DC: Does this issue vary from country to country?
Let’s take R&D in the chemical industry—it’s something I know pretty well. In the United States, no one wants to work in the companies. One of the reasons we have a skills gap is because no one really thinks about it from the start. And I can tell you it’s a big problem, and it’s on the minds of the CEOs of every industry.
But in the U.S., over time the more mature industries cut costs. As a result, they cut R&D spending. And in the process of making those cuts, they create a spiral of less and less growth. Growth is really what it takes to bring new skills on board. When companies are growing, they have a little bit of surplus capital to invest in the future. When companies are hustling, they’re really just trying to make the numbers every quarter. So that’s the U.S. situation. I would just call it an aging demographic.Something tells me that there are very few unfilled R&D positions at major chemical companies in the US.