Employers must help with training to close skills gap

AN educational skills gap is one of the main causes of western unemployment, according to chief executives and delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos yesterday.

Jeffrey Joerre, chief executive of employment consultancy Manpower, said in a CNBC-hosted debate: “We have high unemployment and a high number of job openings. It’s a skills gap: not having the right skills at the right time produced by universities... If we don’t fix education we will not be able to create jobs and skills required.”

Unemployment in the US and Europe is 10 per cent overall, although this masks severe joblessness of 20 per cent in countries like Spain.

Other delegates agreed but said that the blame does not lie wholly with universities or governments, saying that businesses need to get involved in the training of workers rather than criticising educational establishments.

Indian MP and steel magnate Naveen Jindal said the gap is also a concern in India: “We need to give people employable skills. We must cater to an almost 200m new workforce and we need help from the west in building this capacity in our country.”