A Second Chance
Modern world economy is dynamic and can be characterized by very volatile trends and demands. Trying to adopt to the contemporary conditions and responding to the increasing cost pressure, many companies have to conduct extensive cost-cutting policies, which include not only production improvements in processes, but also an attempt to decrease labour cost through decreasing the number of workers and outsourcing. This trend, unfortunately, is leaving many people without a job, thus increasing the burden for the government and therefore taxpayers. In the attempt to reduce the number of unemployed and to improve the quality of workforce, numerous retraining programs have been launched. However, their effectiveness as well as their benefits both for the employers and job-seekers are not completely certain,. The article “Can Retraining Give the Unemployed a Second Chance?” is trying to explore the impact of retraining on the job market and the prospects, retraining programs may have in the future. Evaluating the trends in the labour market is extremely important for an effective management of a company. It gives an insight into the availability of qualified human resources and opens an opportunity to influence knowledge and skills of the current workers in a way that they would fit current business requirements.
The article “Can Retraining Give the Unemployed a Second Chance?” starts with a story of Andrew Bricknell, who was laid off from the company, where he worked his whole life. In order to make his living, he had to work odd jobs and to drive a school bus. During recession, there was no demand for Bricknell’s qualifications, however even when automobile industry started to recover, Bricknell found himself unable to meet the current job requirements. Although he has been able to participate in a retraining course, his future was still unsecure. The demand for car designers was highly limited and it was difficult for Bricknell to compete with younger candidates. The interruption in his career had a detrimental effect on his future career, thus jeopardizing the result of the $800 course.
International Monetary Fund, however, is advocating training programs, attributing around 9.1% of the unemployment to the mismatch between labour market requirements and existing qualifications. In theory, the benefits of retraining by far exceed the cost, since they decrease the burden for the governmental and increase tax profits. If this approach is true, retraining can benefit greatly all the parties, both by reducing unemployment and by assisting companies in finding more qualified employees. Retraining, therefore, not only solves the temporary problem of unemployment, but gradually helps to adapt labour market to the future business requirements.
Organization of retraining courses requires a significant investment and a holistic approach to education. Thus, it is not enough to establish educational programs, but it is also necessary to introduce preparatory groups, provide scholarships and help those, who leave the school to search for a job. Therefore, it is important to consider not only the benefits of retraining, but also the cost, which is likely to fall upon businesses and households in the form of additional taxes.
Despite the hopes people have for the future of retraining problems, some of the studies show that standards of leaving improved only for a small number of retrained workers. In the majority of cases, such programs have been found efficient only at low income levels, while placing workers with higher past income in a disadvantageous position. Therefore, evaluating retraining opportunities should be taken from various perspectives in order to consider not only the potential benefits of such programs, but also the practical evidence of their benefits. Moreover, the overall benefits should be evaluated in comparison to the cost of such programs, by considering the interests of all the stakeholders. It is an important issue for communities and managers of the companies to decide, whether filling the qualification gap is worth the resources spent and whether the return on this investment makes it a viable solution for the employment problem.
Bennett, D. (2011 , September 14). Can retraining give the unemployed a second chance?.
Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved from