Disconnect between skilled workers and good jobs

As more people looked for work the past few years, companies complained more loudly they couldn't find quality applicant.

Author Peter Cappelli pointed out the problems employers were causing themselves in a WSJ article "Why Companies Aren't Getting the Employees They Need" last October. He expanded the article into a book, and talked about it this week on ieee Spectrum in "Why Bad Jobs-or No Jobs-Happen to Good Workers." Cappelli says, "The real culprits are the employers themselves."

How can companies be at fault, when all the complaints are about how poorly the education system is doing training workers, and workers themselves don't meet job qualifications? Because HR looks for fantasy employees with impossible qualifications, and companies have cut their training budgets. In Europe, training is often mandatory, and those companies aren't complaining about skilled-job shortages.

Blame HR

When employers accept applicants only if they have a degree but are willing to accept any type of degree regardless of relevance, it's simply that employers have become lazy in their recruiting.

Michael J on wsj.com

Employers want the perfectly trained person, for about 20% under market.

rickw7rt on ieee.org

In too many cases, an HR department could more accurately be called, "The employment prevention department."

Peter Warren on wsj.com

I hate to sound harsh, but far to many "required experience" sections describe fantasy candidates, not realistic ones.

Tom on ieee.org

Blame schools

High schools could graduate students who were apprentice programmers, welders, designers, etc. Instead being able to read at high school level is considered a success.

Matthew Ososky on wsj.com

...expected to get the key skills and company-specific socialization in college or internships. When they don't, the companies complain about "education."

David on ieee.org

Blame executives

Don't forget the classic catch-22 of employers asking for more years in a skill than the skill has existed.

Ken Arromdee on ieee.org

A significant issue is that nobody trains employees while compensating them fairly based on their aptitude. So the only option is for employees to bounce around to get new skills and better wages.

hkarthik on news.ycombinator.com

That really is the crux of it. I got a 4.5% raise after my first year - not bad in this economy. I'll probably get similar this year. My girlfriend switched jobs after 18 months and got a 100% raise.

krschultz on news.ycombinator.com

Human Resources takes a beating in the hundreds of comments about this topic. If you're in HR, please give us the view from your side of the desk.

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