Skill gap refocuses the market

Even with lower unemployment rates, a lack of talent in certain areas can be addressed.

by Connor Nikolic

Minnesota added 7,200 jobs in September. The state’s unemployment rate has dropped to 4.1 percent, the lowest it has been since 2006.

In a way, this represents a victory for Minnesota, and state representatives up for re-election in November will likely treat it as such. However, the issue has a nastier side: Will the state’s employers have enough employees to fill the vacancies left by baby boomers who are preparing to retire?

Companies have to target skilled workers and encourage them not to look for work elsewhere. After last month’s Manufacturing Awards, Dunwoody College of Technology President Richard Wagner told Minnesota Business Magazine that “talent is a scarce resource” in all industries, especially manufacturing jobs. 

This same problem may arise in fields that are currently recovering, which includes the professional and business sectors, education, health services and construction fields.

Companies that want to keep a steady flow of talent to fill the void left by baby boomer retirees will have to change the way they hire. Appearing at high schools, hosting field trips and working closely with colleges and universities even more than they have been will be the best way to attract talent. Additionally, schools must place a greater focus on science technology, engineering and mathematics skillsets. 

It’s our job to allow students to have an opportunity to succeed, and focusing on subjects that will provide them with in-demand skills is the best way to do this.