A few months ago, our CEO Jeff Weiner wrote an op-ed in Fortune Magazine describing the “other” unemployment crisis; that despite historically high unemployment rates we still have more than three million unfilled job opportunities in our country, and what we could do to solve it.
Last week, he had a chance to revisit this theme in his speech to roughly 1,000 local CEOs and business leaders at the Bay Area Council’s 2012 Outlook Conference, where the theme was “The Next Human Leap”.
Jeff’s speech touched upon the ever widening gap between the highest number of job openings in nearly four years and the roughly 22 million unemployed and underemployed individuals in the US. i.e. the gap between the job opportunities currently available in the U.S. and the skills required to fill those jobs.
Simply put, he argues the pace of innovation has accelerated to the point where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to properly educate our existing workforce to capture newly created opportunities and he recommends a three part solution:
1. Improve our education system — both longer term, generational improvements in primary school education as well as immediate term improvements in vocational training
2. Free up the supply of H1B visas to make it easier for those born outside of the U.S. with unique skills and qualifications to work inside the U.S.
3. Invest in our digital infrastructure and new digital technologies
Solving for the widening gap between talent and opportunity is of great importance to us at LinkedIn, as our vision is to create economic opportunity for every professional. We can’t think of anything more valuable to the lives of our members, their families, and the people they in turn can create economic opportunity for.
We look forward to continuing the dialog with the community and LinkedIn members the world over to help develop lasting solutions in this regard.