miércoles, 11 de abril de 2018

Are we really suffering a skills shortage?

There is a continuous hype in the press related to skills shortage. As the story is told, one of the major problems of the labour market, particularly in the IT sector, is the scarcity of enough professionals trained for fulfilling a certain kind of tasks. But what if this is not the case? What if the problem of the labour market is not a the lack of professionals but the lack of professionals that accept to work under neoslavery conditions?

The theory of lack of skills in the labour market has emerged, suspiciously, after the crisis.Promoted by the great consultant firms, like McKinsey or PWC, it has been parroted, firstly, by entrepreuners and, afterwards, by policymakers. However, the dynamics of the labour market stubbornly does not give any evidence of the lack of skills. When a commodity is scarce in a certain market, its price tend to rise. The signals of the labour market go in the opposite direction, with wages being a less important part of the economy than years ago. Surprisingly, valued skills are not accordingly paid.

Slowly, a new theory is emerging. The lack of skills would not be the problem but the decrease of buyers in the labour market. In this new theory, the experts point to monopsony as the cause of the lack of offer in the labour market. As the number of companies have decreased after the crisis and subcontracting practices have increased there are fewer buyers of labour, specially in some areas, who abuse extremely of its dominant position provoking the moving of the labour force to other areas and sectors where they are better paid.

Although it is early yet, we can expect the publishing of studies in the next month following the above line of thought. Alternative ideas are always valuable to discover the truth.  

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