bureaucracybusters

A SIGN OF UNEMPLOYMENT: PART THREE (OF SIX)

In Business, Law, Politics, Social commentary on March 18, 2013 at 12:02 am

Employers often claim that they can’t find the talent they need.  Today’s applicants, they claim, lack skills, education and even a willingness to work.

The truth is altogether different.

So says Peter Cappelli, the George W. Taylor professor of management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.   He is also the author of Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs: The Skills Gap and What Companies Can Do About It.

Amazon.com: Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs: The Skills Gap and What Companies Can Do About It

Why Good People Can't Get Jobs: The Skills Gap and What Companies Can Do About It

According to Cappelli, when companies whine they can’t find talented employees, the fault usually lies with employers, not job-seekers:

  • Hiring managers create wildly inflated descriptions of the talents and skills needed for openings: “They ask for the moon.”
  • Computer technology eliminates many qualified people for consideration when their resumés don’t match the inflated qualifications demanded by employers.
  • Employers aren’t willing to pay for the education and skills they demand: “What they really want is someone young, cheap and experienced.”
  • Online applicants are often told to name a salary expectation.  Anyone who names a salary higher than what the company is willing to pay is automatically rejected.  There’s no chance to negotiate the matter.
  • About 10% of employers admit that the problem is that their desired candidates refuse to accept the positions at the wage level being offered.
  • Employers are not looking to hire entry-level applicants right out of school. They want experienced candidates who can contribute immediately with no training or start-up time.
  • Employers demand that a single employee perform the work of several highly skilled employees. One company wanted an employee to be an expert in (1) human resources, (2) marketing, (3) publishing, (4) project management, (5) accounting and (6) finance.
  • When employers can’t find the “perfect candidate” they leave positions open for months. But if they were willing to offer some training, they might easily hire someone who could quickly take on the job.
  • Companies have stopped hiring new college graduates and grooming them for management ranks. They no longer have their own training and development departments.  Without systems for developing people, companies must recruit outsiders.
  • Employers’ unrealistic expectations are fueled partly by their own arrogance.  With more than three jobless people for every opening, employers believe they should be able to find these “perfect people.”

According to Cappelli, the hiring system desperately needs serious reform:

  • Review job descriptions.  If they’re inflated, bring them down-to earth.
  • Don’t expect to get something for nothing–or next to it.  Offer competitive salaries.
  • Scrutinize the hiring process.  Make sure that the automated systems aren’t screening out qualified candidates simply because they don’t have all the brass buttons in a row.
  • Beef up the Human Resources section.

A 1996 cartoon by Ted Rall, the no-holds-barred cartoonist–entitled “Something for Nothing”–brilliantly sums up how most corporate “job creators” actually regard and treat their employees and applicants:2-28-96

Cappelli worries that the complaints about a labor shortage caused by an unwilling, unskilled workforce will be repeated enough that they will be accepted as truth:

“It’s a loud story … that could become pernicious if it persists.  It does have a blame-the-victim feeling to it.  It makes people feel better. You don’t have to feel so bad about people suffering if you think they are choosing it somehow.”

And where there are victims, there are always people ready to profit from their desperation.

Consider the following email recently sent out by Steve Poizner, former Republican State Insurance Commissioner of California (2007-2011).

A successful Silicon Valley high tech entrepreneur, Poizner founded SnapTrack, Inc. and Strategic Mapping, Inc.  In June, 2011, he co-founded the Encore Career Institute with the Sherry Lansing Foundation and Creative Artists Agency.

Thus, the email sent out on July 2, 2012:

Dear friends,

I wanted to share with you some news before my new venture – Empowered Careers – launches around the country….I’ve started this company to help address one of the key issues we face today — jobs.

Our venture aims to close the skills gap through an innovative career development program — all delivered via the iPad.

The program is called “Empowered UCLA Extension” and it combines personalized career counseling with a UCLA Extension professional education from a live instructor who is an expert in his or her field.

It’s all designed specifically for baby boomers seeking to make a career change, get ahead professionally, or get back into the workforce.

* * * * *

Note the line: “Our venture aims to close the skills gap,” which it assumes to be a reality.  And the ad says nothing about the ”greed gap” which exists between what employers demand from workers–and what they are willing to pay in return.

The Encore Careers Institute will offer online non-degree certificates for out of work adults and baby boomers looking to switch careers.

When did a non-degree certificate ever convince an employer to hire?  Even a hiring-inclined employer?

  1. The greed gap is really the difference between what employees want and what companies can afford most employees want ten times what their company can afford to pay them employers are asking for what they need its the arrogance of the employee that is preventing the hiring the truth is that all good people get jobs the problem is that their so many bad workers in the world people who the cost of training would be far above their worth uncompetitive workers don’t deserve competitive wages

    • Whoever wrote this needs to learn there is such a thing as a period–a dot (.) that comes at the end of a sentence.

      I disagree with the comment “the truth is that all good people get jobs.” To assume otherwise is to believe–as this person obviously does–that everyone who is unemployed deserves to be. And that’s exactly what employers who refuse to hire want others to believe. The blunt truth is that no job-seeker, no matter how qualified and willing to work, can hire himself/herself upon an employer who is too lazy/greedy/arrogant to make the decision to hire.

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