By Bill Maher
Stop saying that we lack the skills to pay the bills.
In the wake of Obama’s speech on “Jobs for the Middle Class” in which – for the umpteenth time – he talked about retraining programs for the unemployed, let’s look at the idea that Americans are out of work because of a skills gap.
According to Peter Cappelli, a professor at the Wharton school, the problem isn’t that employees lack skills, it’s that they lack the exact skills for a particular job. Employers don’t want to train anyone; they want to hire someone who has already done the exact same job. And they want to pay that person less than they used to.
And there’s such a surplus of workers that employers can just wait until the perfect candidate comes along.
It’s not the fault of our schools; schools have never trained students to fill a particular skill-set in a particular Help Wanted ad. And studies show that most employees are over-educated for the job they take anyway.
But CEOs love to whine about our shitty schools turning out unqualified workers because that gives them an excuse to pay less, hire interns for free, and push the cost of training off onto the government.
It’s a myth that persists because it lets the employer off the hook.