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‘Skills gap,’ once defined, now unfamiliar to half of Americans

by | Oct 11, 2017 | Public Relations

Half of Americans (50 percent) have never heard of the “skills gap,” according to the results of the latest American Staffing Association Workforce Monitor survey conducted online by Harris Poll.

However, the unfamiliar becomes familiar when a definition of the term is offered.

When provided with “the term ‘skills gap’ refers to the perceived difference between the skills employers require from workers and the skills workers actually possess,” about three in 10 Americans (28 percent) say they know someone who has been affected by the skills gap, including one in 10 (14 percent) who have been affected personally, the survey found. And of those personally impacted by the skills gap, nine out of 10 (91 percent) report it has been in a negative manner, saying:

  • Few job openings exist for the skills they possess (44 percent)
  • They don’t have the right skills for a desired job (34 percent)
  • They had to get additional training to keep or get a job (25 percent)

'Skills gap,' once defined, now unfamiliar to half of Americans

What is responsible for the skills gap? The rapidly changing workplace environment may be partially to blame. Three out of four Americans (76 percent) say technology outpacing workers’ knowledge is a factor at least moderately responsible for causing the skills gap, according to the ASA Workforce Monitor.

'Skills gap,' once defined, now unfamiliar to half of Americans

“The gap between workers’ skills and those needed by employers is a key reason for why millions of individuals are unemployed despite millions of open jobs,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer, in a news release. “The upskilling and reskilling of American workers through traditional and work-based learning programs must become a top priority of educators, policymakers, and employers of all sizes and across all sectors.”

'Skills gap,' once defined, now unfamiliar to half of Americans

Harris Poll conducted the survey online within the U.S. on behalf of ASA Aug. 10–14, 2017, among a total of 2,023 U.S. adults age 18 and older. Results were weighted on age, education, race/ethnicity, household income, and geographic region where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the U.S. population.

'Skills gap,' once defined, now unfamiliar to half of Americans

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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