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The Prevalence and Impact of Skills Gaps on Latin America and the Caribbean


  • Schwalje, Wes


In Latin America and the Caribbean anecdotal evidence from business leaders, the press, and numerous government reports suggest many firms express a serious concern that they face internal employee skills deficiencies that limit performance, a phenomenon that has been labeled as a “skills gap”. This article explores the extent of national skills gaps; the importance of skills gaps relative to other business challenges; the industries facing the most severe skills gaps; and the prevalence of skills gaps by firm size. Based on international example, the article also discusses the ramifications of skills gaps on firms and regional competitiveness. (Las evidencias anecdóticas de líderes empresariales, de la prensa y de numerosos informes gubernamentales sobre América Latina y el Caribe sugieren que son muchas las empresas que muestran una seria preocupación respecto a las deficiencias en las habilidades de competencia y conocimiento de sus empleados internos y cómo estas deficiencias merman su rendimiento. El fenómeno se ha bautizado como “brecha de habilidades” y en este artículo analizamos su alcance en cada país, así como la importancia de la brecha de habilidades comparada con otros retos empresariales, los sectores industriales que se enfrentan a brechas de habilidades más graves y la prevalencia de la brecha de habilidades según el tamaño de la empresa. A partir de ejemplos internacionales, el artículo también analiza el modo en que la brecha de habilidades se extiende por la empresa y afecta a su competitividad regional.) (As provas especulativas retiradas dos relatórios de líderes empresariais, da Imprensa e de vários organismos públicos da América Latina e das Caraíbas sugerem que muitas empresas revelam uma séria preocupação, porquanto enfrentam deficiências ao nível das competências dos colaboradores internos que limitam o seu desempenho, um fenómeno que foi denominado “lacunas nas competências” (skills gap). Este artigo aborda a dimensão das lacunas nas competências a nível nacional, a importância das lacunas nas competências relativamente a outros desafios empresariais, os sectores que enfrentam as maiores lacunas nas competências e a prevalência das lacunas nas competências por dimensão das empresas. Com base em exemplos internacionais, o presente artigo também abrange as ramificações das lacunas nas competências no que diz respeito à competitividade das empresas e das regiões.)

Suggested Citation

  • Schwalje, Wes, 2011. "The Prevalence and Impact of Skills Gaps on Latin America and the Caribbean," MPRA Paper 30247, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:30247

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:wbk:wbpubs:12097 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ibarrarán, Pablo & Maffioli, Alessandro & Stucchi, Rodolfo, 2009. "SME Policy and Firms’ Productivity in Latin America," IZA Discussion Papers 4486, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1998. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1169-1213.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schwalje, Wes, 2011. "Knowledge-based Economic Development as a Unifying Vision in a Post-awakening Arab World," MPRA Paper 30305, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Schwalje, Wes, 2011. "A Conceptual Model of National Skills Formation for Knowledge-based Economic Development," MPRA Paper 30302, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Competitiveness; skills gaps; human capital development; knowledge-based economy; economic development; competitividad; competitividade; brecha de habilidades; lacunas nas competências; desarrollo de capital humano; desenvolvimento do capital humano; economía basada en el conocimiento;

    JEL classification:

    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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