America’s Job Machine On the Fritz

In his latest column for Bloomberg Businessweek online, Drucker Institute Executive Director Rick Wartzman explores two key reasons for America’s jobless recovery.

“The first is that companies are increasingly figuring out how to do more with fewer hands,” he writes. “It is a trend that one can see most plainly in manufacturing” (a theme that we explored on the Dx last week).

“Yet this is only part of the story,” Wartzman adds. “In 1985, a year after touting America’s ability to replace its disappearing smokestack jobs, [Peter] Drucker put his finger on another trend: ‘We face a growing mismatch,” he warned, “between jobs and available labor supply.’”

Wartzman stresses that “a fix here won’t be fast or easy. We need individuals to take responsibility for acquiring technical and analytical knowledge, a tall order in a nation where more than a quarter of all public high school students don’t graduate on time.”

New jobs demand “a habit of continuous learning,” Wartzman quotes Drucker as saying. “Those who previously would have gone into manufacturing ‘thus cannot simply move into knowledge work or services the way displaced farmers and domestic workers moved into industrial work. At the very least they have to change their basic attitudes, values, and beliefs.’”