David Foster comments on the difficulties, recession or no, businesses have finding workers with quantitative skills.
Journalists and academics often blame the missing-skills problem on what they claim to be the higher skill levels required by today’s technology, but I think this aspect of the situation is overstated. I doubt that a present-day manual for an alarm system is really a more complex document than, say, a maintenance manual for a piston-powered airliner circa 1950. And while a modern CNC machine tool does require (at least) a knowledge of decimal arithmetic to program or probably even to set up, a true machinist on traditional equipment also needed this knowledge. It is possible that the average mix of verbal and mathematical literacy requirements for jobs has shifted somewhat upwards as a result of advancing technology and increased management focus on worker involvement, but I think the main problem is not that the skill requirements have become dramatically higher but rather the skill levels of the prospective workers coming out of the schools have gotten lower.
That doesn't stop some people from suggesting that school completion might be enhanced by reducing the obstacle to completion called algebra.

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