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Evidence that American workers aren't up to snuff?

More than half of U.S. employers surveyed by the staffing firm Manpower Group last year said they were having trouble filling job openings because they couldn't find qualified workers. That’s a huge 38 percentage point jump from 2010, when only 14 percent said they were having trouble filling positions.

Not so fast. It turns out there's good reason to believe that companies have gotten spoiled and don't think they should have to look hard or offer the wages or benefits they once would have:

Steven J. Davis, a professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, regularly tracks “recruiting intensity per vacancy,” which is essentially a measure of how hard employers are looking for the right employees.  He said recruiting intensity declined a lot at the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, and has only recovered partway as the economy has improved.

The same expert, though, suggests that there is a skills gap, with blue-collar men not having gotten the training to compete in this economy. That's something we hear a lot about, and there are likely cases where it applies. But not enough to explain this: "a much smaller share of working-age men, whatever their level of education, is working today than in past decades." And if you look at all men, not just ones who are working, "After adjusting for inflation, the typical male college graduate earned about 12 percent less in 2009 than his counterpart did in 1969."

If it's a skills gap, wouldn't we expect to see some group of people doing better, in the aggregate, than in the past? Companies thinking they shouldn't have to really try to attract desirable workers certainly isn't helping matters. But in the end you have to ask, who exactly do companies think would be qualified?

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 09:12 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos and Progressive Hippie.

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Comment Preferences

  •  can't fill jobs meant for cllg lvl at McD wages (29+ / 0-)

    is what it is all about

    the qualified workers are there, it is that big biz is offering wages and no benefits that the well trained would take

    Can't fill those college level required jobs by paying Mcdonald's level wages

  •  The qualified workers exist. (15+ / 0-)

    I remember reading this article last year.

    The unemployment rate for college grads under 24 was more than 9%.

    I write the series Confessions of a Retail Worker here on DK. It documents my life in a non-unionized workplace.

    by Lightbulb on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 09:25:31 AM PST

    •  Not trying to bash kids (5+ / 0-)

      (I generally don't have anything against them, if they stay off my lawn!) but new college grads under the age of 24 quite likely are having trouble competing with the excess of unemployed people who have "real world" experience.

      Job areas that have the greatest shortfall of worker are in the skilled trades that don't always, or even usually, require a college degree but rather require extensive on the job training (oil rig worker, for example)

    •  The only catch is... (8+ / 0-)

      ...that employers have been increasingly unwilling to hire college grads who lack relevant job experience (ie, an internship).  It's a trend that has been building for a while, and I'm sure that this recession has magnified it even further -- when employers can afford to be picky, they don't really like having to go back to being less picky.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:38:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  this has been my experience (12+ / 0-)

        I graduated in May 2010 and since then have only been able to get interviews for unpaid internships and have finally just started one now, in January 2012. Almost a year and a half, to find an UNPAID internship.

        A real job? No way. I don't have enough experience for them. I'm glad I now finally have something I can build on for my resume. And in the meantime I am working at a gas station as a cashier for minimum wage, since credit card companies and student loans do not take unpaid internship money.

        "We must move forward, not backward. Upward, not forward. And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!"

        by Purdue219 on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:04:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  They want (14+ / 0-)

        somebody who's 25, and has 10 yrs experience in a technology that's only been in existence for 5 yrs.

        And they only want to pay $25k.

        Then they wonder why they can't find anybody.

      •  And they are unwilling to invest in employees (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        schnecke21, PhilW, CTMET

        by spending on training. After all, if you get new skills, you might leave for something better...

      •  Unpaid internships are the problem (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bigrivergal, entrelac

        Only 22 year old recent college grads with no kids who still live with their parents can do unpaid internships.  The second you move out of the house, sign a lease, and start paying down your student loan debt, you've acquired financial responsibilities that require a job that pays a salary.  Employers used to not have a problem with paying employees for their work, but it seems this attitude has changed.

        While there are a very few people out there who can work a part-time job on the side while doing a full-time internship, part-time work rarely pays the bills, and so the institutionalized acceptance of unpaid internships has forced many out-of-work people to choose between looking for jobs in their dwindling field while on the dole, or accepting this legalized indentured servitude in order to have any kind of forward career path.  This choice amounts to financial torture.  And many of the long-term unemployed actually did an unpaid internship when they were younger in an industry that's no longer hiring, and now they're expected to do another one to change careers.  It cuts out lots of smart, capable, adaptable people who are over 25 and need income to make ends meet.

        The unpaid internship should be made illegal at the federal level, just like we have mandatory overtime, guaranteed lunch breaks and a minimum wage for hourly workers.

      •  # of openings coorelates to pickiness (0+ / 0-)


        I'm in an engineering field and in boom times I hire less selectively than in tight times. This isn't however just because I choose arbitrarily to be more picky.

        In boom times there are a more openings to fill but usually little more manpower (mine - as HR at every company I've worked at is nearly worthless at effectively screening resumes in the area I work in) to devote to resumes, phone screens, and interviews. As a result, each candidate gets a bit less scrutiny. Increased scrutiny is much more likely to reveal reasons not to hire a candidate than to hire them.

        In boom times, I have other openings or will soon have them. Therefore I can be more flexible in accepting a candidate's weaknesses in one area if they are compensated for by great strengths in another because I can fill out the overall team skill portfolio with upcoming hires. It's a little like paving/tiling a "rustic" pattern with random shape chunks of natural materials -- halfway through the job, one can grab three pieces off the pallet and probably easily find a place for two of them. However, at the end of the job it takes a lot more searching for the "right" chunk to fit nicely in that last spot.

        In boom times, it's also easier to get rid of people that "don't work out" so it's a bit safer to take a chance on a candidate. Engineers who are "not working out" usually figure it out with little prompting and often, in an easy job market, will motor out under their own power. With modest (or a lot if needed) prompting, almost all such engineers will decide to find another job on their own in an easy job market (sometimes within the same company where the glut of openings means they can actually find something they are better suited for). In slightly harder times though, unsurprisingly, less skilled people don't quit their jobs without being fired because, not being at the top of the game, they know they will have a hard time finding another job. Obviously firing someone is a difficult and unpleasant experience for all and can harm team morale so in an environment where that's more likely to be required if I "mis-hire", I tend to be more selective.

  •  This is a 1% 'straw man' it's 99% Bull**** (17+ / 0-)

    There are hard to fill job requirements, with college grads, it's 'experience' industry or whatever specific, experience, that's 50% bull as well, but it leaves a lot of recent college grads as 'unqualified', and working at McD's doesn't count as experience, it's a vicious circle jerk.

    May you live in interesting times--Chinese curse

    by oldcrow on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 09:41:18 AM PST

  •  Workers Who Cost a LOT Less nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Brooke In Seattle

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 09:42:10 AM PST

  •  I can kind of understand their view point... (11+ / 0-)

    we recently tried to fill a position at my company and 90% of the resumes we received were so poorly written, I couldn't even justify giving them an interview.  Of course there are skilled workers out there, and we did find one eventually.

    I'm sure the other 90% are skilled, but a resume is marketing campaign of yourself, if your marketing is garbage with spelling mistakes, horrible grammar, no formatting, how do they expect people to take them seriously?  Part of me wanted to contact these people just to give them resume pointers, but the other part of me knew that legally, I cannot do that.  It's sad though, I wish I could help them.

    •  A self-fulfilling conundrum, heh... (6+ / 0-)

      "We need to do away with the Dept. of Education!!!1!"

      "THEN they will Have to accept Whatever we offer them!"

      But I think you're correct, that there does seem to be a big problem in this regard.

      Nevertheless, I think the other points made in this comment thread are much more significant factors, overall, but not unrelated to the issue you raise.

      The idea is obviously to consolidate elite control over our society, by pushing down and putting the screws to those who aren't already among the privileged few who can afford to pay extra for proper well as to significantly raise the price of admission to the "American Dream", even for those with a leg up on the ladder.

      Best way to help, obviously:

      Bring the Better Democrats!

      All Out for 2012!

      Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

      by Radical def on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:14:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good resume does not equal good employee (10+ / 0-)

      and vice-versa. I teach management and that's a point I hammer in over and over.

      WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

      by IARXPHD on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:32:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Doesn't it depend on whether (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lgmcp, MGross, DSPS owl, schnecke21

        written communication skills are a requirement for the job?

      •  Job hunting skills in general... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IARXPHD, Dburn, revsue, Bluefin not equate to technical skills.

        Or, for that matter, to the skills that the job requires. Unless, of course, the job is helping other people find jobs.

      •  true, perhaps. But really there's ZERO excuse. (7+ / 0-)

        How else is a person supposed to differentiate between 2000 job applicants?


        And really, having a grammatical and error free resume and cover letter is the least someone could do. It's one way to get your foot in the door so your other "sparkling qualities" can be seen in person.

        If one can't be bothered to make a decent initial presentation, one deserves the circular file. Period. There's no rush to make a resume. It's not blog comment or an off-the-cuff writing. It's something one has TIME to make sure is right. TIME to have friends, colleagues and even resume professionals and job placement people look at and help with.

        NO EXCUSE for poorly written, ungrammatical materials with rife spelling errors. No excuse. Sorry.

        I've become re-radicalized. Thanks a lot you bunch of oligarchical fascist sons-of-bitches. But once again, I have no choice. Bring it the fuck on.

        by mdmslle on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:09:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What a snob. (0+ / 0-)

          You automatically ASSUME everyone has access to

          friends, colleagues and even resume professionals and job placement people look at and help with

          Look at what is ON the resume, not just how it's there. I so don't have time for "point makers"...

          WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

          by IARXPHD on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:18:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Both written and appearance count... (6+ / 0-)

            equally on a resume.  You could be the most accomplished person in the world, but if you write at a 2nd grade level and cannot communicate your skills clearly, you'll never get your foot in the door.

            *Please note that I work in office, where written communication is nessecary on a day-to-day basis.  I'm sure if we were looking for warehouse help, it would not be as critical, but it's still a factor.  The least these canidates can do is have a professional appearance and a well written resume.  Basically if you don't know how to use spell check on your resume, this probably isn't the career field for you.

          •  come on. a trip to the library or a (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Andrew Lazarus

            local university is access. I'm not saying the person has to be a paid professional. Just another set of eyes to eliminate stupid errors and give a fresh look.

