Friday, June 8, 2012

Massive automatic job rejections create "skills gap" fantasy

Yeah, right.
American employers are using computers to reject job applicants because they don't want to hire Americans, Economic Populist reported in a great post this morning. A Wharton Business School professor analyzed why employers claim there's a "skills shortage" when 27 million people in the U.S. need a job.

The trucking industry is a classic example of employers whining they can't find qualified people. Here's a typical story from a few months ago:
Trucking companies, including Indianapolis-based Celadon Group Inc., are struggling to find qualified drivers even as the U.S. unemployment rate remains at the highest level in almost 30 years. 
Driver turnover rose to 89 percent in the third quarter of 2011, the highest since 2008 and the fourth consecutive quarter of increases, according to data from the American Trucking Associations. That’s mostly because new regulations and job prospects in other industries are creating a “quality shortage” of available workers... 
Writes the Economic Populist:
There is no skills shortage, none. In fact employers are being absolutely ridiculous in their hiring practices. It's so bad, employers use software and third party rejection job application websites, which pretty much guarantee a candidate will be rejected. These websites and software are like virtual wastebaskets for your resume. No human involved, it's automatic, guaranteed rejection. It's so bad, an HR executive applied for his own job and was rejected.
The professor, Peter Cappelli, interviewed the HR executive who anonymously applied for a job at his company and was rejected. Cappelli found:
Another factor that contributes to the perception of a skills gap is that most employers now use software to handle job applications, adding rigidity to the process that screens out all but the theoretically perfect candidate. Most systems, for example, now ask potential applicants what wage they are seeking — and toss out those who put down a figure higher than the employer wants. That’s hardly a skill problem. Meanwhile, applicants are typically assessed almost entirely on prior experience and credentials, and a failure to meet any one of the requirements leads to elimination. One manager told me that in his company 25,000 applicants had applied for a standard engineering job, yet none were rated as qualified. 
There ought be a law...