Posted by: 22. August 2011

Kids These Days…

It’s well-known that despite continuing high levels of unemployment, manufacturers are having trouble filling skilled technical positions.Could attitude really be a culprit?


I recently came across a survey that prompted me to second-guess one of my long-held assumptions. Conducted a few months ago by the American Mold Builder’s Association (AMBA), the survey asked respondents about the biggest difficulties in finding and hiring skilled workers. Surprisingly, the chief response, aside from the oft-cited problems of skill levels and experience, was “attitude.” 


Although the survey didn’t single out young people in particular, I’m going to go ahead and assume that most respondents weren’t referring to the masses of retiring baby boomers they’re trying to replace, or even the subsequent Gen-X’ers.


That got me thinking. 


As a relatively young guy, I typically just roll my eyes when I hear older folks complaining about a perceived lack of respect, work ethic, moral compass and so on among members of upcoming generations. After all, most of the people prattling on about this probably forget about hearing similar comments from, say, their parents, who, in turn, likely heard similar comments from their parents as well. In my view, every generation has its bad apples, and such sentiments are as exaggerated as they are cliché. 


Still, maybe there’s something to this survey. It’s well-known that despite continuing high levels of unemployment, manufacturers are having trouble filling skilled technical positions. It seems to me that if these companies are so desperate to find workers, any potential hire with the requisite knowledge and skill must have major personality problems to have any trouble at all landing a job. 


Was I wrong to dismiss the lamentations of some of my older family members, friends and colleagues as merely the crotchety nostalgia that often comes with age? Or is there something to their view that society has somehow failed to impart in young people the characteristics that made older generations so successful? Truth be told, the activities of certain kids in my neighborhood had me wondering about this before I ever saw the AMBA survey (maybe I am getting old!). Regardless, I think we can all hope that my initial instincts were right.  

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