Last week I appealed to employers to be more circumspect in considering the unemployed when hiring (Are you Tapping the Most Underappreciated Talent Pool). Discrimination is real and it happens for many reasons, not just unemployment. Humans are imperfect, make mistakes and behave very badly sometimes. We must all be vigilant against discrimination throughout our society, not just in employment.
As you are probably aware, the rate of unemployment for the “long-term” unemployed is at an all-time high; 40% of those currently unemployed have been out of work for six months or longer according to DOL statistics. In his column Hiring is Broken, HR professional Steve Gifford has an interesting take on why we need to reconsider the bias against the unemployed in general and this subset in particular. I’ve written on this topic before (Discrimination Against the Unemployed), so I was interested to see what he had to say.
A Boston Federal Reserve study reports that hiring managers are much less likely to interview people who have been out of work for six months or longer. Steve gives three reasons why people think this way:
- The longer you’re out of work, the more atrophied your skills are. You’re not current on technologies, and would have too much of a learning curve. Let’s just hire someone with current skills.
- Herd mentality. No other employer has picked this candidate up, so there must be something wrong with them!
- Unemployed people are just giving up and being lazy about applying.
Unemployment. For many people today, this word elicits a plethora of emotions. Most Americans have been impacted by unemployment, whether personally or by witnessing a family member or friend struggling to find a new job. But today, I’d like to offer encouragement for those individuals who are currently wrestling with the stigma of this word.
“Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink” wrote Samuel Taylor Coleridge in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. With national unemployment hovering above 8% but employers still reporting significant trouble in filling open positions, it seems an apt description of the current labor market. We’ve heard the terms “talent mismatch,” “skills gap,” and “talent shortage” repeatedly in the news, and I’ve written on this before on Staffing 360. There is no shortage of stories on the topic. Recently, ManpowerGroup released the 2012 results of its annual talent shortage survey revealing that “49% of U.S. employers are experiencing difficulty filling mission-critical positions” and CareerBuilder's new Talent Crunch Study reports that 38% have open positions for which they can’t find qualified people. Their study also highlighted some of the many reasons that companies should be concerned about those unfilled spots:
- 34% of those surveyed reported job vacancies led to low quality work because of overworked employees;
- 23% cited a loss in revenue;
- 33% of employers said vacancies have caused lower morale; and
- 17% saw higher turnover rates.
ManpowerGroup reports that in the US the top 10 hardest jobs to fill were:
- Skilled Trades
- IT Staff
- Sales Representatives
- Accounting & FinanceStaff
- Machinists/Machine Operators
Back in January we wrote a post titled 5 Keys to Looking for Work in 2012. In that post, we reported that the US economy had hit an inflection point. There were numerous signs that hiring was picking up and that hiring activity was only going to accelerate. As it turns out, those indicators were correct.