’s growing skills gap—blame for the root causes is shared, with individual accountability a key factor,” Wahlquist said. “People at all stages of their lives must commit to lifelong learning to maintain their future employability and ensure that the U.S. has the skilled workforce needed to sustain productivity-driven growth and competitiveness.”

ASA’s website has more details on the survey results, along with an array of infographics based on the findings.

(uzenzen/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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