            There's nothing snobbish about that. There's just NO EXCUSE to turn in a resume that has errors and bad grammar. Most jobs that require a resume would at least have that minimal expectation. Most labor and retail type jobs you can fill out an application and it's not as much of a big deal, IMO.

            Here's the magical question: if someone have 5000 resumes on their desk and 3 positions to fill, at some point good, qualified people have to be eliminated from consideration. All else being equal, (which in tis job market is quite possible - there are a lot of highly qualified people seeking employment) I will choose the candidate who cared enough to make sure his/her presentation was flawless. Period.

            I've become re-radicalized. Thanks a lot you bunch of oligarchical fascist sons-of-bitches. But once again, I have no choice. Bring it the fuck on.

            by mdmslle on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 03:57:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  and BTW no FRIENDS? Not even ONE FRIEND (0+ / 0-)

            who could give a second look to your resume to see if it's got errors in spelling or grammar? NOT ONE FRIEND?

            come on.

            Hell, not even ONLINE?

            I've become re-radicalized. Thanks a lot you bunch of oligarchical fascist sons-of-bitches. But once again, I have no choice. Bring it the fuck on.

            by mdmslle on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 04:03:14 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  with that attitude it will take longer (0+ / 0-)

            networking beyond the net helps.

          •  no, it's reasonable (0+ / 0-)

            I have a friend with a collection of bad resumes. Misspelling, bad grammar, dates in the wrong order: if you can't get the dates on a job written correctly, and can't see the error when you look at it, what will you do when you're in the workplace?

            Even a friend can help with a resume; you can also find books at libraries, and there's a lot of information online on how to put one together and do it well, so there IS no real excuse for a resume that's that bad.

            (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

            by PJEvans on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 07:08:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  The fact that you have 2000 applicants (9+ / 0-)

          tells you that there are plenty of qualified applicants. You can't complain about a shortage if you are sending so many to the round file.

          My story:

          I was out of work for 2 years. 25 years experience in my field and a Master's Degree.

          I saw a job that was perfect for me. Applied. Nothing. Same job advertised again. Applied again. Nothing. Lather, rinse, repeat - a total of 5 times.

          Finally, I went to the address, resume in hand and handed it to the front desk.

          Response - "Where have you been? You are PERFECT for this job!" And I was.

          Same resume - round filed 5 times.

          Don't tell me there are no qualified applicants.

          My new favorite RIGHT WING website: It's what the RIGHT thinks of Newt! Enjoy!

          by pucklady on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:30:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not true... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Skylarking, mdmslle

            ...for some jobs at least.

            The ability to send a resume does not equate to the ability to do the job.

            Now that resumes are electronically submitted, it doesn't even cost the applicant 44 cents (45 cents in about a week!) plus a bit of toner, an envelope, and a couple pieces of paper to submit one. The cost of paper submissions was once a slight deterrent that is now substantially reduced. Unfortunately, the cost of a qualified human reviewing a resume has not reduced proportionally.

            And, the fewer available jobs there are, the more indiscriminate resume sending seems to occur. Something of a vicious circle.

            What you did makes sense and was successful -- the problem in your case may have been that you got buried in the 1999 other unqualified applicants for that job. You might have been the only one.

            Thank those who spam with their resumes for your predicament, not the employers who can't spend 100 hours (3 minutes per resume for 2000 resumes - or over 2.5 work weeks) of skilled time just screening resumes to catch every last one that could qualify. Scans of resumes for widely advertised and desired jobs have to be fairly quick and coarse unfortunately.

          •  *I* don't have any applicants. It was speaking (0+ / 0-)

            rhetorically. Many open positions do.

            And yes, many qualified folks are round filed because HRs are overwhelmed by the numbers of applicants or for some other reason.

            I'm glad you exercised the initiative and took matters into your own hands.  A polished resume didn't hurt, either.

            I've become re-radicalized. Thanks a lot you bunch of oligarchical fascist sons-of-bitches. But once again, I have no choice. Bring it the fuck on.

            by mdmslle on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 04:00:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Where I work (0+ / 0-)

            we've had people send in resumes who weren't qualified for the job, some who were overqualified, and one who said that hse wasn't interested, but was sending it out so hse could say that hse had sent out N resumes that month.
            We've also had repeat resumes, when we were in enough need of people to take them on a second go-round.

            (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

            by PJEvans on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 07:12:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  As A Human Resources Professional, I agree 100% (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Abra Crabcakeya, WillR, mdmslle

          No one is perfect day-to-day in the work place, but if they want to work for our company they need to show us that they have the ABILITY to create an error-free document.
          I make certain allowances for candidates for whom it appears (at least from their resume) that English is not their first or primary language, but that's about it.  If a candidate doesn't care enough to have their resume reviewed by several pairs of eyes before they put it in front of mine, they've eliminated themselves from consideration.

          Ezra Klein is my "freebie"

          by Skylarking on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:35:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  you are oh so right about grammar. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The biggest complaint I here for those who hire, & college professors is the terrible writing skills of a younger generation, even those who were AP high school students. My husband says the younger generation of lawyers may have computer sills but they cannot write a decent brief. They can only cut and paste, but cannot make the argument.

      •  Perhaps but if your resume is passed over (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SuzieQ4624, revsue, Skylarking

        because of poor writing skills, then you will likely never get the chance to show off skills you do have. This is the advice I give my students.  

      •  That is true, but at the same time... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Skylarking, WillR, Chitown Kev

        when a resume is all we have to base an opinion on, it's hard to pick thru which people might truly be qualified and which are not.

        Our first impression is the resume, and if it's not a good impression, there will likely not be a chance to make a second impression.

        •  Do you even bother to look at qualifications (0+ / 0-)

          ON the resume, or just play grammar teacher and throw out the ones not perfect?

          I would ASSUME an HR professionals job would be to read the resume, not just critique it.

          WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

          by IARXPHD on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 12:41:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If SuzieQ4624... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

   filling the positions with qualified people, why would she spend time doing deep screening on people who can't be bothered to proofread their resumes?

            Remember, she said "spelling mistakes, horrible grammar, no formatting" - that's a long way from "perfect".

            Can you think of a job where you would rather hire someone who can't bother to proofread their resume well than someone who did?

            Why would SuzieQ4624 risk taking the time with a candidate who is careless and sloppy and has little pride in their work product (which the resume is the first example of)? I think it's likely such candidates are more likely to show up late (if at all) for the interview and present even more poorly in person than on paper. Why waste the interviewers' time?

            •  Key Word: Time (0+ / 0-)

              I have a 4 foot filing cabinet drawer full of resumes for a position as a Receptionist.
              Because we do business with the government, we are required to accept any indication of interest as an "application".  You could write "me want job now" in crayon with your name on a napkin, and we would have to 1) Consider your application (such as it is) and 2) Record why the candidate will not be pursued for further consideration 3) Keep all submissions of interest for 1-3 years.
              Do you have any idea how long it takes to review 460 resumes?  Multiply that by 30-50 open jobs?  And job seekers think we should look deeper into their souls and do our best to find them a job?  We (HR Professionals) are not a public service.  It's not our job to find a job for you.  It's our job to find the one, best candidate for the job and eliminate the others as quickly as possible.

              Ezra Klein is my "freebie"

              by Skylarking on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 03:27:59 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yep. (0+ / 0-)

                I'm very sympathetic to the problem. (Although, I wish I had to review only 460 resumes for some positions I've had as a hiring technical manager over the years).

                I tell external headhunters (oops, "Executive Recruiters") that I will spend not more than X amount of time a week reading resumes from them - and X is just about enough time to do a good review of one resume or a quick scan of three or so. This has a way of increasing their desire to earn their keep and screen better - esp. when they call about "hot candidate C" and ask "So, did you review C's resume" and I reply "Hmm..., doesn't sound familiar - I did spend X time reading resumes you sent last week and discarded the rest, perhaps C's was among the rest".

                •  Another Sign of Downward Pressure (0+ / 0-)

                  the so-called "placement agencies" and other headhunters are spending less and less money on their recruiters and/or filling the recruiter positions with less qualified/less experienced candidates.  Then those "recruiters" throw sh!t against your wall and hope it sticks.  It's not 100% the fault of these new, young recruiters - they're under a lot of pressure to perform even without adequate training or experience.

                  Ezra Klein is my "freebie"

                  by Skylarking on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 04:13:43 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Reading and writing skills are not (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shoeless, revsue, Egalitare

      necessarily associated with practical talents.  If the position doesn't require writing, why insist on a written resume that may well have been written by someone else.

      On the other hand, people who can't write reports should not be hired as social workers and cops.

      People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

      by hannah on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:32:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What kind of position? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, auapplemac, mdmslle

      I ask because my reaction to poorly written resumes might vary significantly depending on what kind of position I'm seeking to fill.

      If it is for physical or blue-collar work, then a well-written resume really might not be relevant to the job.  If it's for a professional position, then I would find it worrisome.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:40:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's an office position (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        entrelac, Chitown Kev, TexasTom

        so computer skills are kind of mandatory.  

        A resume is usually an indication of the computer skills they possess.  If the formatting is a little off, they will probably get a chance, but if there is spelling mistakes, it's poorly written (as in not professional in appearance or substance) and there are grammatical errors, they will never get a chance at presenting their true talents.

        In other words, if you don't know how to use spell check or resume templates, you shouldn't waste you time applying for office positions.

        •  Ruh-oh...busted... (0+ / 0-)
          ...they will probably get a chance, (sic)...but if there is (sic) spelling mistakes...shouldn't waste you (sic) time...

          "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen auf das Vierte Reich! Sie Angelegenheit nicht mehr.

          by Bluefin on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 07:20:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, there is no spell check on here.... (0+ / 0-)

            and I'm also not applying for anything.  You better believe when I turned in my resume for this job, it was flawless.

            •  Your browser may have a spell/syntax checker. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Opera and Firefox have guud ones.

              "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen auf das Vierte Reich! Sie Angelegenheit nicht mehr.

              by Bluefin on Mon Jan 16, 2012 at 01:03:46 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Umm, I only have IE... (0+ / 0-)

                (I'm at work and I don't get to pick the software here...def not my favorite browser)

                That is good to know though b/c I use Firefox at home and I was not aware of a built in spell checker - thanks for the tip :)

                •  FF menu, Tools/Options/Advanced/Browsing/ (0+ / 0-)

                  check the 'check my spelling box', Apply/Ok, done. Opera is almost exactly the same.
                  (try the Opera browser , it is really the best browser there is)

                  Unless spellcheck function is a FF plugin that needs adding itself first, don't remember.

