The Real Fake Skills Gap

In yesterday’s New York Times Magazine, Adam Davidson argues that there is no real skill gap: plenty of students graduate with the advanced metallurgical knowledge to be a high-end, modern welder. The problem is that employers cannot hire these highly skilled candidates at the right pay levels for their investment in education to have made sense.  And so the real skills gap by this article is rendered artificial, at least if we dissect “skills gap” literally.  And yet, the very dynamics that Davidson describes- lack of pay equity across the range of levels of skill- is only threatened further by the pressure of any outside solution to the factory floor: whether outside means offshoring or automation.  The Robot Futures lens on this argument might be that machines don’t replace people. They just change the pay scales.


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