Hiring as an Experiment: Reframing the Skills Shortage

WCER Working Paper No. 2018-04

A. Nelse Grundvig


February 2018, 12 pp.

ABSTRACT: “Skills shortage” is often used to describe the difficulty that can arise when trying to match a ready supply of qualified applicants to open positions. To believe the term accurately describes situations where unemployment rates are low and employers have to compete for skilled workers frames the discussion as an issue of supply and demand. However, this framework does not fully address why skills shortages persist (Holzer, 2017; Cappelli, 2014; Hora, Benbow, & Oleson, 2016; Veneri, 1999; Richardson, 2007). This paper argues that employers may want to consider adopting an experimental approach when addressing skills shortages. Using this approach examines the expectations and perceptions of employers as well as how they address their need for skilled labor. Altering their approach may empower employers when addressing chronic or systemic problems trying to find needed skills.

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keywords: Skills shortage; employment; hiring; labor strategies; career development.