Yesterday I posted about a study arguing that the shortage of qualified job applicants in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is a myth. I can’t vouch for that study’s analysis, but isn’t the whole concept of “unfilled positions” inherently suspect?
Just as every house sells if you price it low enough, every job opening gets filled if the salary is high enough. To say that there are “unfilled openings” is to say that employers would happily hire more people if only the prevailing market wage were lower. But that is not peculiar to STEM; it is generally true in any industry.
To say that there are “not enough qualified applicants” is no different. I promise: if you offer enough money, you’ll find a qualified applicant. Yes, the total number of qualified applicants is limited by how attractive a given career path is relative to others. If the salaries are only so attractive, only so many people will go into that field. To complain about it is to complain that market forces are limiting your profits. Poor you!
If accountants were willing to work for minimum wage, it’s a safe bet that accounting firms would increase their hiring. Think of all those “unfilled positions”! That is not an argument for government intervention to increase the supply of accountants.
I’m counting on someone with a more sophisticated understanding of economics than mine to let me know where I’m going wrong here—though at least this guy seems to agree with me.