Employers have long cited an inadequately skilled workforce as the primary reason jobs go unfilled. However, there is considerable debate over whether a mismatch truly exists between workers' skills and employers' needs. A report from the Congressional Research Service, Skills Gaps: A Review of Underlying Concepts and Evidence, notes the possibility of other contributing factors such as:
- overreliance on educational credentials as proxies for measuring skills regardless of job requirements;
- rapid, technology-driven changes affecting the types of jobs available and the skills required;
- employers' unwillingness to invest in worker training and development;
- workers' need for access to affordable childcare or eldercare;
- wage levels and/or working conditions.
The report also details several policy considerations as potential solutions: