Dec 262012

One of the core objectives 1980s management philosophy is to shift costs and risks onto others. Staff training is one area that caught the brunt of the drive to slash expenses for short term gain, as a consequence we have a skills crisis with offers opportunities for savvy entrerpreneurs.

In Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs: Chasing After the ‘Purple Squirrel Wharton management professor Peter Cappelli discusses his recent book that looks at this problem.

Cappelli’s argument is that companies aren’t offering enough for the skills they desire, they often ask too much of candidates and they won’t train staff.

In Cappelli’s book, he claims that staff training has plummeted;

One of your chapters in the book is called “A Training Gap, Not a Skills Gap.” You have some figures showing that in 1979, young workers received an average of two and a half weeks of training per year. By 1991, only 17% of young employees reported getting any training during the previous year, and by last year, only 21% said they received training during the previous five years.

The predictable consequence of neglecting training for the last thirty years is we now face skills shortages and those responsible – the managers and business owners who refuse to train workers – are now demanding governments do something about it.

In many ways today’s skills shortages epitomise the short termism of 1980s thinking and how we now find society, and business, is struggling with the long term effects and costs.

Wherever there’s a problem there is opportunity and there’s a breed of businesses, training companies and workers who will be taking advantage of the failures of the previous generation of managers.

For those stuck in the 1980s mindset that training, like most staff expenses, is a cost and not an investment they are going to struggle in a world where adding value is more profitable than being the lowest cost provider.


The photo THE BEAD MAKER — Apprentice Watches the Master — A Rosary Shop in Old Meiji-Era Japan was posted to Flickr by Okinawa Soba.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: