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That is unpossible.

In any case, without speding in in-house training you get increasing wages for a shrinking group of rarely skilled workers, chasing after whom is a zero-sum game for the firms involved.

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 06:30:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, to follow you, German employers are dumb enough to obey your first point out of ideological stubbornness, but smart enough to collectively realize your second?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 08:37:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Both points are consistent with narrow self-interest.

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 09:23:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So are offering more (in a squeeze) to hire or poach skilled people from competitors, and kicking the "human capital" can down the road bacause of the greater costs involved. It depends on how each employer defines his narrow self-interest.

If there has in fact been a decline in in-house training because of the slump (and demography), then possibly the government will need to intervene to encourage picking it up again. But that will take time. Attempting to attract skilled labour from elsewhere may plug some gaps, but it will also take time (and may not play well with German opinion).

My point is not to say the Ernst & Young report is accurate and that Germany is running into a tight skilled-labour market for middling manufacturors - I (we) don't have the answer to that. But it may be the case, or soon become so, because the availability of skilled labour is surely a limiting factor on German export expansion.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 10:25:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The issue here is that in-house training internalizes as a cost a societal benefit, so it is not individually "optimal" according to naïve homo oeconomicus reasoning.

Basically, if you train an employee and they leave the firm before their higher productivity has paid off your training investment, you lose out. If they leave to go to a competitor, they win without investing in the training. So it may be individually optimal not to train, and to poach trained workers from competitors. But if nobody trains, soon the industry as a whole has no more workers to hire.

The only way out of that is collective/societal, either through an industry-wide training scheme, or government intervention. Or if a given firm is large enough to have market power and to have its own large in-house training scheme which can afford to lose some percentage of its trainees early. But small or medium enterprises are not in a position to train many more than one person at a time, so to them the risk of losing a trainee is unacceptably high.

In any case, even within the same industry, there is a common ground applicable to all firms which can be taught to anyone wishing to join the industry, but then there's in-house procedures, technologies, hardware and software, etc, which will take months to learn in any case. So industry-wide training, or school training is not a substitute for in-house training.

I mean, when they say they don't have qualified computer science people coming out of the universities, are they saying people come out of university functionally illiterate (not being able to learn a new computer system/language in a relatively short period of time, on the job)?

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 10:54:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think we disagree on the first part of your comment. As to the final question, I really don't know, but that does sound like business concern trolling.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 11:14:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My
self-serving rhetoric of businesses
upthread

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 11:22:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, except that the FT piece talks about skilled manufacturing workers, not IT grads.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 11:35:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean, when they say they don't have qualified computer science people coming out of the universities, are they saying people come out of university functionally illiterate (not being able to learn a new computer system/language in a relatively short period of time, on the job)?

They're saying that the typical UK comp sci graduate knows Java and perhaps Flash, but has no experience of C/C++/etc, assembler, or deep hardware engineering - never mind clever stuff like kernel hacking or compiler design.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 11:24:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How many firms need kernel hackers? Seriously.

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 11:27:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How many firms need someone with a Phd in string theory?

Actually if you're building Linux systems for business, kernel skills aren't irrelevant. You may not be building a new OS, but you will need to know why abusing the kernel or making wrong assumptions about it can cause problems.

But most employers just want some evidence of cognitive skills and task completion. They're not too worried about specifics.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 11:34:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
most employers just want some evidence of cognitive skills and task completion. They're not too worried about specifics.
Then what is the skill shortage about?

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 11:39:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They're not convinced by the evidence of cognitive skills and task completion?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 12:54:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the universities are?

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 04:04:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The universities are paid to be.

The problem in the UK is more that there are too many cartoon universities offering cartoon courses.

I looked up my old alma mater and the course content isn't any easier than when I did it - but the course has been extended with an additional year and now leads directly to a masters.

This seems sensible. But other unis are offering comedy comp sci with a bit of Android development and a few essays.

The differences are obvious with experience, but perhaps not so obvious to eighteen year olds.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 04:15:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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