Skills Gaps: A Review of Underlying Concepts and Evidence [March 31, 2022]   [open pdf - 2MB]

From this Document: "This report is a response to congressional requests for the Congressional Research Service (CRS) to identify, synthesize, and explain the core components of the skills gap discourse and, to the extent possible, explore and clarify evidence on the existence of skills gaps. The report acknowledges that the skills gap label is often applied to several different circumstances and conditions and explores the varied meanings associated with the term. The report also attempts to shed light on the nature and existence of varied types of skills misalignments and explores their potential policy implications. It opens with operational definitions for three terms--'skills mismatch,' 'skills gaps,' and 'skill shortages'--to help clarify some of the key underlying issues and concepts that are prevalent in the skills gap discourse, and provides a framework for discussing them more precisely. It then offers an overview of the various issues and explanations that commonly surface in the skills gap debate. The next section of the report examines commonly cited evidence of skills mismatches, gaps, and shortages, noting the strengths and limitations of key sources. Although the section notes the likelihood of mismatches, gaps, and shortages in some instances and comments on some expectations for future trends, it does not attempt to draw firm conclusions from the reviewed sources about their presence in the current economy. The report then examines potential employer responses to skills misalignments, and closes with a discussion of federal policies designed to deal with existing or potential misalignments between the skills sought by employers and those possessed by workers. This discussion devotes attention to policy approaches focused on investing in skills as well as other approaches toward addressing misalignments."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R47059
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
Media Type:
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