On the Scarcity of Talented Workers

Posted on June 22, 2012



Food for thought:

Corporate America complains that there is a shortage of skilled workers. Well, as suggested by Steven Cherry in “Why Bad Jobs (or No Jobs) Happen to Good Workers (spectrum.ieee.org)”, think of diamonds. They aren’t really scarce. You can buy as many as you want as long as you pay the price.

You don’t want to pay the price? Well, don’t buy a diamond. Buy a 99c plastic ring from the dollar store. Just don’t expect the plastic ring to turn into a diamond.

Same with people. People who have a trade or profession had to go through a lot of hoops, grueling years of work, and sometimes financial deprivation to get the skills you seek.

It is worth noting that a few companies among you still train their employees. Incidentally, these are the ones that typically pay well, and of an engineering nature. Could it be maybe that their operational costs are lower due to better trained, more satisfied employees and greater retention rates?

Could you imagine that? No, of course not. That is crazy talk, isn’t?

Considering that you, the typical Corporate America of shareholder capitalist lore, no longer see it as your social responsibility to train your new employees (since your only responsibility is to produce raw profit for the next quarter), that puts the onus on the prospective job seeker, doesn’t it?

And if that is how you operate, then wouldn’t you then need to compensate the worker indirectly by paying a better salary, one commensurate with the individual’s skills and experience (which carry a cost.)

In a supply and demand economy, the cost of something does not disappear. The price of an item carries the cost of producing said item.

In terms of employment, neither party, employer or employee, is doing anybody a favor. It is a business transaction, an exchange of service for money (with the cost of the former imbued in the later.)

You can’t pretend that the cost of training is somewhere else (on the worker) while wanting to pay salaries as if the acquisition of experience and knowledge is free for the prospective employee.

That’s wanting to have your cake and eat it, too. And don’t invoke capitalism as a justification for it. It is not sound, sustainable capitalism. And don’t call it socialism either, for it is not.

It is simple common sense.