Panelists Including SHRM CEO and BC President Discuss Skills Gap
Henry Jackson, president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, spoke at Bridgewater College on Tuesday, Feb. 11, about the “skills gap” and its effect on hiring workers in the economy. The skills gap is the divide between the skills workers currently have and the skills employers are seeking in job candidates. It’s estimated that nearly 4 million jobs are unfilled due to the skills gap.
Jackson stated that it is “an issue that HR professionals have been dealing with for 15 to 20 years,” but is now getting increased attention due to the current unemployment rate. He said that improvements in education, training programs such as apprenticeships and internships, and immigration reform were three keys to addressing the skills gap. Businesses must take the lead in short-term fixes such as training programs, while educational programs from K-12 schools to college-level must address long-term gaps in job preparation.
Panelists Dr. David Bushman, president of BC; Martin Lightsey, founder and former CEO of Cadence Inc.; and Jackson discussed the gap from the perspectives of education, business and human resources. All agree that proficiency in technology is key in a “tech-based economy.”
Changes are needed across the board in education, business practices, and federal and state laws to fully address the needs of employers and workers and begin to dramatically address the skills gap in a meaningful way.