                  "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen auf das Vierte Reich! Sie Angelegenheit nicht mehr.

                  by Bluefin on Mon Jan 16, 2012 at 05:36:49 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  agreed. I have seen two freelance positions (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      entrelac, Bluefin

      available this week where the skill: MUST WRITER WELL was included multiple times and said in multiple ways throughout the offer.

      And I'll tell you, when I have to think of hiring someone, I notice how people articulate themselves.

      My husband says, "One day soon, you'll be able to take any job anywhere simply because you string a coherent sentence together and spell." I used to laugh when he said it. Now, I don't. I see it ALL THE TIME in job ads. I can only imagine what HR professionals are getting exposed to day after day.

      I've become re-radicalized. Thanks a lot you bunch of oligarchical fascist sons-of-bitches. But once again, I have no choice. Bring it the fuck on.

      by mdmslle on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:05:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And just a year ago, higher-ed researchers (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SuzieQ4624, Abra Crabcakeya, Bluefin

      Arum and Roksa made a big, brief splash in the news with their report entitled Academically Adrift, which announced that college graduates today are less well educated than those of three or more decades ago.  The research defined "college education" as mastery of critical thinking, reasoning and problem-solving, and writing, so it's not unreasonable for employers seeking college-graduate employees to expect job candidates to write clearly and correctly, even if written communication does not comprise a significant component of their prospective workload.

      While we criticize employers' efforts to institute third-world wages in America, we cannot blind ourselves to the decline of educational achievement that might make employers question the value of paying first-world salaries to people who present themselves as uneducated.  

      Freedom to die from no access to health care brought to you by the "Right to Life" GOP.

      by vahana on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:19:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  the cult of the resume (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      As hard times the "cult of the resume" returns.  I'm old enough to have been through 3 tough recessions (1982, 1991, current) and looking for work in two of those recessions--82,91)  In each case the placement gurus were obsessing over building the perfect resume.  The economy got better and the placement gurus went away for they're back.  Sure a resume is important...but good managers will look past honest mistakes and typos if they want to find good workers.

      •  No Matter What The Job Is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        a well-written, proofread resume will enhance your chances of being interviewed.  I've been in Human Resources many years and have screened candidates from blue collar to PhD, and a well-written resume is always a plus.  Spelling and grammar mistakes make me cringe and nock points off further consideration.

        Ezra Klein is my "freebie"

        by Skylarking on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:41:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know about that... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bigrivergal, Bluefin

        I read thru about 30 resumes and I was being generous.  If there was like one or two mistakes, that doesn't make a great impression as you should have proof read your resume a thousand times before sending it to anyone, but they went in the maybe pile.

        If there was more than 2 mistakes, poor formatting, lacking professional appearance, then I'm not going to waste my time trying to weed thru these people to figure out if they actually have talent (but could not be bothered to write a decent resume) or if their resume is a true indication of their talents.  That's not my job.  I don't need to bend over backward to hire someone who can't be bothered with spell checking or proof reading, that's not the type of person we like to employ.

        At the end, I had 1 yes, 2 maybes and 27 no's - that was just my experience.

    •  The "advice" quandary :( (0+ / 0-)


      If someone can't spell check and have a qualified friend (or, if necessary, a professional) review the most important short document they will may ever write, I'm very concerned they will be similarly (or, more likely, more) sloppy with doing the job I have for them. I do forgive some types of problems more than others because they are almost impossible to notice if you don't know English well. For example, "too" vs. "to" doesn't concern me nearly as much as misspelling "supervised" such that the word used doesn't even exist. Of course, my positions really don't require stellar grammar/written style as you can probably surmise from my rambling comment!

      I'm rarely tempted to give "fatherly advice" on resume writing to applicants - perhaps because I usually never actually talk to those that require it (their resume usually goes to the trash folder within 90 seconds) and really don't know how well qualified they might be in spite of a bad resume. However, it's very painful when someone who I think is good comes in and interviews horribly but that appears to me to be an interviewing skills problem rather than an actual job skill shortcoming. Unfortunately, if just one of the core trusted interviewers votes "no" and has a decent reason for it, I don't hire the person. In these cases I'm very tempted to try to help the candidate from making the same mistake on future interviews and having no idea why they are having a hard time getting a job -- but legal issues make me hesitant. Occasionally I take the risk and have a chat with the person and explain the situation to them in detail and, to date, they have all been very sincerely appreciative and none have sued me yet (crosses fingers).

  •  No skills gap - heard this argument in the 90's... (30+ / 0-)

    When IT salaries were booming in the 1990's, I heard this same argument for increasing H1-B visas.  And the Clinton administration bit on the bait, increasing the quota significantly.

    It wasn't that there was a lack of qualified techies.  There was a glut.  What it was is that there was a lack of qualified techies willing to work for significantly less than a foreign code jockey looking for a ticket to America.

    Guess who won that battle?

    We're resigned to our collective fate because we've been conditioned to believe that this is as good as it gets.

    by Richard Cranium on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:08:33 AM PST

    •  And in the 2000s... (22+ / 0-)

      ...they recycled this same argument again.  Even in the aftermath of the telecom bust, there was somehow a shortage of skilled engineers and other tech workers.  That's despite the fact that there were many laid off engineers and tech workers from telecom who hadn't been able to find jobs.

      The problem was (and is) that the companies did not want to hire people with just with the general skills who would need to learn the specifics for the job.  Instead, they wanted very specific skill sets, and weren't really willing to compromise much on it.  At least that was the situation that I saw in 2005.

      At the extreme, I remember seeing a posting to fill an electrical engineering position -- and the posting listing several dozen very specific skills and types of experience that were required for the position.  And the job title for which they were trying to hire this person with all those specialized skills was "Junior Engineer".  

      Yeah, right...

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:45:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is still true (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tobimaro, Bluefin

        American companies don't want to spend a dime to train employees. They don't  want a technical employee with the experience to be able to pick up what they are doing, they have been demanding the prospective employee have x+2 years of experience with the product they are using that has only been available for x years.

        Having been on both sides of the interview table I find both resumes and interviews to be of dubious value in my field, IT. I consider them examples of your ability to sell yourself, but I'm not looking to hire people to sell. I've generally found the best resumes and the best interviews are from the candidates who've gone through the HR  machine approved resume writing and interview answering courses or are just natural bullshitters, not from the people who would fill the job the best.

        Grammar and spelling are important on the resume, but I don't really give a damn about formatting as long as it reads semi-logically.

        "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -- George Bernard Shaw

        by Inspector Javert on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:52:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Describes the bust well (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The boom, not so much. We were hiring programmers straight out of school for high pay, and three months later they would leave for something even better. It didn't last.

      •  Your extreme-case example (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dksbook, bigrivergal, Skylarking

        almost certainly meant that the employer already had decided on a specific person, but for legal or policy reasons needed to pretend that the position was actually open (e.g. the preferred candidate was a foreign national and they had to demonstrate that they couldn't find a qualified citizen). Thus the requirements were written to exactly match the pre-selected candidate's experience.

        Banksters are harmful for the same reason neutrinos are harmless: neither are inclined to share what they've got (wealth and energy, respectively)

        by ebohlman on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 12:39:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Except that... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ...that particular job posting was still around after several months.  Which doesn't suggest that it was tailored for a specific person, unless that person somehow fell through.

          Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

          by TexasTom on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 09:24:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Another possibility (0+ / 0-)

            They never intended to fill the position in the first place; the ad was just there to create the impression (to investors or customers) that they were a growing operation.

            Or maybe they just wanted resumes to get names they could sell to mailing-list operators.

            Banksters are harmful for the same reason neutrinos are harmless: neither are inclined to share what they've got (wealth and energy, respectively)

            by ebohlman on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:09:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Precisely. Krugman and Baker have constantly (12+ / 0-)

      noted that if there were a skills gap, employers would be bidding up salaries to attract "skilled" employees.  There is no evidence of this happening.

      There is simply not enough demand to support more jobs.

      Hey, Republicans, the whole world is watching.

      by TAH from SLC on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:45:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If they're competing with international companies, (0+ / 0-)

        are they in a position to pay more? Would that not make their product/service non competitive?

        Also what about the kids who took courses that are not of value to most business?

        Progressives will win when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

        by auapplemac on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:52:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Indeed (11+ / 0-)

      Back in the 90s when I was still hopeful enough to actually look for work, I was looking at one job for a senior developer. The job spec called for 5 years of experience with Java. Except that Java had only, at the time, been available for 3 years. So it was, on its face, an impossible qualification to meet.

      I've seen similar things where a job spec is intentionally written to be impossible to meet as is which gives the hirer every excuse they need to reject applicants who don't fit the unspecified requirements - young enough, pretty enough, cheap enough, whatever enough.

      There is a deep culture in the technology community to be able to hire only those who "fit" the group affinity. The "not enough qualified" applicants always masks that underlying hidden agenda where ever it comes up.

      •  the Java example is spot on. nt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Richard Cranium
      •  I remember the same kind of requirements (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inspector Javert, Dburn

        circa 1999 - 2000...

        eCommerce senior project manager, 10 years experience...

        We're resigned to our collective fate because we've been conditioned to believe that this is as good as it gets.

        by Richard Cranium on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:17:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You might try again (0+ / 0-)

        The demand for Java developers in CA is high.

      •  I bet they got resumes (0+ / 0-)

        claiming more than 5 years experience with Java!

        "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -- George Bernard Shaw

        by Inspector Javert on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:53:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Awhile back , there was a video (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        entrelac, Bluefin

        of how Employers could get around H1B restrictions regarding length of employment . The law-firm that had put the video together was using as a self-promo video, but essentially the message was; "put so many skills that are *required with levels of complexity that it would be like a person who could speak 8 Languages natively, then if asked tell the govt you put out ads and couldn't find anyone to fill the positions.

        I guess the main take-away is to ask the recruiter if they had done work for the company before and how many openings were filled by non-H1B applicants.

        Also I tend to be upfront with my age. It costs serious money to get ready for an interview. Since most practice age discrimination , it 's easier on the pocket book and the heart to to be upfront about. Suing someone for age discrimination is damn hard to prove if there are 4-5 applicants for jobs that once paid $200K but now pay 80K. That means most, if not all, attorneys won't take cases on contingency unless one has been working at the place and gotten good work reviews.

