Survival of the Fittest: Badly Educated Men Struggling to Keep Up

Badly educated men in rich countries are a species hit hard by the changing demands of the labor market. They have enjoyed unwarranted advantages in the labor market simply because of their sex for decades and centuries but now their fortune is changing.

The Economist emphasized in an article how men cluster both at the top and the bottom of US society. While 95% of Fortune 500 CEOs, 98% of Forbes’ self-made billionaires are male and 93% of world’s government heads are male, men are also far more likely than women to be imprisoned, killed in a homicide or commit suicide. Indeed, men finding themselves increasingly divided between the highest and lowest rungs of society are an issue that is played out not only in the US but also in much of the rest of the industrialized world.


Over the past decades, women have caught up intensively on education and are now earning 57% of degrees in OECD countries. Boys are 50% more likely to fail all three basic subjects in school: mathematics, reading and science. Book-smartness was not an essential qualification in the past but now it is hard to find even low skilled work without a basic school degree. While it is still hard for women to break the glass ceiling, they dominate 20 of the 30 occupations that are expected to grow fastest in the coming years (e.g. nursing, accounting, child care). Hence, the gap between the sexes can be expected to grow even more.

The issue is not only the lack of education or qualifications that causes many men to do poorly in the present world of digitalized, automatized and outsourced workflows but a refusal to think outside of traditional gender roles. There is no more real money in muscle work, work that badly educated men have traditionally exercised, as machines replace a great number of manual workers and foreign workers do the same job for a fraction of the money. Hence, it is literally not the strongest species that survives, as Darwin said, but the one that is most adaptable.

It is clear that the men at the bottom would need to reinvent themselves in order to catch up with the fast paced labor market. But where to start? offers with its cutting-edge semantic knowledge base of occupation and skills data a means to analyze skills gaps and to manage talent effectively. It can easily find what skills a person is lacking in order to exercise a certain occupation. Also statistical analyses of a whole community or society can be conducted by means of’s ontology in order to get to the bottom of issues in the labor market.