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Another explanation for why unemployment stays high - Input Junkie
June 5th, 2012
09:29 am

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Another explanation for why unemployment stays high
Companies impose pointlessly high requirements..
Indeed, some of the most puzzling stories to come out of the Great Recession are the many claims by employers that they cannot find qualified applicants to fill their jobs, despite the millions of unemployed who are seeking work. Beyond the anecdotes themselves is survey evidence, most recently from Manpower, which finds roughly half of employers reporting trouble filling their vacancies.


10% of employers can't find employees who are willing to take the salary being offered, but most of the problem is looking for people who know so much they need no training at all, or possibly a "why not the best?" attitude which leads to arbitrary work and education qualifications so that positions don't get filled for months.

Link thanks to dcseain.

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/543377.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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From:vvalkyri
Date:June 5th, 2012 03:14 pm (UTC)
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yeah, I knew a highly experienced software guy who had experience in 29 of 30 varied languages and oh no, we can't take you.
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From:siliconshaman
Date:June 5th, 2012 03:17 pm (UTC)
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"..Looking for recent graduate with min 5 years experience. Must be ITER, Microsoft and CISCO certified....pay £6.38/hr"

and that's one just off the top of my head from today. It's no wonder they can't find anyone to fill the positions, some of the requirements are impossible !!
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From:landley
Date:June 5th, 2012 03:30 pm (UTC)
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The problem is that as the number of applicants for each position goes up, it gets harder to choose between them. Interviewing is hard, and interviewing more people is harder.

For skilled work, as the unemployment rate goes up the average quality of each applicant goes down because people are applying for jobs outside their comfort zone, things they won't enjoy doing or have at best a rusty skill set at. (Of course everybody tries to make themselves seem like a good fit in the interview, but that just shows you're practiced at interviewing, not at doing the job.) This means that picking an applicant at random out of the pool, just to end the parade of interviews, isn't appealing.

So people keep hoping for a rockstar to stand out of the crowd, and then when they _get_ them don't believe it and probably think the interviewee is lying or crazy or has a drug problem or some other reason somebody with those qualifications doesn't already have a job...
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From:nancylebov
Date:June 5th, 2012 11:05 pm (UTC)
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The problem is that as the number of applicants for each position goes up, it gets harder to choose between them. Interviewing is hard, and interviewing more people is harder.

Do you know whether this was a problem in other recessions and/or depressions?

I've wondered whether part of the application overload is that people have to apply for jobs in order to receive benefits.
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From:landley
Date:June 6th, 2012 04:46 pm (UTC)
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I learned about it in the 1992 recession under Bush the Elder. It's a function of high unemployment.
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From:bradhicks
Date:June 5th, 2012 03:33 pm (UTC)
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The main thing behind the "skills gap" is that many employers need very, very specific skills, you know, like specific machinery that only they and 6 other companies use, that no school could afford to train on. But they don't want to pay to train new hires, no matter how qualified, for fear that they'll pay for all the training and other companies (that don't) will save money by offering better salary to the people they just trained.

Or, as several people in HR have said to me over the years, "Nobody wants to invest in 'human capital' because unlike other capital, it can just walk out the door with your investment."
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From:nancylebov
Date:June 5th, 2012 11:06 pm (UTC)
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The main thing behind the "skills gap" is that many employers need very, very specific skills, you know, like specific machinery that only they and 6 other companies use, that no school could afford to train on.

Do you have a feeling for what proportion of jobs are like that?
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From:landley
Date:June 6th, 2012 04:53 pm (UTC)
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These days anything that pays a middle class wage is either tenured/unionized/licensed or skilled.

A friend of mine recently got a job at a grocery store and they're willing to train (paid to train even), but they trained her to work at the store, and are now offering training to be a shift manager at the store.

I'm employable due to my open source programming work. All my downtime between contracts was both skill building and assembling a public portfolio. But I had to do open source work around 20 hours/week for about seven years before I started actually getting jobs due to it.

So I have the opportunity to self-train through the internet, and do it constantly. If I didn't, I doubt I'd have a job. (I'm very lucky my hobbyist interests worked out that way, although other people have done similar things via webcomics and music. But the "do it for at least 5 years before you see a dime" thing seems pretty consistent across disciplines.)
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From:alexx_kay
Date:June 6th, 2012 07:50 pm (UTC)
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"Or, as several people in HR have said to me over the years, "Nobody wants to invest in 'human capital' because unlike other capital, it can just walk out the door with your investment.""

Self-fulfilling prophecy, that.
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From:pickledginger
Date:June 6th, 2012 12:51 am (UTC)
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Shoot me now.
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From:sodyera
Date:June 6th, 2012 01:48 pm (UTC)
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Dahlink, I knew this back in the 80s.

The trouble is that when corporations caught the clue that they had to become lean and mean to succeed, they obliterated the long-standing custom of on-the-job training, which is where the majority of real learning happens anyway. The recession-based corporate style farms everything out for somebody else to do, even the imparting of industry-critical knowledge, which will prove to be their ultimate undoing. Trade schools and such are piss-poor substitutes for what you're meant to learn while doing, and unpaid internships had a different name in another century--indentured servitude. Even apprentices under the Old guild system got room and board for their labours. Top German companies still do this. Amerikan companies need to learn how to teach again, and re-learn that apprenticeship is a necessary rite of passage that preserves the industry.
From:paulshandy
Date:June 14th, 2012 05:22 am (UTC)
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They want more and more and offer less and less.
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