        Such was the case with the person who wrote the Alta Vista search engine, which prior to Google, was considered best of breed. Google hired him. He was 54 in 2003. He got great reviews in his first year. However, since most of the Google employees were on the young side and had started calling him "out of touch", "old fart", "'old fuddy duddy" etc, he didn't react properly as in "Thank-you, can I have some more please" . So he was fired. It has taken him and his attorney 7 years to get a court hearing date. SEVEN years. Apparently they were hoping he would die before going to court.

        The "Do No Harm" mission statement is nothing more than a marketing /Pr slogan. Google pays little to no taxes, gets state subsidies, and does what it pleases.

        Along with being fired his pre-IPO stock options , worth 14m today, were voided which is probably the only reason he got a lawyer to take the case.

    •  AND (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dksbook, Bluefin

      I work in an industry that hires lots of these type of techies.. their English language skills are lacking in both verbal and written communication.. yet when someone with the same or better skills is not requiring of a H1-B visa they can't get a position on this team because the culture of the team is geared toward the current team members.

      Why do Republicans Hate Americans?

      by Caniac41 on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:33:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was in the same position (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bgblcklab1, Bluefin

      Out of work, looking for an IT job.

      I was willing to take McD wages - ANYTHING. Couldn't find a thing. And I can articulate, write and spell.

      But employers were fixated on the H1b pool. Ads even said "No US or green card applicants apply."

      I've got a great job now, thank FSM, and I intend to stay here until they carry me out. But it was a long time coming.

      My new favorite RIGHT WING website: It's what the RIGHT thinks of Newt! Enjoy!

      by pucklady on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:34:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  After 12 years in IT (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        revsue, Odysseus, pucklady

        and getting laid off a few times, I realized that every time I got laid off, I'd have to start again at entry level in some similar-but-slightly-different area. How many times do you have to start at entry level in your field before you can get ahead?

        After the last time I got laid off, I realized my heart was no longer in IT and decided to change fields. Now, I'm driving a taxi (because I could not find ANY other work) and going to community college for automation technology and technical writing.

        Will someone please explain the point of resumes to me? Other than creating a lot of busywork and incurring copying costs for someone whose budget may already be limited, what does a resume contain that cannot be equally demonstrated (written communication, spelling, grammar) on an application?

        •  Or better yet (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          revsue, Odysseus, entrelac, pucklady

          when the company has you attach a resume and THEN makes you fill out an application that has the same information that the ATTACHED resume shows.  Stupid HR computer programs that scan your resume, search for keywords. Miss the days of Human Resources actually being HUMAN and not machine.  I am working again after being unemployed for 15 months.. but I worry every month about my job being discontinued.

          Why do Republicans Hate Americans?

          by Caniac41 on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:55:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What Happened? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            What happened to HR?  The same thing that's happening to everyone else.  More work, less help and greedy corporations who want to squeeze as much out of you as they can, then discard you.  Except the pressure is even higher because HR is considered "non revenue generating"; in other words, our value is not quantified.  We're an expense.  An all expenses must be cut to maximize profits.

            Ezra Klein is my "freebie"

            by Skylarking on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 03:46:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  90's skills (0+ / 0-)

      I was around in the tech field during the 90's.  There was a glut.  Part of it was that if you were not going along with the MS meme of the year, there were not a lot of people.  Unfortunately, knowing how to cobble together a VB app together did not lead to good practices in other venues.

      The other issue is that there were a lot of people looking to get into the field who were just looking for quick money.  They did were not necessarily good at problem solving, or did not know how to come to work every day, or simply did not have the skills coming in.

      Now, don't get me wrong.  If US companies wanted to they could have hired people, put money into training, taken losses for those that did not work out, and come up with a good US based work force.  Maybe they should have, and maybe it would have been better.

      Ultimately firms choses to import the best of the best from somewhere else.  I think this is closer to what happened and we are all getting wrapped up in what is essentially a numbers game.  look at it this way.  If I have a pool of 1000 people, and I need 100 of them to work for me, then I can at best get the top 10% fo the work force, if I am willing to pay enough and put up with the princess attitude.  But if I expand my search to other countries, I might end up with a pool of 10,000 people, and I can now fill those positions with perhaps the top 5% and perhaps not spend so much and not have to coddle so much to attitudes that hace nothing to do with work.

      Though I was not directly involved in hiring, I saw how hard it was to get qualified people.  I had a lot of work because I was willing to come to work, learn as much as I could from those around me, be productive.  work independently, and earn the little money I was paid.  At one firm we were paying the best money in the town, with big bonuses, yet out requirement that the person know how to measure and add fractions meant that were looking all the time, and still had to fire them because they were not willing to come to work every day.  It might have been good to be able to get some non local people, but it was not cost effective to pay relocation.

      As an aisde, I remember reading the Devil Wears Prada and thinking how funny the book was, how self absorbed and pompous the main character was.  How dare someone expect this upper middle class girl to actually work hard and solve problems without assistance or close supervision.  What a crime against humanity!  In reality this is what one does if one wants to climb the ladder to a good income.  Good entry level jobs are crappy and require a lot of hard work.  Bosses are interesting in the work you can do and the load you can take off them.  I never finished this book because it was a study of what the workforce was seeming to have become.  A bunch of over educated kids who though they now deserved to given a job because they completed college, rather than treating college a wonderful experience in which was able to read, and experience life, and become better people, who could then go out into the world and create something wonderful

  •  These companies want the government to pay t/ cost (21+ / 0-)

    Companies used to look for workers who could be trained to do the jobs they were hired to do. But now many companies expect the government to foot the cost of training workers for the specific tasks these jobs require.

  •  Who's doing the hiring? (23+ / 0-)

    I think part of the problem is the proliferation of Human Resource Departments that, while well-intentioned, often lack any imagination at all. If you aren't EXACTLY the square peg for that square hole, then forget it. Your resume goes to the reject pile.

    Some of those 'gatekeepers' are fundamentally unable to see that someone who worked their way up, held a variety of positions, and enjoyed some modicum of success might actually be able to grasp the requirements of a new position even though they have not actually done that particular job before.

    While I understand the perceived need for optical scanning of resumes, and using search optimization on keywords within them, it all strikes me as rather heartless. Forget potential!

    •  What Color is Your Parachute? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bionic, Odysseus

      I found my current job by way of an information interview.  Submitting your resumé and cover letter has never gotten me anything but wasted time and hard feelings in my life.

    •  birdmom you are on the $ (6+ / 0-)

      birdmom you are on the $... I own a high tech recruiting firm (25 years in recruiting in all) and companies have become keyword jockeys, and extremely risk-averse in hiring.  Too many layers of interviews, too many decision-makers who can spike perfectly good candidates for BS reasons.    Managers who want candidates to walk in Day One and require zero training and even less management, coaching or motivation.
      Not a realistic approach, and as IARXPHD said good resumes do not equal good employees.

      Midshipmen are persons of integrity: They stand for that which is right. They tell the truth and ensure that the full truth is known. They do not lie.

      by sullynyc on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:48:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sometimes it's hard to get (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ms Citizen, pontechango, revsue, Bluefin

      past the very specific qualifications.  I saw an administrative assistant position recently that, amongst other requirements, asked for 4 years of experience with Microsoft Office 2010.

      While the average human can figure out they probably meant 4 years of experience using Microsoft Office, the computer filtering that they subject on-line resumes will throw out anyone who does not fit that bill.

      This is a mildly amusing example of what can happen when a position is tailored to the point that hardly anyone can qualify for those specific requrements.

      I support the troops! I want them to return home in something besides caskets and body bags. (-6.5,-4.1)

      by minidriver on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:56:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  you need to get beyond the gatekeepers and (0+ / 0-)

      find someone within the company. I'm retired, but my generation used to network personally. We joined organizations, that wee related to our careers, ans met people in person. We dug deeply to fin a person in the department where we wanted a job.

  •  I was reading about this here at DailyKos (8+ / 0-)

    for example, was it Alabama that kicked out "illegal" farmer workers?  Anyways, it turned out that regular Americans weren't qualified for the grueling labor these people did and many jobs went unfilled.

    Another angle is that since MBA programs started teaching their students ethics, that alone is probably a deal-breaker for these grads being hired at a goodly number of corporations . . .

    •  Not so much qualfied as in too beneath them. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rabel, Odysseus

      We had the same thing here in Iowa when they deported a large number of undocumented workers from a meat plant. I would have expected a caravan of beat up cars and pick ups rushing up to Postville to fill those open jobs. Cars full of health white christian men and women, just brimming with excitement about their new careers off of welfare.

      Oh wait, didn't happen....

      WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

      by IARXPHD on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:34:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  For what that work pays, I'm not surprised... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        soros, Geek of all trades, Odysseus

        ...Meatpacking wages haven't changed in most of 30 years, which means that inflation has eroded half the value of those wages.

        What that means is that for the wages offered, folks who are here legally and have choices on employment will take anything else first -- which is certainly understandable.  Why take a job that is grueling, dirty, and dangerous when you make make about the same wage doing anything else?

        Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

        by TexasTom on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:48:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But these are the jerks who constantly (0+ / 0-)

          complain about how the brown people are stealing their jobs. Face it, a lot of them are lazy ass rednecks.

          WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

          by IARXPHD on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:59:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  or, they just don't live near (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            revsue, TexasTom

            a meatpacking plant. And if they've been unemployed for a while, they have used up their savings, so asking them to move somewhere unknown without the promise of a job seems... like asking a lot.

            I know there are some lazy and racist unemployed people out there, but I wouldn't paint all the unemployed with such a broad brush.

            •  Nor would I. And I'm really meaning the blowhards (0+ / 0-)

              who are marginally employed and blame everyone else for their problems. But on the other hand, why not at least apply for a job like that, and maybe moving would be worth it.

              WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

              by IARXPHD on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:13:03 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Farm labor is skilled labor. (0+ / 0-)

        Fruit pickers get paid by the pound, not the hour.

        If you're skilled, you make a decent wage.
        If you're not, you starve.

        Groups: Toolbox and Trolls... to preserve the best & the worst of DailyKos.

        by opendna on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:53:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Dems should talk about human/labor regulations (0+ / 0-)

      which is exactly what immigration laws are.  They are regulations that restrict the freedom of human and labor movement.

