WORKPLACE SKILLS SHORTAGE FALLACY IS DESTRUCTIVE TO HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT

The skills shortage that is loudly pronounced in the so called developing nations is nothing but a fallacy. This perception of skills shortage is skilfully designed to cheat workers of their true labour’s worth and so is the abused concept of productivity. This in turn instills a sense of helplessness and powerlessness amongst workers which then fuels exploitation.

The skills shortage phenomenon reflects a failure in people management processes marred by the bad culture of managing by egos and comfort zone that manifests itself through prejudice, nepotism and favoritism in the workplace. The purported skills shortage does not reveal lack of occupational proficiency.

The skills shortage that is loudly pronounced in the so called developing nations is nothing but a fallacy. This perception of skills shortage is skilfully designed to cheat workers of their true labour’s worth and so is the abused concept of productivity. This in turn instills a sense of helplessness and powerlessness amongst workers which then fuels exploitation.

The skills shortage phenomenon reflects a failure in people management processes marred by the bad culture of managing by egos and comfort zone that manifests itself through prejudice, nepotism and favoritism in the workplace. The purported skills shortage does not reveal lack of occupational proficiency.

Skills management experts are dismally failing to structure real job requirements, design adverts compatible with the job and specifying academic qualification necessary to do the work. They habitually overstate work experience required, using culturally biased psychology testing mechanism and fall short of communicating to the suitable labour market segment.

People tasked with the technical work of compiling job specification seem not to be well developed in the science of requirement compilation. These practitioners ought to be at the same level as systems Engineers in technology or Architectures in construction. The job design is methodological in nature but it is commonly done by people who are least developed in logical training subjects like Mathematics. As a result of this qualification deficiency, line Managers end up with a job description substantially different to the human resource task at hand.

The greatest incompetency of the supposed human capital management authorities is exposed by their inability to match academic requirements with work experience needed for a position. There is general overstatement of requirements and unnecessary focus on knowledge of the specific environment. For example there is often requirements seeking experience on internally developed software that can only be known by people working with it in that office. On further interrogation it becomes clear that the software is based on general concepts of popular academic studies and would only take a few minutes to transfer the skill to use the particular software.

The workplace leadership responsible for selection and promotion do not spend enough time and money to understand the content of academic qualification and relations to work experience. There is lack of intense comparison between training outcomes competencies and qualification labels as well as lack of professional will to scientifically evaluate prior learning as legislated in South Africa.

The paradigm shift from psychology to administration within the human resource profession has been detrimental to the workplace. This has led to the underdevelopment of mental and best fit analysis tools for skills management. There is high cultural biasness in tools, feeding various prejudices in gender misconceptions, ethnic delusions and white supremacy ideology.

The evidence of abundance of skills is clear in the unemployed statistics. There are a great number of unemployed young graduates who hold management, training and engineering qualification which are said to be high on list of scarce skills. The amount of highly qualified and extremely experience people that are doing high paying low content job is equally astonishing.

A different socialization process is required for workplace to work for the whole of humanity rather than a few.

By Sbusiso Xaba

Share

1 thought on “WORKPLACE SKILLS SHORTAGE FALLACY IS DESTRUCTIVE TO HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT

  1. When you use the phrase “labor shortage” or “skills shortage” you’re speaking in a sentence fragment. What you actually mean to say is: “There is a labor shortage at the salary level I’m willing to pay.” That statement is the correct phrase; the complete sentence and the intellectually honest statement.

    Employers speak about shortages as though they represent some absolute, readily identifiable lack of desirable services. Price is rarely accorded its proper importance in their discussion.

    If you start raising wages and improving working conditions, and continue doing so, you’ll solve your shortage and will have people lining up around the block to work for you even if you need to have huge piles of steaming manure hand-scooped on a blazing summer afternoon.

    Re: Shortage caused by employees retiring out of the workforce: With the majority of retirement accounts down about 50% or more, most people entering retirement age are working well into their sunset years. So, you won’t be getting a worker shortage anytime soon due to retirees exiting the workforce.

    Okay, fine. Some specialized jobs require training and/or certification, again, the solution is higher wages and improved benefits. People will self-fund their re-education so that they can enter the industry in a work-ready state. The attractive wages, working conditions and career prospects of technology during the 1980’s and 1990’s was a prime example of people’s willingness to self-fund their own career re-education.

    There is never enough of any good or service to satisfy all wants or desires. A buyer, or employer, must give up something to get something. They must pay the market price and forego whatever else he could have for the same price. The forces of supply and demand determine these prices — and the price of a skilled workman is no exception. The buyer can take it or leave it. However, those who choose to leave it (because of lack of funds or personal preference) must not cry shortage. The good is available at the market price. All goods and services are scarce, but scarcity and shortages are by no means synonymous. Scarcity is a regrettable and unavoidable fact.

    Shortages are purely a function of price. The only way in which a shortage has existed, or ever will exist, is in cases where the “going price” has been held below the market-clearing price.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: