A member of my family was laid off this year, one of those highly-skilled workers companies are whining about not being able to find. My relative was making close to six figures, has more than 30 years of high-level experience, and was liked and appreciated at his job.
Yet when the government contracts slowed and then stopped with the end of the stimulus, they couldn't avoid a layoff.
My relative has been searching diligently for another job, but the only ones available demand the same or higher level of skill at one-third the pay. Accept that kind of pay cut, even temporarily, and you'll end up still working at age 80, having never gotten a raise.
bmz at the Center for Economic and Policy Research
News stories have been filled with reports of managers of manufacturing companies insisting that they have jobs open that they can't fill because there are no qualified workers. Adam Davidson at the NYT looked at this more closely and found that the real problem is that the managers don't seem to be interested in paying for the high level of skills that they claim they need.This is the real reason corporations and their pet repugs in Congress so frantically oppose creating the 10 million government infrastructure jobs that would restore the economy and eliminate the deficit in one fell swoop: because those would be good jobs at good pay with good benefits, and corporations would actually have to compete for high-skill employees.
Many of the positions that are going unfilled pay in the range of $15-$20 an hour. This is not a pay level that would be associated with a job that requires a high degree of skill. As Davidson points out, low level managers at a fast-food restaurant can make comparable pay.
It should not be surprising that the workers who have these skills expect higher pay and workers without the skills will not invest the time and money to acquire them for such a small reward. If these factories want to get highly skilled workers, they will have to offer a wage that is in line with the skill level that they expect.