  •  For them, qualified means cheap and easy (11+ / 0-)

    to bully.

    WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

    by IARXPHD on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:30:01 AM PST

    •  A college degree does NOT mean qualified..!!!! (4+ / 0-)

      The veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan are more qualified to lead and more suited to work in companies than are college graduates.....

      I am both a veteran and a college graduate.....and I manage a small business...

      Having said that....Companies will be running out of older workers QUICKLY as more retire as the stock market rebounds.....They should be hiring veterans as well as college graduates as well as ANY qualified body and training them as fast as they can..!!!!!

      10,000 workers a day are retiring..!!!!!

      •  Not if... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lgmcp, entrelac

        ...big businesses can convince Congress and the President to raise the age of eligibility for Medicare and Social Security. Then more older workers will stick around longer, because they have to.

      •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

        Based on myself and on the college students I see every day.

        "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

        by CFAmick on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:11:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Veteran benefits adequate (0+ / 0-)

        While I appreciate the service to the country veterans should not get preferential treatment in employment. Far from being more "patriotic" than others most joined because of economic reasons. Everyone pays taxes and all should reap the same benefits.

      •  Maybe in some jobs... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...but in many STEM jobs, the level of education that a degree implies is sort of a minimum requirement.

        True, they technically don't require the piece of paper, but they do require much of the knowledge and the degree is sort of like a certification. One can be a great neurosurgeon without a license or formal medical training, but I'll go with the formally trained and licensed one every time if my brain is involved.

  •  Perhaps if they'd allow the unemployed to apply? (24+ / 0-)

    They might find more qualified applicants?

    Hire a 50+ unemployed person and see the quality go up!

    I'd much rather be a champion of the powerless than a lickspittle of the powerful. -- Rodney Ellis, Texas State Senate (D)

    by Jill on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:33:23 AM PST

    •  Amen. n/t (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IARXPHD, Brooke In Seattle, Matt Z

      "There's nothing in the dark that's not there when the lights are on" ~ Rod Serling

      by jwinIL14 on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:53:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Maybe (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm over 50 and work as a programmer. I work with plenty of very qualified programmers who are under 35. Most of them are about as good as they're going to get and won't be any better with another 20 years of experience. After you get a certain number of years of experience under your belt in a lot of fields you don't get a whole lot better with more experience. This isn't always the case, there certainly area lot of exceptions, but that's been my general experience in software development.

  •  If you say all of this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maxomai, Ms Citizen
    The same expert, though, suggests that there is a skills gap, with blue-collar men not having gotten the training to compete in this economy. That's something we hear a lot about, and there are likely cases where it applies. But not enough to explain this: "a much smaller share of working-age men, whatever their level of education, is working today than in past decades." And if you look at all men, not just ones who are working, "After adjusting for inflation, the typical male college graduate earned about 12 percent less in 2009 than his counterpart did in 1969."

    why not go all out and link the seminal article on the topic from The Atlantic Monthly: The End of Men  

  •  They (9+ / 0-)

    won't hire over 45+ workers.

    And they want foreigners. It's simple. I see this all the time.

    And for those who think the foreigners are better qualified they aren't. And usually their English skills are not great which should make them less qualified. But it doesn't.

    Because the qualification employers want is complete dog/master dynamic and that's what a lot of foreigners will give them.

    God forbid they hire a qualified worker over 45+ that might cost them a nickle in health care.

  •  College degreed, middle aged (12+ / 0-)

    and experienced in a variey of office positions.

    But I still can't find a job.

  •  who exactly do companies think would be qualified? (4+ / 0-)

    People in other countries.

    A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.- Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by shoeless on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:39:57 AM PST

  •  Not who's qualified -- who'll work cheaper? (12+ / 0-)

    "But in the end you have to ask, who exactly do companies think would be qualified?"

    It's not about qualifications -- never has been.  It's always about paying the lowest dollar for any warm body that will sit in the seat.

    The common wisdom is that if you hire 4 cheap people, you'll get more work done than one qualified person.  But what they get is 4 people making crap.....

  •  Companies today (42+ / 0-)

    want enthusiastic self-starters who can do it all, are willing to work nights and weekends, who can manage people and money, who are 25 years old with 25 years of experience ... and will do it for $30,000 a year.

  •  My spouse's profession has alleged "shortages" (12+ / 0-)

    but not really.  The issue is that there's always positions going begging for speech-language pathologists, and yes it's easy to get hired ... but those are undesirable contract positions where you're responsible for your own taxes, aren't guaranteed a set amount of hours, are not compensated for no-shows, etc.    Actual employee positions with benefits as an SLP are scarcer than hen's teeth.  If employers would offer them, their "recruiting" problems would melt away like magic.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:42:39 AM PST

  •  Are these the same companies who feel their CEOs (14+ / 0-)

    are uniquely qualified to be most highly compensated people on the planet?

    "There's nothing in the dark that's not there when the lights are on" ~ Rod Serling

    by jwinIL14 on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:46:20 AM PST

  •  So...ummm...train them maybe? (12+ / 0-)

    Used to be, back in the crazed days of yesteryear, companies didn't feel entitled to a skills that would appear magically from somewhere. know...showed people the ropes.

    Guess that's out the window now.

    •  Well now brooklyn boy- you know that is gonna (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nominalize, Bluefin

      dig in to the 1 percenter's salaries and just devastate Wall Street.  How can you be so damn cold and caloused?;)

      This "Trickle Down" thing has turned out to be somebody pissing on my leg and tellin' me it's rainin'.

      by swtexas on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:56:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Training? Wazzat? (0+ / 0-)

      I work in HR, and know many unemployed corporate trainers/instructors.  They were the first to go in 2008 and they aren't being hired back.  It's an employer's market and there is a coordinated, concerted effort on the part of corporations to drive down wages for any new hires while demanding "ready-to-jump-in" experience.  I myself was laid off and offered the same exact position (with the same exact team of co-workers) 4 months later - for less money.

      Ezra Klein is my "freebie"

      by Skylarking on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:52:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'll (5+ / 0-)

    tell you right now. If you are over 45+ US companies do not want to hire you full time and give you benefits and mainly it's because of health care costs.

    •  age discrimination is about more than health care (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's not only about health care costs; individuals over 38 are viewed as less malleable and -- curiously but aptly -- less likely to participate in office banter and horseplay; they're too "serious" about actually working.  In addition, older individuals are seen as being less comfortable with technology.  As well, companies want to be represented by young, attractive, aggressive people and feel that an older worker does not convey the company's fresh, forward-thinking image.  Male applicants over 35 are always viewed as less appealing than female applicants, regardless of their respective backgrounds.  And, of course, many employers refuse to interview or consider anyone who is unemployed, even those who lost jobs as recently as yesterday.

  •  When see things like this, I think two things: (7+ / 0-)

    One, they want an excuse to outsource or import foreign workers for pennies.

    Two, they want an employee with the exact skill set for a particular job (which, as others have pointed out, used to be two or three completely different jobs mushed into one.) They don't want to have to do any training at all. They want to hire the skill, not the person. So short-sighted.

    I had this argument with my dad (union, votes Democrat, great guy, but has bought into some of the conservative talking points.) When he retired, he pointed out that the factory couldn't find anyone to replace him. To him, that was evidence that workers are lazy and don't want to improve themselves.

    I asked him how many jobs there were that required his particular skill set, and he admitted that there weren't very many, far fewer than there used to be.

    When my dad learned his job, the factory offered training and an apprenticeship. Now, they just expect to find someone with that skill, learned at the employee's own expense, for a tiny job market that might not even exist ten years from now.

    •  Or, like in my case... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle, Odysseus employer is slap up against a budget shortfall, and has a hiring freeze.

      I worked for the City of Chicago, retiring in 2010. My section has been chronically short of staff for at least 9 years, but Daley had a hiring freeze on. New mayor, new hiring freeze. Oh, and in 2013, another traffic engineer retires. It take a minimum of 6 people to do all the work in my old section, and now they're down to 3. And I had to learn while I was working when I started back in 1983. It's called continuing education...

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:56:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What skills are they talking about? (7+ / 0-)

    If they're talking about machinists, welders, etc., they may have a point, ever since our schools bought the idea that "shop" is just setting up nonwhites for inferior jobs.

    If they're talking about coders, well: I majored in computer science at college for a couple of years. After utterly useless courses in "systems analysis", I quit, went to City College, got some good courses in C++ and assembler, and I was on my way. (Of course, I had to compete with H1B slaves).

    Maybe our schools could be at fault here?

    GOP: Bankers, billionaires, suckers, and dupes.

    by gzodik on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:52:21 AM PST

    •  I'm a firm believer that kids should have chance (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gzodik, Odysseus

      to learn those higher paying skilled trades beginning in the earliest appropriate grade levels in public schools.  Classes in welding, CNC programming/machining, construction, plumbing, and way too many other technical fields are not even available to most until they hit college age.

      "There's nothing in the dark that's not there when the lights are on" ~ Rod Serling

      by jwinIL14 on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:17:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  American workers are endlessly adaptable. (6+ / 0-)

    The companies are full of shit.

    Maybe they can't find skilled sheet metal mechanics who will work for minimum wage.  Now that might be the case.

    But we have a natural resource here not found in such quantities elsewhere: that is a guy with a car up on blocks in the yard, and a computer in the bedroom.  These guys (girls) can do anything!

    I'm an engineer and I've seen it.

    The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

    by magnetics on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:52:25 AM PST

  •  There are too many people in the world for the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inspector Javert, swedepi

    jobs that actually need doing.  If the population were reduced by 50%, we'd all be working.  The present state of affairs is due to industrialization, replacing workers with machines, plus decreased demand.  It's not going to get much better.

  •  If there aren't any "qualified" college grads... (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe the colleges and universities are to blame? Why should kids be in debt from higher education costs, when colleges don't teach what is needed in the work force. I also believe company's are lazy because they refuse to "train" their employees.

  •  could it be (0+ / 0-)

    maybe part of the issue is a reluctance to relocate geographically?

    "a lie that can no longer be challenged becomes a form of madness" -Debord

    by grollen on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:55:15 AM PST

  •  Both Atrios and Kevin Drum ..... (11+ / 0-)

    ..... have reviewed newspaper articles with headlines such as "Companies can't find qualified workers" .......

