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Why Bad Jobs (or No Jobs) Happen To Good Workers

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the no-lack-of-well-employed-idiots-though dept.

Businesses 1201

sean_nestor writes "Back in October, an article appeared in The Wall Street Journal with the headline 'Why Companies Aren't Getting the Employees They Need.' It noted that even with millions of highly educated and highly trained workers sidelined by the worst economic downturn in three generations, companies were reporting shortages of skilled workers. Companies typically blame schools, for not providing the right training; the government, for not letting in enough skilled immigrants; and workers themselves, who all too often turn down good jobs at good wages. The author of the article, an expert on employment and management issues, concluded that although employers are in almost complete agreement about the skills gap, there was no actual evidence of it. Instead, he said, 'The real culprits are the employers themselves.'" The linked article is an interview with Peter Cappelli, author of the WSJ piece, who has recently published a book on the alleged skills gap.

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O RLY? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40398895)

and workers themselves, who all too often turn down good jobs at good wages

Unfortunately, a company's definition of "good wages" is all too often directly at odds with what the workers themselves would consider to be good.

Re:O RLY? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40398955)

How dare you demand a living wage. You actually expect your managers to give up their bonuses so you can actually pay your bills?

Re:O RLY? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399011)

Not the managers but other people in a great socialist system that eliminates evil rich people and corporations, I mean really didn't everyone in the USSR live in a utopian system pre 90's? Come on slash stupid occupiers lets revolt.

Re:O RLY? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399067)

Hey, look it's Joe McStrawmanBeater.

Re:O RLY? (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399087)

So now you're being a Communist to want a decent wage ommensurate with your skills?

Re:O RLY? (5, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399135)

Duh. Getting a living wage decreases short-term profits and that's just anti-capitalist.

Re:O RLY? (0, Troll)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399181)

I love you idiot Tea party people that Whine when people want more pay, but WHINE when you cant hire people at insulting wages.

Pick one. Socialist country where the proles are forced to work for your company at low wages, or a "socialist" country where workers can demand higher wages for their work.

Or would you prefer we bring back slavery? will that fix your problem:?

Re:O RLY? (4, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399301)

Do you really think that asking for a reasonable salary is the same thing as a communist revolution? Really?

I love these little flashes of insight into the right-wing mind. It's fascinating, like microscopic close-ups of insect faces: here's this creature which is biochemically and genetically more or less like you, and yet completely alien.

Re:O RLY? (2, Interesting)

Bigby (659157) | more than 2 years ago | (#40398969)

Sometimes unemployment benefits, both the size and duration, are a better option than a good job at a good wage.

Re:O RLY? (5, Insightful)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399039)

Sometimes unemployment benefits, both the size and duration, are a better option than a good job at a good wage.

Of course that's exactly why the republicans are so against unemployment benefits (or any other form of government benefits). It simultaneously makes it harder to exploit workers, while also allowing unscrupulous people to sit on their bum.

Re:O RLY? (4, Informative)

Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399177)

Sorry, but I've been on unemployment from time to time while working my ass off to find a new job. I have yet to see an unemployment check that came within a 1/4 of what most of the people reading Slashdot get paid. That also goes for most "middle" class jobs. You get laid-off from Wendy's then you might sit around on your ass, otherwise, you're going to be eating into your savings and trying like heck to find your next job before you lose the house/car/wife.

Re:O RLY? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399345)

It's between 70 and 80 percent of your previous salary here in Switzerland.

Re:O RLY? (4, Informative)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399379)

Yeah, no kidding. I'm Canadian, so add a dash of salt.

EI is 55% of your earnings, and tops out at $438 a week, then you get taxed on that, and it works out to a little over $800 every two weeks.

I make more than double that. EI doesn't pay the bills -- it doesn't even cover my mortgage.

Re:O RLY? (3, Informative)

Mullen (14656) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399203)

This is just not true, Unemployment Benefits rarely come close to the salary you were making. In fact, they barely cover 1/3 of what you were making and it has always been that way.

I can use myself as an example, when I pulled California Unemployment Benefits about 8 years ago, I got $440 (gross) a week. My salary at the time was just about 4x time that. Unemployment barely holds that fiscal line and California Unemployment are also on a sliding scale. So, if you don't make much, you don't get much in Unemployment Benefits.

Re:O RLY? (4, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399217)

Bullshit. Unemployment benefits are a fraction of what you made last, not a multiple. It's enough to live off of, but not at the lifestyle you previously had. The number of people who would happily take that decrease in life style is miniscule.

Re:O RLY? (5, Informative)

pathological liar (659969) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399221)

Citation needed.

Up here in Canada, employment insurance currently maxes out [servicecanada.gc.ca] at $485 per week. That's taxed, of course, so what you actually get comes out to something slightly over $1600/mo.

If you live in the middle of nowhere and own your property, that might possibly be comfortable. Maybe. For some definition of comfortable. $DEITY help you if you live in an urban area though, and you rent or have a mortgage, or have dependents.

Re:O RLY? (4, Informative)

avgjoe62 (558860) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399257)

Like in Florida, where 1200 dollars a month is the maximum, even if you live in a high cost area like Miami. That 1200 a month was half of my cost for my house and utilities. Let's not even add in food, gas, insurance, internet access, cell phone - any of those things that you need to get a job - and the 1200 a month that I got for holding jobs since I was 14 didn't go far. I usually find that those that say "... unemployment benefits, both the size and duration, are a better option than a good job at a good wage." have never tried to live on such.

