Input Required on the Concept of ‘Demand’

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Input Required on the Concept of ‘Demand’

A lot has been written on the mismatch between the supply of skills and demand for skills – skills in this case being people with environmental qualifications and experience. It is clear that this is not a simple matter – for while employers lament a lack of suitably skilled people, graduates say they can’t find work. Authors like Stephanie Allais have pointed out that it is problematic to put the blame for unemployment solely at the door of educational failures. But another dimension of the discussion on the supply-demand mismatch seems to be underdeveloped: A possible problem with the concept of a supply-demand balance or perhaps specifically, the concept of ‘demand’ which situates the need for people to do certain work, solely in the frame of a market economy.  The classic notion of the market is probably not the most appropriate frame for thinking about the skills that we need to address environmental issues, or even for the creation of opportunities for new green work. Environmental issues and new green work have probably less to do with a ‘market’ for skills, and more with the social good, predictions for radically different futures, boldly ethical leadership, and social entrepreneurship. Has someone explored this aspect of the idea of ‘skills demand’, to help us understand how we can study and quantify the need for green skills? We know South Africa needs more ‘green skills’ in Mining, Agriculture, Economics, Conservation, Local Government  …  and we hear that nobody’s hiring, that these sectors are in fact shedding environmental staff. If you have ideas on this topic, or references to where others have written about the failure of the ‘supply-demand balance’ concept – in relation to green skills or skills in general – let us know via this Forum?

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