    .... until you read the fine-print (2/3 of the way down the article) such as:

    *   Must relocate to Dubai
    *   $12/hour for medium-to-high-skilled job
    *   Must have worked at exactly same job/same industry
    *   Must have used identical software package
    *   Must be currently employed

    .... and sometimes employers are seeking college grads for jobs traditionally held by high school grads ... but continue to pay high school grad wages.

         Other times it comes down to employers who used to train employees for certain job-specific skills ... now expecting prospective employees to obtain their own training. In school districts with slashed budgets to finance corporate welfare.

        Thanks, Laura - this subject is worthy of a New York Times magazine-length article, if not an entire book.  

    "We should pay attention to that man behind the curtain."

    by Ed Tracey on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:58:47 AM PST

  •  In my experience (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, jwinIL14, Odysseus

    A large part of this comes from a tendency for smaller companies to avoid hiring entry level workers. People coming straight out of college are woefully unprepared for actual work in many cases, and when you are running on a tight budget it is more efficient to hire someone who can hit the ground running and start providing value.

    There are a lot of industries that would benefit from a high school level emphasis on apprenticeships and trade skills in the later years of high school rather than a long college prep course, which ends up being a huge waste of valuable time for a lot of kids.

    (I'm speaking mostly from experience in IT and the oil industry)

  •  I'm reminded of other arguments. . . (0+ / 0-)

    How often have we heard that the reason employers "must use illegal immigrants" is because Americans won't do the work. The fact is, they'd do the work if enough money were offered. That's the other side of the Market Economy equation politicians on the left are apparently afraid to employ.

    The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

    by Pacifist on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:59:50 AM PST

  •  "unqualified" is management-speak b.s (6+ / 0-)

    It just means "we're too cheap to train them", and the "training they paid for themselves" (i.e. college) didn't quite match what we wanted.  

    Employers are lazy and cheap-- they want people who already know the ins and outs of the job and all the software/hardware that goes with it.  They call that "hitting the ground running",. but it's really set up so they don't have to spend the time and money to integrate new hires into their company.   That costs money, and god forbid that.

    In the real world, it costs money to make money.  Plain and simple.  But the asshats that run our companies now, they want all the profits and all the credit, and none of the costs. None of the risk. (And then they complain that the kids these days are following their example.  But why wouldn't they?)

    They'll self-styled Masters of the Universe™ like to hold their fingers in their ears and shout until we leave them alone. Used to, that'd work, and they've had their way for nigh on 40 years now.  

    It doesn't work anymore.  

    "You're not stuck in traffic, you are traffic."

    by nominalize on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:01:28 AM PST

  •  sufficiently "QUALIFIED" is code for (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cordgrass, Skylarking, bigrivergal, Matt Z
    sufficiently "CHEAP"

    Corporations are so spoiled by slave labor wages and desperate H1 Visa employees that middle class wages are no longer an acceptable way to do business.

    Workers must unite to overcome this treason to our citizens

    Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

    by Einsteinia on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:03:38 AM PST

  •  Way too many (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    College grads  have history, english, philosophy, or archaelogy. etc. degrees.  Last math or science courses they had were taken in junior high.  In other words, their knowledge base is irrelevant to most jobs.  Their 16 years of schooling mainly go to show they can learn something.  We also need to emphasize that most employers are also looking at work experience.  A 22-23 year-old graduate who has no work experience is really at a disadvantage  

    •  Your assertion is incorrect (0+ / 0-)

      Nearly 2/3 of degrees are in business-related fields or science/engineering.  

      Only 4% major in English, 2% in history, etc.  Most of these grads go on to graduate study, and most of the jobs their majors lead to require little to no higher math.


      "You're not stuck in traffic, you are traffic."

      by nominalize on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:14:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm surprised the percentages are that low (0+ / 0-)

        I used to work in staffing for the tech industry and overwhelmingly, most job seekers in most of the resumes I saw had non-technical undergrad degrees. Although lot of them DID have follow-on technical training, certifications, etc. they were certainly not in the majority.  That said, I haven't researched actual statistics so can't dispute your statement.

      •  Can you cite a source for your statistics? (0+ / 0-)

        The fraction you note for business and science/engineering seems high to me.

        •  From the National Center for Education Statistics. (0+ / 0-)

          17.5% graduated in Humanities, 16.4% in Social & Behavioral Sciences (including economics, poli sci, sociology, and history)... for a total of 33.9%.

          Digest of Education Statistics

          That's a broad-brush view... for a more detailed one:

          Detailed view

          Just an example:  55,462 students graduated in 2010 with degrees in English (lit, letters)... out of 1,601,368 graduates:  3.46%  ...

          22K in foreign languages, 12K in philosophy, 34K in history...  not big numbers.   And many if not most go on to graduate study.  

          "You're not stuck in traffic, you are traffic."

          by nominalize on Tue Jan 17, 2012 at 04:25:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I will say one thing about "irrelevant" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Inspector Javert, Odysseus

      I would hire a philosophy or critical theory major to develop software over the college degrees they give out for "Computer Science" or whatever they are calling it now (like anyone who gets those degrees does original research into computer problems). Someone who has waded through Foucault or Derrida is much better trained to understand and respond to problems than someone with a glorified tech school degree. I mean, I am paying someone to think and respond, that's the hard skill to find. I have had to go round and round with so many programmers because of their parochial view of the world, thinking somehow, they were paid for technology, when they were in-fact, paid to problem solve creatively.

      "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

      by shmuelman on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:20:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I once told a plant manager (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        who asked me to make a software modification to a program to help with an issue that "yes I can do that, but the real problem you have is within the process of the work and we don't want to computerize a bad process."

        I further explained what changes would be needed in the methodology of the plant to match what he wanted. He thought about it and agreed with me, so we married a better process in the plant to the change in the software.

        Have a new hire where I work, he can do the rote work but everyone else on the team is scared to death of what will happen should an exception come up and he have to deal with it. Just doesn't have the problem solving skills to know what to do when the line by line documentation doesn't cover something.

        "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -- George Bernard Shaw

        by Inspector Javert on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 12:07:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, lots of CS stuff is a piece of crap. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Believe it or not I had one CS teacher who was absolutely shocked that you could run MacOS (68k) programs on a Windows/Pentium PC.

        There is no saving throw against stupid.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 12:37:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Back in the mid-80's (0+ / 0-)

          I was doing some of the most innovative work in PC's, and I was also taking classes to try to get a college degree. I was taking a database class and we had a test on SQL, which I got like a 70% on. I asked the teacher if I was allowed to use a manual at work, and if so, why would I want to memorize all this stuff. Nearly finished a degree in philosophy, however,

          "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

          by shmuelman on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 05:47:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It may depend on (0+ / 0-)

          the school too. The one I went to made computer science more of a performance major - if you couldn't do it, you weren't going to graduate. Which is part of why I'm not a computer scientist. And the field I'm working in now didn't exist then, or for at least five years after I left school, and didn't have a name for years after that.

          (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

          by PJEvans on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 07:31:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I agree. See my post below.. (0+ / 0-)

      There are reasons for that, other than the fact that students just want to take 'the easy way out.'

  •  I know what it's like (6+ / 0-)

    The problem is that companies out there advertise for people with "3-5 years working experience", often in the job they are hiring for.  So that leaves out college graduates who have the knowledge background but likely ZERO experience.  So who is left if not people who had a similar position elsewhere and were either fired/laid off or quit.  And companies don't want to hire those people either since it shows them as "damaged goods" or unreliable.

    That is the problem.  I graduated from university a number of years ago now with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in English.  While many would scoff at the idea of this degree, it actually taught me a lot of valuable skills including critical thinking, research, writing and communication skills not to mention the endless reports I had to write on subject, all expected to be well thought out analysis of the subject matter that could stand up to questioning.

    These are all very valuable skills in a wide range of fields.  However, no matter what I put as my skills in my resume, I found it extremely difficult to even get interviews.  In most cases I'm sure I was determined to not have experience.  In other cases people wondered why they would want someone with an arts degree over a "business admin" degree.

    Of course now I DO have a regular job.  In fact, I managed to get every job that actually let me get my foot in the door and SPEAK to someone.  I can explain in detail why I'm qualified to do the job despite "experience", something a 1 por 2 page resume simply doesn't allow for.  The hardest part when that first step of getting your foot in the door.  Many places don't even allow you to talk to someone when you go to drop off your resume.  Many will judge you more from the appearance of the resume (too long, too short, not formatted the way I like things to be formatted, etc) and ignore actual qualifications.

    I suspect these are the real issues and if business actually care about filling the positions, then there is nowhere close to a shortage of viable candidates for those jobs.

  •  Can't find Java programmers! (3+ / 0-)

    I heard from my friends that they are paying $90 - $110 / hour for Oracle DBA's. If they can find them.
    I post ads for Java programmers and get 0 responses (except for Indian outsourcing).
    Also, try to find somebody who really, really knows Ajax, Dojo, Jquery.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:11:30 AM PST

  •  What is "qualified"? (11+ / 0-)

    A closer examination of their definition of the word "qualified" is in order. As one of those people looking for work, I have run across many employers that are wishing for that perfect candidate to come waltzing into their office. Typically, the threshold of "qualified" has meant that a candidate fulfills a set of basic credentials and experience enabling them to do the job required. But I have gone into interviews where all of those elements are literally thrown out the window. Many employers are looking for individuals with years of experience in computer applications that have only been out on the market for a year or two. These expectations that employers have about candidates is extreme fantasy.

    They used to classify these items as "recommended" or "bonus" qualifications, not "required". Today's employers have become spoiled due to the number of candidates out there. They also want to hire this expert candidate at rock bottom salary levels. Today what we are seeing is a good deal of abuse at the employer level towards recruiting.

    Hiring used to be a skill where you looked for a well rounded individual that could not only do the job, but had the right attitude, vision, and promising future for advancement within the company structure. They were looking for a long term individual that would be a valuable investment to their company.

    But today, candidates are typically contracted for short term projects so that they can be cut off when the job is done. There is no sense of cultivating your staff anymore. It's a dark world of underpaid, no benefits, temporary staff workers that have no sense of what their future will be like past the current contract.

