Monday, October 11, 2021

Economy affects skilled jobs, schools struggle to keep up

A new survey of educators by Harris Poll finds that the rapidly changing workforce demands are fueling a skills gap across the country.

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Among other findings, only a small percentage of employers say they are doing enough to keep up with the pace of innovation, and the fastest shrinking skill-sets that may be obsolete by the end of this decade are computer programmers, software developers and electricians.

“This survey shows how quickly talent is becoming more of a commodity than it used to be,” said Timothy Blair, president of the Gartner Center for Educational Leadership. “Employers are struggling to predict which skills are going to move in value in the next five years and, consequently, which skills are going to become obsolete.”

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The survey was conducted in the spring, and it covered questions about how fast the U.S. economy is changing, how rapidly skills need to change in the next five years, and how many U.S. workers are prepared for technological disruption. In addition, the report found that about the same percentage of employers questioned about the skills gap said they were doing a poor job addressing the skills gap.

“Technology was frequently cited by respondents as one of the biggest challenges companies face with regard to human talent,” said Kelly Herremire, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. “If the data is accurate, many of the same employers which are warning about the skills gap are also describing how to solve that same issue and investing in this area.”

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As reported by Forbes, nine out of 10 companies said the most impactful skill training program is digital literacy, and all 12 out of 10 U.S. companies surveyed said they need to invest more in STEM.

“It’s becoming clear that technological skills represent the greatest barrier for this generation to enter the work force as an entry-level position,” said Amanda Buchanan, executive director of Generation Talent, a nonprofit focused on the future of America’s workforce. “Technical skills are becoming the specialization category that employers are most concerned about when investing in talent acquisition.”

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According to the article, tech is set to become a far more important piece of the “workforce of the future.” Educators are starting to put emphasis on training students to be tech-skilled. Startups are also looking to hire technology graduates. In part due to this rising demand for young skilled tech workers, the demand for college graduates with a computer-science degree has surged 51 percent since 2013.

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