Too many Americans face an uncertain economic future. The question for them is not just about the next job, but whether or not they will have the skills needed to maintain a career going forward. Technology and globalization are altering nearly every aspect of our working lives. Americans see the transformation happening, but don’t feel equipped to handle it. And that is not their fault: our economy is changing, but our labor markets and our institutions are not keeping pace.
The impacts of this change are felt by employers and jobseekers alike. It’s a discordant and disturbing reality that many employers can’t fill the jobs they have even though at the same time many Americans can’t find better work. More than half of all American employers say a lack of skilled workers is the reason so many jobs remain unfilled. And as these jobs keep changing, career growth will require continual skill growth. This mismatch is a key reason why so many of our nation’s middle-skill workers feel the strain. The challenge before our country is how we can make sure everyone has the opportunity to succeed in this rapidly changing 21st century economy. This is an issue leaders from all sectors must continue to focus on, which is why I was so glad to join with others to discuss potential solutions at Techonomy Detroit last month.