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There IS no skills gap; employers are lying to themselves

In the games industry – especially in the UK – big employers have spent the past 10 years claiming there is a “skills gap” – that not enough people are being “trained by universities” (which shows how stupid the speakers were; Universities don’t do training, and most never will – it’s against the core principle of a University). Meanwhile I’ve been counter-claiming that they’re making this up, that there’s no “gap”, and that they know this full well – they just want an excuse to artificially pay lower wages than they deserve to.

Now someone’s published a book on the topic. Unlike my straw-poll arguments, this has actually been researched :), so it may be a lot more convincing. I haven’t read it yet, but this interview with the author has enough juicy details to have me convinced it’ll be a good read.

For instance, here’s a segment on “how does an employer start with 25,000 candidates for a role, and then declare that there exists no-one suitable?”:

“…and the way screening works is you build in a series of typically yes/no questions that try to get at whether somebody has the ability to do this job. And a lot of that ultimately ends up, it’s all you can ask about, is experience and credentials. So you end up with a series of yes/no questions. And you have to clear them all, and I think people building these don’t quite understand that once you have a series of these yes/no questions built in, and the probabilities are cumulative right? You have to hit them all, then you pretty easily end with no one that can fit.

So say that the odds are 50 percent that the typical applicant will give you the right answer in terms of what you’re looking for for the first question, and a 50 percent that they’ll give you the right answer to the second question. Well, then, you’re down to one in four people who will clear those two hurdles, and once you run it out to about 10 questions, it gets you down to about one in 1000 people [ADAM: i.e. on statistics alone – independent of quality etc!] who would clear those hurdles.

… the first hurdle is usually, What wage are you looking for? And if you guess too high, out that goes, right?

… at the end of the day, you find that nobody fits the job requirement.”

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