It’s Hard to Picture Now, But Labor Shortages Could Happen

Given the current unemployment rate, it’s difficult to imagine an economic climate in which companies are hurting for qualified hires. Yet an article from Human Resource Executive Online points out that such a scenario is actually likely, given the gap between projected openings in certain fields and the readiness of today’s high-school graduates to fill those jobs.

Students at computers“It may seem strange to you that, given the situation we’re now in, that we will have these types of shortages, but as a futurist, it doesn’t seem strange to me,” one source tells HR Executive.

A study by ACT Inc., which administers a college-admissions exam similar to the SAT, projects that by 2018 at least five occupational fields are likely to have more positions than they can fill, based on the responses of high-schoolers to the survey. Sixteen percent of all job openings in 2018 will be in education, for example. But only 9 percent of this year’s ACT respondents said they were interested in working in education. Marketing, management, computer science and community service all face similar gaps.

What’s to be done about this situation? Observers say that educators and companies need to be starting on kids while they’re young — say, in sixth grade — and persuading them to pursue those jobs. A pricklier problem is simply getting students up to speed in the relevant subject areas. ACT found many of the high-school graduates were unprepared for college in areas such as English, math, science and reading.

I’d be glad to visit some classrooms and make a pitch for the glamorous world of freelance writing. Just let me change out of my pajamas first.

Photo: Extra Ketchup