The lack of workers with skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) is not a result of problems with the British education system but due to employers being unwilling to offer high wages to suitably skilled workers, the research based on US data found.
Dr Thijs van Rens, associate professor in the University of Warwick’s department of economics and lead researcher, said the market wages did not reflect the demand for different types of skills.
‘Unwilling to raise wages’
“Businesses complain about the lack of workers with STEM skills but are unwilling to raise wages for these workers – or reduce wages for workers with skills that are less in demand.”
He said simply educating more skilled employees or a reformed education system was not the answer to the lack of skilled workers. As long as wages did not reward certain skills, people would be reluctant to acquire them, he added.
More education won't help
“While firms complain about a shortage of qualified physicists and engineers on the labour market, a very large number of graduates in these fields work in the financial sector, where they only use their STEM skills to a very limited degree,” he claimed.
“Encouraging universities to educate more physicists and engineers will not make any difference if these additional STEM graduates look for jobs in investment banks.”
Do you agree with van Rens that low wages is the reason for the skills gap? Answer our poll about food industry wages below.
Meanwhile, for the latest jobs in food and drink manufacturing visit FoodManJobs.
Does you your current remuneration package reflect the skills you own?
Yes, I receive a fair and healthy wage in line with my skillset20%
No, I work like a dog and get paid like one too53%
Maybe, I’m unsure if my skills warrant a bigger bank balance27%