Peter Cappelli has an article in the Wall Street Journal: Why Companies Aren’t Getting the Employees They Need. He warns us that we should not take too seriously the oft-heard claim that companies have jobs, but there are no qualified people to fill them.
"In other words, to get a job, you have to have that job already. It's a Catch-22 situation for workers—and it's hurting companies and the economy."
This is a fundamental change in the way companies have traditionally conducted business. Cappelli uses the dot-com boom of the 1990s to make his point. At that time any warm body that could tap on a keyboard was considered an acceptable hire.
Paul Krugman likes to use World War II to make the same point. All the trained people were sucked up by the Armed Forces, leaving behind the old, the young, and women—all mostly untrained. This "second string" managed the incredible surge in war material output.
Catherine Rampell provides an article in the New York Times: It Takes a B.A. to Find a Job as a File Clerk. She discusses the trend towards using a college degree as essentially a character filter. If one has what it takes to complete a four year college program then that person has probably demonstrated the characteristics companies are looking for in new employees.
"Economists have referred to this phenomenon as "degree inflation," and it has been steadily infiltrating America’s job market. Across industries and geographic areas, many other jobs that didn’t used to require a diploma — positions like dental hygienists, cargo agents, clerks and claims adjusters — are increasingly requiring one, according to Burning Glass, a company that analyzes job ads from more than 20,000 online sources, including major job boards and small- to midsize-employer sites."
When there are hundreds of applicants for positions, employers can afford to be highly selective.
Peter Coy has produced an article in Bloomberg Businessweek: The Sting of Long-Term Unemployment. He points out that having a college degree and experience providing a perfect fit for a given position may still not be good enough. Coy discusses another disturbing trend: disdain for the long-term unemployed.
Those unemployed for less than six months seem to be able to find jobs. Those unemployed for more than six months are having a difficult time finding work. Isn’t that interesting? Coy reports on the investigation by Rand Ghayad and William Dickens, economists from Northwestern University.
Employers seem to be deciding that anyone unemployed for more than six months might have a problem that would make them a risky hire. If someone else wouldn’t hire them why should I? If there are plenty of others to choose from, why not take the easy way out.
All of these trends in hiring are legal and consistent with companies acting in their best interests.
But, now that corporations are people, couldn’t they show a little more respect for their fellow humans?