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The Economist on the Skills Mismatch

September 22, 2011 by Joshua Wright

The Economist’s special report on jobs earlier in September — “The great mismatch,” the report’s front page reads — covers more than just why so many employers are looking for the right workers at a time of broad unemployment. It also runs the gamut on a range of issues regarding international and US employment, careers, education, and more. The whole report is well worth your time.

We recommend the story on potential ways to solve the mismatch, and this section in particular:

The mismatch between the skills demanded by employers and those available in the market is a reflection both of bad choices by students, who have not thought hard enough about what will help them find a good job, and of education systems that are too often indifferent to the needs of the labour market and too slow to change even if they try.

The piece goes on to talk about what’s happening in India, which is becoming a model for other countries “because its companies have become expert in turning useless graduates into useful ones and because it has allowed industry to take the lead in creating a huge new programme to tackle skills shortages.”

Also, take a minute to check out the following graphic that accompanies the report’s main story. It’s fascinating.

Fast Company also covered The Economist’s “Ideas Economy: Human Potential” conference in New York and had some interesting insights on education and training from Tyler Cowen — and the skills mismatch from other experts.

[The Economist’s Matthew] Bishop and others discussed the alarmingly high number of unemployed people around the world, and the lack of training and apprenticeship programs to prepare people for the many jobs that are available–all of which require the use of basic technology. The Economist addresses this topic in its feature on “The Great Mismatch.” According to Bishop on “Morning Joe” the day following the conference, there are solutions, and the U.S. is spending far less than Europe on the necessary training and apprenticeship programs. As to America, said Bishop, “it’s simply a matter of will.”

Joshua Wright

Reach out at jwright@economicmodeling.com

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