A Look At Skill Gaps in the USA in 2022

Global Employability

A formal education ensures that every degree holder is industry-ready as soon as they graduate. Or are they? Various surveys that have been carried out in the U.S.A have pointed at the vast distance between what was required of students in various industries and what knowledge the students actually possessed.

With some recent studies suggesting that skills matter more than experience, we might be looking at a future people would be expected to upskill themselves regularly.

Question is – what are the skills that we need to focus on? And, where are all the skill gaps?

It's a personnel issue

Of late, American organizations have been having a hard time balancing between hiring workers with skills and finding workers to meet industrial requirements! Most hiring managers opine that while the demand for skilled workers were at an all time high, the actual number of graduates with the required skills were very low. Approximately 74% of hiring managers agree that there are skill gaps in the U.S with around half of them saying that most candidates did not even meet the requirements for the jobs they were applying for! In 2019, over 7 million jobs in the U.S remained unfilled due to the lack of skills.

With the pandemic playing out like a non-ending opera, the country’s economic growth has stagnated while the skills gaps have broadened. Closing this gap urgently is vital since the crack is only going to grow wider as time passes. To do this, we must understand the skill gaps that have gripped various industries!

Mind the gap

Skill gaps in the U.S are aplenty and are found across different sectors including manufacturing, technology, healthcare, business operations, engineering, transportation, agriculture, and maintenance jobs among others.

Most skill gaps are found in the technological and manufacturing industries, where employers have a tough time hiring employees with the relevant skills. In the technological industry, most applicants do not possess the right technical skills required for the job they apply to. It does not help that these candidates are also not skilled in communication as well as leadership roles. The most common technical skills that organizations look for in potential employees are,

  • knowledge of relevant programming languages such as Java, Python, C/C++, and Javascript
  • software testing
  • analytical skills
  • ability to derive insights from available data
  • database management
  • effective communication
  • ability to implement artificial intelligence and machine learning concepts
  • critical thinking
  • ability to work in a team
  • data analysis using tools such as Excel, Tableau, Python etc.

Generally, most employers believe that workers lack soft skills such as good communication skills, teamwork, creativity, adaptability, ability to be organized,and the ability to form strategies. Another popular field where employees seem to be lacking skills is digital marketing. Digital marketing requires employees to be familiar with editing, the skill to understand what they sell and to whom they should sell, software and tools used for editing and creating content, writing, and creativity.

Across the agriculture sector, most new employees lack skills such as knowing how to use farming equipment, understanding environmental conditions and the crops most suitable to changing situations, and knowledge about different crops and their yields.

In the healthcare industry, most new employees are expected to possess basic technical skills such as the ability to use computers for data entry and to maintain records, soft skills such as efficient communication, leadership and strategy skills, clinical trials skills, and basic hospital management abilities.

Is the onus on the institutions?

For many years, industrial experts and the federal government have been suggesting that educational institutions address the growing skills shortage by implementing bridge courses that connect campuses and organizations. However, part of the problem lies in not providing adequate opportunities to the marginalized classes of society, who possess the necessary skills. Upskilling ourselves is also important and a good way to do so is to be constantly updated about the latest developments in our fields.

Date added

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Global Employability


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