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:12:27 AM PST

  •  Most of the comments here are (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, rhutcheson

    spot on, but there are a couple of other reasons as well:

    Since so many blue collar jobs, i.e. those in manufacturing, have been outsourced overseas, and those that do still exist have become heavily automated, so many of those jobs which were plentiful a few years ago just don't exist anymore.  Many of the skilled baby boomer era blue collar workers who's jobs were eliminated have encouraged their children/grandchildren not to enter the trade skills specialties because of job insecurity, so most of the younger generation have opted to work in service related industries.  As a result, those industries have become somewhat saturated creating a glut of people seeking those jobs.  

    Another reason is that many people are unwilling or unable to relocate to other parts of the country where the most demand for the job skillsets are, and when the unemployment rate is higher, companies are much less willing to help with relocation costs. They seem to think that there are plenty of qualified candidates in their geographic area, which often not the case.

    •  AND (3+ / 0-)

      just to add.. you can't move if you can't sell or rent out your house (if you are lucky enough NOT to be in foreclosure) .. or can't afford the moving van.

      Why do Republicans Hate Americans?

      by Caniac41 on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:48:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I live in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. (0+ / 0-)

      In the forties and fifties, Milwaukee was a center of machining, with a workforce highly skilled in the trades as they existed during the time.  

      In the sixties and seventies those industries, which depended on large-scale production of more-or-less standard products using a variety of manually-operated metal-working machines in standard settings, experienced a decades-long downturn.  Many jobs (and companies) were lost.

      In their place, on a much smaller scale, job shops sprung up, depending on shorter-term product runs and using - primarily Japanese-manufactured - computer-numerical-controlled (CNC) machines, which required the operator to have the old-time knowledge of metal-working along with some computer savvy.  Employers couldn't find appropriate workers!

      But that was just because the old economy along with its complaisant management collapsed, not because the work force was lazy.

      Play chess for the Kossacks on Join the site, then the group at

      by rhutcheson on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 02:56:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Similar to undocumented worker argument (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, revsue, Skylarking

    Why is is that those doing the hiring always leave out the end of the statement? Unable to find qualified workers "for the dirt cheap wages they are willing to pay." Back in 1969 companies were willing to pay for training. Today's graduates have to pay exorbitant schooling costs and graduate with astronomical debt only to find companies wanting to pay dirt cheap wages and get treated like chattel. Big mystery why they have trouble.

  •  Another reason is that fewer (0+ / 0-)

    high school grads. are opting for technical degrees, i.e. in math, science, engineering, etc.  Part of the reason for that is that tuition costs are so outrageous now, and another reason is that many students who have potential to succeed in these fields can't pass the courses within the time frames required by higher educational curricula. There was a good segment on NPR recently about this. The higher education advocate guest (I don't remember the name or specific show) was heading a program to try and help develop advanced prep skills for middle school and high school students in poorer districts so that they could better compete in college.

  •  white collar vs. blue collar jobs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    needtovent, Odysseus

    As I understand the problem, there is more need for skilled blue collar workers than college grads. it seems there are plenty of wannabe designers and engineers, but fewer qualified assembly and construction personnel who have the industrial skills needed to actually turn the designs into reality.

    For both areas of the unemployed, I really don't buy the grad's reluctance to work for lower wages in the industrial sector, where most of the better paying production wages lie.

    For a long time, Engineering in college has been concentrated on giving students all they need to design, but no hands-on experience actually constructing the products they create on paper.

    If a student doesn't know how to use an arc welder, for instance, he's not going to know the limits and problems associated with arc welding. This lack of knowledge creates very real problems when an item goes into production that needs a lot of complicated arc welding.

    So the grads are caught in a vicious circle- they've already spent a gaboon of money on college, but will have to spend even more to go attend a tech school to be qualified for blue collar work, and the blue collar may be the only way a grad can have to eventually move upstairs and put the white collar on.
    There is very little room in the middle in industry, where a kid who has never turned a wrench or sharpened a chisel, or driven a heavy truck in his life can find a bottom position where he can develop those skills on the job.

    At the same time, I believe much of American industry is still operating under the false belief that there are still lots of skilled blue collar workers available. It seems to me that they are seeking job candidates who will be able to walk right on to the job and learn to do it with very little, if any, training.

    Training a new employee always costs the company money. Every new employee will need supervision, which always takes an experienced worker off his job to some degree, and errors made by the new guys always creates wasted time and effort. Or the products become sub-standard, which also loses money. The more new hires that come on a line at once, the greater the waste problem becomes.

    There are always critical blue collar positions in industry. These folks are always the best at what they do, do the work the fastest, and most have years of experience doing what they do. When a company lays off these people, they lose in many more ways than just production. When these people are forced to retire early, the loss is even deeper.

    For much industry, the use of robotics hasn't proven to be the answer to the problem. Robots can do wonderfully precise work, but they are only as good as their design, programming, maintenance, repair, and upkeep.

    They are also most efficient when working at their best speed. When sales slow down, it's hard to slow down the robot. And robotics is very expensive. It's easy to cut down a human worker's hours and still keep them employed, but when a robot is shut down, nothing at all is produced, and the company still has to pay for the robot, running or idle.

    It all becomes a vicious circle, but there is a way out- the unions. Unions accept raw beginners, and train them to do the job through their apprentice programs. Unions also find jobs for their members. While union wages are higher, the waste that comes from training and lost production time is eliminated. Apprentice wages are about the same as beginning non-union workers in many areas.

    I think all sides of American manufacturing deeply needs to look at each other and mutually fix the problems. Colleges, tech schools, company owners, labor, and unions alike, all seeking a common goal.

    There seems to me to be no inherent advantage in moving production overseas any more; every industrially developing nation is having it's own problems, and they all come back on the US companies who have invested so much in areas that are beyond their control.

    Right many are called, and damn few are chosen.

    by Idaho07 on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 11:44:16 AM PST

    •  True. Also, one thing I forgot to (0+ / 0-)

      mention in my previous comment is that a lot of well trained blue collar workers left those fields during either the 1990-91 or in the 2000-2001 recessions due to of lack of opportunity, and there were fewer new trainees/apprentices choosing those fields to replace.

    •  a comment on training (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the company i work for answers phones and does case work for internal sales reps.  The sales reps are NOT TRAINED on the software they have to use to do their jobs so when they can't figure something out, they open up a case.  New management has taken over Help Desk team and wonders why we get so many cases related to easy questions... our answers have been for a year.. TRAINING, the users of the software GET NO TRAINING, but training budgets have been slashed to ZERO.. and yet our team is expected to come up with ways to bring our case load down.. see the circle I am creating!!!  TRAINING.. is now a dirty word in Businesses of all types.. High Tech and Low Tech.

      Why do Republicans Hate Americans?

      by Caniac41 on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 12:03:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Trainers Do Not Generate Revenue (0+ / 0-)

        If you do not generate revenue, you are an expense.  If you are an expense, you are a liability and decrease the bottom line.  If you decrease the bottom line, you are bad for business.  Therefore, training is bad for business.

        In the not-so-distant past corporate training was considered a wise investment.  But the trend in business practices is to focus only on short term profits, not short term investments to generate long term growth, stability AND profits.

        Ezra Klein is my "freebie"

        by Skylarking on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 04:05:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  engineering (0+ / 0-)

      taught as a theoretical/design field, to turn out professors and researchers.
      Where the skills are taught now is usually 'engineering technology'.

      (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

      by PJEvans on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 07:36:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A small skill set is in huge demand (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Frankly, if you know some combination of C++, Java, Ruby, 3-d animation software, SQL (or No-SQL!), PHP, or a few other computer technologies, you are in a lot of demand and your salary will be better than your last job. (I know.) My last trips to the job market resulted in multiple offers.

    If you don't have this skill set, the unemployment statistics are scary.

  •  FINALLY, THE TRUTH ...3.3 million job openings (0+ / 0-)

    the dirty little secret is out....President Obama has been walking around this for 2 years.....never quite straight away saying that america has an education crisis not a job crisis.....

    behind the doors of congress....republicans and democrats fight over this issue all the time...

    There are currently 3.3 million job openings....not to mention that the US govt issues thousands of H1B visas everyday to foreigners allowing them to work in u.s. companies because u.s. companies cannot find the necessary qualified american workers.......coupled with the fact that



    the unemployment rate for college grads is 4%....which in economics is full employment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  •  I find it difficult to find qualified Americans (4+ / 0-)

    with advanced degrees in biostatistics. In fact, my division hasn't hired an American since 2003. All the more recent hirees are immigrants. Americans just aren't interested in pursuing these careers -- despite an unemployment rate that is basically zero.

  •  Chicken & egg oxymoron problem (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    schnecke21, Odysseus, Matt Z, PJEvans

    The problem is that businesses want a young person who has both the college degree and years of experience and will work for a entry level paycheck.  

    They can't have it all.  

    They want to pay entry level - then don't ask for experience - train.  

    They want a degree - then pay for it.  

    They want experience - then pay for it and don't discriminate against older employees.  

  •  Of course, there are no qualified workers... (4+ / 0-)

    the need for a living wage and/or any type of benefits is an immediate disqualification.

  •  The problem is the employer is looking for that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    perfect match of skills and experience along with the degrees. It is almost impossible to find a business marketing job right out of college unless one gets it through an internship. Businesses don't look for just the degree, but also 2 or so years experience. They basically want someone who they don't have to train and put as little time and effort into the employee as possible. Its sad, and it was really tough for me to find a quality job out of college as a result, since I didn't want to work at the place I interned at full-time.

    Employers are just too picky, that's the real problem. People are trainable, the companies just don't want to train them.

  •  Part of it is also (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, Skylarking

    that companies are too friggin cheap and lazy to actually train anyone - they want someone who's already overqualified for the position they posted, but who's willing to work for entry level salary.

    New favorite put-down: S/he's as dumb as a flock of Sarah Palins

    by sleipner on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 12:58:39 PM PST

  •  The problem with most of the "legitimate" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    arguments I've seen here is that few of them involve anything that's changed particularly drastically in the last year or so, while the perceived shortage seems to have gotten seriously worse during that relatively short time.

    Banksters are harmful for the same reason neutrinos are harmless: neither are inclined to share what they've got (wealth and energy, respectively)

    by ebohlman on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 12:59:42 PM PST

    •  If signal is greater than noise & volume goes up (0+ / 0-) get more noise than signal. The perception of the problem has gone up because there are more job seekers and more looking outside their area of expertise.

