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“Wanted – young skill to fuel capital’s climb” – OK, let’s unpack that

by on November 20, 2014

The above is the somewhat provocative headline to this article in the Evening Standard. In a piece which features a rather heady combination of metaphors, it argues that London needs talent to sustain its economic growth, specifically in the form of skilled young people. The following extracts give a flavour:

The velocity of corporate expansion and demand is threatening the stability of the supply of skilled people. The talent tank is running low and the threat is of a sustained skills drought that could fast become an employment desert. The consequences of such radical, commercial climate change could be dire….And yet, despite the resulting shortage, we face a competing issue that stands in stark contradiction, namely youth unemployment.’

We then see a link established between a skills shortage (worked up through citing various surveys) which, it seems to argue, can only be filled by young people (‘the demand of business for young and talented employees has never been more acute’). Yet up until that point, I don’t think there is a suggestion that the talent required has to be young.

The answer is said to be through education, specifically in the subjects of maths and sciences. But I don’t see the logic that says that the skills needed can only be provided through an up and coming generation. The article states that ‘business requires the next generation of talent to be workplace-ready and able to fulfil the highly skilled positions upon which our digital economy depends‘ but what about those who already meet these requirements but might not be young? Are they not seen as appropriate talent in the context of the digital economy?

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