I was going through the Star Tribune today and came across an article that highlighted a lot of the points that I wished to mention on this week's post on the Minneapolis Job Market. The skills gap here being talked about is to do with welding. I guess it might be a fairly appropriate example to look at in Minneapolis. Since there is supposed to be so much demand for welding in the Upper Midwest.
The thing is that it is not really a skills gap, but a pay gap because companies are concerned about getting good candidates for a certain price rather than raising the wage that will increase costs for businesses and their customers.
This is reflective of the data that shows that the average hourly wage for a Minnesota welder went up by only $1 during the six-year period from 2005 to 2011. This is from data gathered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. It states that the wage for a Minnesota welder is now $17 an hour and after taking inflation into account, it is actually a loss in the real wage.
Being skilled is important as that commands a premium, but it is the inability of workers to be able to move to where the jobs are lucrative that has also affected them. Welder wages have gone up a great deal in the North Dakotan Bakken oil fields, but a lot of workers just can’t leave their families behind or have underwater mortgages that are becoming quite commonplace right now.