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ManpowerGroup’s Jeff Joerres on the Skills Gap

Forbes (02/22/12) Rich Karlgaard

Jeff Joerres, chief executive of ManpowerGroup, says companies no longer hire workers in anticipation of increased demand, as they can see instant changes in their supply chains and hire only when they see demand. He believes a skills mismatch will make it difficult to get the U.S. unemployment rate under 6%, noting that since 2006, there has been evidence that companies have evolved their specific needs at a faster pace than people evolved their specific skills.

Joerres says the skills gap has grown since the recession because companies grow through productivity and efficiency, not through raw demand. “Every job has to be productive and efficient,” he says. “Companies are therefore highly selective in adding jobs. They know exactly what they need and when they need it.” He adds that it might be more beneficial for students to attend a trade school than a four-year college.