Employers complain, but don’t train

Employers complain they can’t find skilled workers, but they’re demanding too much and refusing to train new workers, Peter Cappelli, a management professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources.

To get America’s job engine revving again, companies need to stop pinning so much of the blame on our nation’s education system. They need to drop the idea of finding perfect candidates and look for people who could do the job with a bit of training and practice.

Half of employers surveyed by Manpower say they have difficulty finding skilled workers. That’s because they want experienced workers with exactly the right skill set, Cappelli writes.


Notice the shortage of skilled tradesmen, sales reps, drivers, admins and machinists on the Manpower survey. These are jobs that typically don’t require  bachelor’s degree.

Employers should work with colleges to ensure that job candidates developed needed skills, Cappelli writes.

Community colleges in many states, especially North Carolina, have proved to be good partners with employers by tailoring very applied course work to the specific needs of the employer.

Candidates qualify to be hired once they complete the courses—which they pay for themselves, at least in part. For instance, a manufacturer might require that prospective job candidates first pass a course on quality control or using certain machine tools.

Employers also can create apprenticeships, when possible, or longer probationary periods for novices to get up to speed, he suggests.

In Capelli’s follow-up — he got tons of mail — he concedes there’s a shortage of  information technology graduates with skills in mobile devices and data mining. That’s because students choosing majors four years ago didn’t anticipate the mobile boom.  “We cannot expect schools and students to guess what skills employers will need,” Cappelli writes. “Employers have to do more.”


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[…] complain they can’t find skilled workers, but they’re demanding too much and refusing to train new workers, a management professor […]

Andrew Kelly

Hey Joanne;

Great article, I really loved it. My name is Andrew and I live in Olds, Alberta, Canada. I have trouble getting work as well. I have mild cerebral palsy which affects my vocal cords a little and have slightly different walking but nothing that affects my ability to do a job. Case in point I have been trying to get into condo management. I took Business Management at community college got my diploma after 3 years. I also took at University of British Columbia Condo Property Management certificate to get my real estate license. Also, I handle my parents 4 condos plus rentals and I have worked in security at various properties for 13 years condos and office buildings etc. Even wrote property guides and security supervisor etc. Across Canada. I applied when I lived in BC after graduating from my condo management course for JR condo manager or assistant manager, administration etc. I thought for sure the phone will ring off the hook with my background. I went to one interview the manager as soon as I walked in his office said while banging his fist on his desk,”I don’t want you wasting my time, I don’t want you wasting my time!!” I knew that was a wash in getting that job. I applied to several jobs via the net and cold call all said the same thing, “You have related experience but not direct experience we can not hire you!!!” So how is it humanly possible they got hired did the experience fairy hit them on the head? or did they walk in with a silver spoon in their mouth? Or somebody gave them a break?

I moved to Alberta the province next door to British Columbia thinking OK they would welcome me with open arms as they do not have this requirement to take a condo management course at University. I applied for a job in the newspaper for a JR. condo manager no experience necessary; again to my horror the same song and dance. The employer got mad at me because I knew through my experience and education about buildings. He then started to talk to me like a two year old and threw a piece of paper at me and asked, “Do you know what an AGM(Annual General Meeting) is? What happens at an AGM? Point on the paper AGM!!” He then concluded the interview “You are just like a heart surgeon from university you are missing that extra step: You have related experience but no condo board experience.” So why change the job requirements with no experience necessary. Isn’t related experience a form of experience? Weather I cut a piece of wood with a hand saw or power saw they are both related? And at the end of the day the wood gets cut. Employers keep asking, “Experience, experience, experience.”. Somebody comes in with a form of experience and once in a lifetime skills they don’t want it. The employers want polluted and clean water come out of the tap at the same time. They kick the good ones out and hire people who can barley speak English because in Canada they pay immigrants at a cheaper rate and they say no skilled Canadians. How many people are going through College or University just to graduate to hear, ” no experience!” or,” you don’t look like.” Related experience not good enough yet they complain about lack of experienced people. Look in the mirror and figure out why no experienced people or just shut off WANDA the wonder pick your name out of the hat computer because of certain words. I have had my education attacked many times by employers saying, “It is a fake diploma because I never heard of this college.” Really, can’t they ask WANDA the wonder computer to google Humber College of fine Arts and Business.

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