When (almost) alone in a room with American business magnate and investor Warren Buffett, what do you ask him? CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson appeared on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop” this morning to talk about just that. Buffett, Ferguson and a few other business leaders met last evening during Buffett’s stop in Chicago for an event for Junior Achievement, and discussed everything from U.S. job creation and the outlook for our nation’s economic recovery, to philosophies on business and the housing market.
This was the first time Buffett and Ferguson had gotten a chance to meet. On “In the Loop,” Ferguson shared a couple of highlights from their discussion:
- Long-term predictions: Buffett believes that, while the U.S. is going through tough times right now, we will bounce back, the unemployment rate will come down and we’ll find ways to create jobs for everyone in society.
- Short-term predictions: Right now, Buffett is focusing his closest attention on the housing market. He believes that when the housing market returns, we’ll see a broad range of industries related to housing or down the system from what housing creates. He thinks the housing market bouncing back is a lot closer than many of many people think.
See what else Ferguson had to say about his discussion with Buffett:
The current skills shortage — and why we should care
Ferguson said our current skill shortage is a longer-term issue that, though it won’t be changed overnight, must be addressed now.
As a result of a long and deep recession, technology evolution, and globalization, we’re in a position where we have a lot of jobs — and not enough workers with the right skills to fill them. “We have to re-skill a lot of Americans into new industries, and it’s not something that happens in 3 or 4 months — companies have to participate in it and government has to incent it. If we don’t start investing in it now, we’re going to look back 2 years from now and say, ‘I wish we’d started that,’” Ferguson said.
In industries like information technology, health care, and engineering, Ferguson pointed out that we’re seeing a mismatch in skills. There are more job postings for some types of IT jobs this September than last, for example, but they’re staying open longer because there’s an undersupply of people in the U.S. who have the right skills for those jobs.
The key, Ferguson said, is to reskill people into various areas of those industries and help provide employment in the long term for them — but as he stressed, it will take all of us working together to do it. The positive news is that broad-based areas like customer service, marketing and sales are starting to make a comeback — a good leading indicator, Ferguson said, of the underlying health of the economy, and a sign that we may see better job creation as we move into 2012.
What do you see happening for U.S. economic recovery as we begin to prepare for 2012?Related