      Post-DotCom crash, I recall making the first cut of resumes for an executive assistant position. The most qualified person was an empty-nest mother who hadn't held a job in 18 years (worked out great), but there were lots of software engineers and biochemists in the mix. In better times (just 6 months before) they wouldn't have considered burning up our fax toner, but they were getting desperate so there they were.

      Groups: Toolbox and Trolls... to preserve the best & the worst of DailyKos.

      by opendna on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 01:30:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  And Ron Paul wants to destroy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, Matt Z

    public education. Wake up, America.

    "Such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing." - Thomas Paine

    by blueoregon on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 01:12:17 PM PST

  •  I burned my resume in 01... (0+ / 0-)

    I believe I got all the copies.

    After putting significant code and art into well over 50 games, writing the audio OS for a popular gaming platform and a complete cross platform OS for digital scent generation/transmission including games and web sites...
    I was laid off when the company was slammed by the VC's.

    I sent out hundreds of resumes for over a year and got no response... Zero.

    I went Gault.

    I won't work for 3rd world wages and when I work I will be paid. Paid for every hour with OT, DT and Golden Time when needed. Cold pizza and flat Coke in a sick building don't make up for a 3 hour kickback after an 8 hour day.

    I am not an indentured servant. I am a highly skilled engineer with proven skills. I won't work on an understaffed team that is going essentially around the clock in the center of a traffic ridden mess.

    Every so often a headhunter will call with a 60-80k offer to relo to bumfuck with no exit package. What the fuck do they think!

    When you want a well documented heavy hitter you need to be ready to deal and most admit they are embarrassed at the weakness of what they have to offer...

    These offers are designed to NOT GET AN APPLICANT! Then this lack of an applicant is used to bring in a well meaning foreign national who will do anything for any wage.

    Now I only freelance and I work 4-6 hours a day. My skills are the current hot stuff with mobile, cloud, db-sql and web apps all written single handed.

    My resume has been destroyed and as far as I am concerned it is staying that way because I don't have enough time left in my life for an industry that can not provide consistent employment based on merit with reasonable hours and working conditions...

    I also have to note how many of my highly skilled peers have fled the industry because of the poor pay, bad working conditions, excessive exempt hours and lack of dependable employment.

    •  Boy do you need better headhunter contacts (0+ / 0-)

      Because your skills sound better than mine, and I didn't relo to nowheresville, and I make more than 80K. I haven't heard of a job in a hot CS field like yours paying only 80K in years, unless you are talking London and pounds.

  •  A Few Ways to Take This (0+ / 0-)

    1)  Could be that there is a gap between employer's expectations and what colleges are teaching.

    2)  Could be there's a gap between worker's expectations and what employers are offering.

    3)  Could be that there are less men employed right now because it's still cheaper to hire a woman.

    Being female, I know which interpretation I'm leaning toward...

  •  Company Recruiters... (0+ / 0-)

    are relying too much on filtering software to screen the resumes coming in.

    If your resume doesn't have the exact wording (that exists in the job posting) then the screening software will knock your resume out of the running.

    This is why you must customize your resume for each job and map your skills to that advertised.

    I figured this out and I've got two final job interviews lined up and an offer on the table. Before, I was getting zero response.

    Also, companies are requiring years of experience that many new grads don't have.

    My advice to grads: Your projects in class count as experience. Internships count. Hit up non-profits and do pro-bono work in your specialty.

    Work that type of experience into your resume.

  •  Crony Crapitalists are REALLY flogging that log (0+ / 0-)

    The "skills" gap is an invention of dispicably overpaid corporatists and their HR killers to "leverage" more and more out of the American labor pool and treasury.

    About the only skill an American worker needs is to pick up managerial slack and they do that magnificently. These trickle down orgs are riddled with "talent" that does little more than delegate, terrorize and pile-on the "less skilled" underlings.

    I'd have some respect for these America fuckers if they would just admit their aim is slave wages, and that 99 percenter "gains" in an increasingly obnoxious, cruel workplace is subject to arbitary whims from above.

    And there is NO ONE in the public forum on our side.

  •  college degree does not always make you qualified (0+ / 0-)

    for today's  jobs. And many with high school degrees are not really that educated. Many employers and college professors complain about a younger generation who have an inability to write. My husband says younger lawyers write terrible briefs. I have friends who have  a business teaching engineers in high tech companies how to write. They have been doing this for decades and say the younger generation has even worse writing skills.  I know professors at Berkley who say even the top AP student coming out of high school cannot write.

    So hone your writings skills and vocabulary. Reading good literature builds vocabulary.

  •  There are plenty of 50 plus blue and white collar (0+ / 0-)

    workers out there who need employment, but the corporations all think we suffer from Dementia, or have to take a break every 15 minutes to wipe the drool off our faces and go to the bathroom due to incontinence.


    I know of quite a few of 50 plus workers in the IT industry who cannot find work because they want employees that are inexperienced for lower wages.  Many of the systems that they are running are legacy systems and were designed and maintained by those very same people who are not "experienced”.  Many of us over age 50 men and women would go to a job with good old-fashioned solid work ethics and the desire to get the job done correctly, and content with a salary that is fair and commiserates with experience provided.


    You can't have your cake, and eat it too but many seem to think they can.  Unfortunately, they are the ones still employed, in those jobs where they believe (as many do) that they are the “smartest guys and gals in the room.  They aren’t, and they never will learn at the expense of many a good experienced worker.

    It’s all about the mighty dollar, and how to make more at others expense.

    "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution, inevitable." - President John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963)

    by LamontCranston on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 04:30:31 PM PST

  •  training employees. When an employee working (0+ / 0-)

    in a Home hardware store does not even know where the 1/4 inch mark is on a ruler, you know we are in trouble. I was buying something at a Home store and needed to be a certain length. The  young man helping me had no idea where 5/8 inch mark was on the yard stick. So I nicely gave hm a short lesson is measurements.

    I know these are not high paying jobs, but they should at least spend some time training their employees.

  •  come on folks WTF up (0+ / 0-)

    What is sad about most of these comments, (except those that focus on old time skilled blue collar manufacturing), is the degree to which no one raises the real core issue that confronts the United States:

    Deindustrialization; on scale so massive, so pervasive it begs the question of whether anyone outside a very small minority of observes really gets it or has the even a feeble grasp of the big picture; the real picture sans any media driven dribble.

    Deindustrialization is not just a question of shipping job overseas because of imagined high labor costs but truthful admissions that labor costs are sometimes peripheral   although everyone seems to focus on just that one aspect.

    Walk through any national retail outlet or sit down and make a list and see all the things that used to be made in the United States and then match up the company names – that is how many are labeled with old time American brand names and how many are new brand names one can not even trace back.

    Either way, whether it’s a name you can recognize or not, let us just list the things that used to made in the U.S. and are not; but not only once supported the manufacturing jobs to make them but the millions of support jobs that made those products possible.

    Gone with the manufacturing jobs are  the advertizing, basic engineering and process engineers, accounting, transportation,  retail jobs that grew out of the fact they were made here and the retail chain that use to draw its life blood from the fact it was made here.

    When a nation loses twenty million manufacturing jobs over a forty-five year period large parts of the supporting economy that depended on these manufacturing jobs are torn out and thrown away also. Then an almost ridiculous specter of a downward self-filling endless cycle of a race to the bottom becomes the new normal.

    In this cycle of underdevelopment the survivors and younger generations are literally fighting over scraps from the tables of hundreds of trans-national corporations who have made the conscience decision to gut all types of industry in the United States mainly for political reasons using economic ones as a crude fig leaf to cover their tracks because the media is filled with highly paid sycophants willing to breath life into forty-five years of gross meaningless lies that do not bare out under an even causal examination.

    When companies stab a nation in the back and take generations of wealth with them it is no longer an economic one it indeed becomes very political and obvious if one looks without any blinders stemming from a media driven by a notion of “access” that turns said press into lazy appeasers.

    This short list is just the tip of the iceberg and does not even address all the “service jobs” that are also being off shored.

    Remember when these were made here ???

    a short list:

    Women’s Clothing
    Men’s Clothing
    Leather goods like purses and suit cases
    Some but not all Camping gear
    Some but not all Sports Equipment
    Furniture other than high end custom made most mere mortal can not afford.

    Small Kitchen appliances
    Large Kitchen appliances
    Steel based Cookware
    Glass Based Cookware
    Tool & Die machines – whether computer driven or not.

    Chip Fabrication and board level device for all appliances mentioned above.

    Computer devices and cell phones - although they are said to be designed here that won’t last.

    Printing Equipment Web Presses–on deaths door as we abandon the notion of local control of news and newspaper industry is half way through deaths door.

    Digital Printing is still dominated by HP – but all their industrial size printers are now made overseas and HP under you know who laid off 20k engineers in the early 2000 period.

    Printers Consumer level - can you remember Xerox once led that industry


    While many of the comments here focus on resumes and language skills and mismatches between what Universities turn out and what skills American manufactures complain they can not find here, one would hope at less someone ask why except for a very few exception it is only European and Japanese companies that have over the last 15 years been the only major builders of factories here in the United States to serve the domestic Auto market – while thousands of American companies have been either gutted by Wall Street vultures because they can, or worst shipped overseas not to avoid high labor costs but to avoid:

    1)    Pesky worker safety rules that are poorly enforced if at all half the time – hell go to countries where the work force is totally terrorized and government is run like the Mafia.

    2)    Pesky rights about labor arbitration and rights of workers to organize for a fair wage not necessarily a higher wages–hell go to countries where the work force is totally terrorized and government is run like the Mafia.

    3)    Pesky lawsuits when workers try to fight back over thousands of conditions brought on by cancer causing chemicals or mine explosions- hell just blow up whole mountains of coal or shift production to – countries where the work force is totally terrorized or buy off local state government so they can destroy a whole mountain range because said local state government is run like the Mafia.

    4)    Pesky relative higher taxes on personal capital gains derived from domestic production can be totally avoided by going to countries where the whole country is totally terrorized and banking is run like the Mafia and then capital gains can be parked overseas for an indefinite period.

    5)    Pesky national corporate taxes that fund government – any government when one can go overseas and laugh all the way to the bank as countries cut each other throats by lowering capital gains, subsidizing start-up costs and basically giving all industry a free ride to just do about anything they desire because so many governments are run like the Mafia.

    In closing the other day I needed to buy a box of tooth picks – I couldn’t find any made in the US

    You all look like fucking slaves to me - John Lennon

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