Monday, August 03, 2009

Perhaps We're Not So Short

Although Talent Management magazine and other human resource magazines suggest that there’s a talent shortage looming, other evidence suggests otherwise.

An editorial in the July 24 issue of the New York Times suggests that a significant number of the new jobs are opening for non-skilled and partially-skilled workers, who receive lower end wages.

Similarly, Leah McLaren’s column in the July 23 Globe and Mail explains why so much opportunity is opening up at the bottom end. Middle-end jobs seem to be going away because the middle segment of business is going away.

Although sharp rises in gas prices and the prices of most foods have caused us to believe that all prices are rising, the cost of many products and services—especially electronics, clothes, and appliances—have remained the same or gone down in the past decade. I’ve also noticed that the hourly wages for independent technical writers and instructional designers haven’t budged much in that time, and the day rates for freelance instructors has dropped precipitously.

Furthermore, the New York Times article that describes the lack of success of many job re-training programs, suggests that economists often do not predict well what jobs will be needed in the future.

In other words, as the middle drops out of the market for goods, so the middle drops out of the market for jobs. And if that’s the case, then what’s all this fuss about needing skilled labor? And what does that mean for the future of our job market?


(o) The New York Times editorial at

(o) Leah McLaren’s column at

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