I agree that there is a certain "toxic" quality within the workforce itself but I think management culture is equally (if not more so to blame for many of the staffing quality issues. There certainly are driven, talented, and serious cooks out there. These are the folks who really want this to be their career. And you also get a bunch of the workforce who think that they want it but learn after a time it is not the life for them. Can't blame a person for changing course in life (heck I did that to get into this industry).
But, at least from what I have seen, there are many folks in the industry who are only here out of desperation or happenstance. Not to say that means they are bad workers necessarily but they are motivated to get a cheque and would just as soon work as a telemarketer or parking lot attendant to do so. They might be in the industry, but they are not of the industry. They do not see it as a long term vocation so they are not motivated to make the vocation better. "Its just till I get my Sh** sorted out," sort of thing.
The hospitality industry gets a rep for using "unskilled labour" but truth be told the industry itself has bent over backwards to make sure it doesn't need a skilled work force. Reliance on preportioned convenience products, "idiot proof" spec manuals, the way many kitchens are structured are based around interchangeable minimum waged nameless staff that are treated as a necessary evil.
If there is a skills shortage I suspect its largely has been because the business has tried at every turn to make real skill surplus to the business of running a restaurant. Well, it worked! Congrats!
The catch is, of course, the artificially low prices we are accustomed to for food are starting to catch up with us. Fair value for food has been so long kept at arms length that with increased global demand, the calamities in the beef and poultry sectors, etc we know need skilled, experienced, and creative people who can make the food cost stretch a little farther.