Re:O RLY? (5, Informative)

oPless (63249) | more than 2 years ago | (#40398985)

Actually I'm cancelling an upvote to reply.

In the UK, developers pay has frozen, if not reduced slightly over the past 12 years. I can't tell what it is in other sectors, but it's not a good thing.

Unfortunately most companies here go through (a handful of) employment agencies, and they're making a packet.

re: O RLY? (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399003)

From TFA:

You wouldnâ(TM)t say, for example, that thereâ(TM)s a shortage of diamonds. Diamonds are very expensive. They cost a lot, but you can buy all the diamonds you want as long as youâ(TM)re willing to pay.

There is no skill shortage.
There is no worker shortage.
The companies complaining are just refusing to pay the wages to get the skilled people.

Which is why those companies want more visas for cheap, foreign workers.

Re: O RLY? (3, Interesting)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399139)

I would argue that represents a skill shortage. If wages are in an upward spiral because all the companies who want the skilled workers keep bidding each other up on the same pool of workers, that's a shortage. More trained people would yield more employment in this scenario.

(This is what's happening to developers in silicon valley right now. There is basically zero unemployment for good software developers right now. Things are so bad I can't even find qualified people to take interviews, which is sort of a prerequisite to make them that upwardly spiraling offer. As another point of evidence, new grad offers are now roughly 2.5X the national average for other BS degrees.)

Re: O RLY? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399231)

Except wages are going up because there are fewer workers in the workforce and the ones who remain are the top earners. Its a vicious cycle thats fueled by the unwillingness to simply hire more.

The lowest earners are fired, the average wages goes up, companies bitch about the average wages going up and refuse to hire more people on the basis that "they're not qualified".

Re: O RLY? (5, Interesting)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399457)

There is basically zero unemployment for good software developers right now. Things are so bad I can't even find qualified people to take interviews, which is sort of a prerequisite to make them that upwardly spiraling offer.

Except that these offers aren't "upwardly spiraling" at all, that's complete bullshit. Salaries have been frozen for years.

As another point of evidence, new grad offers are now roughly 2.5X the national average for other BS degrees

And what does that have to do with people with 10+ years experience? Absolutely nothing. As usual, employers want cheap workers, and want to fire everyone that's been around too long because they're "too expensive".

There is no shortage, period. There's only unwillingness to pay more.

Re: O RLY? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399167)

So you're saying businesses are saving money by using a GOVERMENT program that allows them to hire cheap labor? I see an easy solution to that problem already.

Re: O RLY? (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399169)

If you'd read, it's not that either. It's that companies are only looking for perfect candidates for the particular thing they want done, as that saves them time and effort, and allows them to downsize as soon as the requirement is done. The removal of the concept of a "trainable" employee has been sabotaging their ability to find anyone, and since everyone else is engaged in poach-based hiring, the system is self-reinforcing.

In particular, it also explains why unemployment among the recently graduated is so high.

Re:O RLY? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399161)

It is just the ego defense mechanism of projection. I've seen, it like forever. Management can't make its numbers, so they blame the workers that they are supposed to be supervising to make those numbers.

What there is a real shortage of these days is Management Talent.

Off topic, Living Wage is just another commuinist plot to destroy capitalism. If you can't make it on what your making , get a better job. If you aren't capable of doing that, Darwin out of the population and save the rest of us the anoyance!

Re:O RLY? (3, Insightful)

cjcela (1539859) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399193)

Not only that. Somehow we have grown into thinking that the only requirement from the employer to the employee are decent wages. It is not. Most workplaces make "The Office" working environment look like a paradise.

Re:O RLY? (5, Insightful)

dubbreak (623656) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399247)

and workers themselves, who all too often turn down good jobs at good wages

Unfortunately, a company's definition of "good wages" is all too often directly at odds with what the workers themselves would consider to be good.

Quite true. Where I live (pacific northwest) I've found there is no problem finding jobs in software but employers have a difficult time finding good people. In this case it's partially due to the low unemployment rate but also companies that are used to paying sub par wages because "this is a desirable place to live".

The last employer I worked for I gave them a chance to compete on wage before I left. Initially they thought they were paying me quite fairly, but were willing to do a 3rd party wage review (to hopefully confirm their beliefs). I claimed I was under paid by at least 12% for the local market (I know a lot of other software devs, I was quite certain about that number) and considering a position that would be close to a 30% raise. Their wage review did in fact show I was under paid however they offered a paltry 6% raise and one time 5% bonus (when I was clear I wouldn't accept less than a 12% raise).

The smart employers have started offering wages close to 20% above the norm and relocation expenses. Why? While this is a desirable place to live the cost of living is exorbitant compared to most of Canada. To attracting outside talent (rather than poaching from the local pool) you really need to sweeten the pot. Also, in order to poach from the local pool you need to offer better wages. I forget the study (I think it was in "The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave"), but I read a claim that employees won't leave a good that's "good enough" for less than 20%. If you don't 100% enjoy your job you'll put up with it rather than the risks of leaving for a small raise, the threshold being a 20% increase in pay.

Now I have my own small business. One of my contractors (who just graduated) I pay pretty much what I was making when I left the previous company (which is a sizeable jump from the local norm for new grads). Why? Because tying experience to wage is ridiculous. He can code circles around devs I've worked with that claim 20+ years experience. He's easily worth it. Plus it makes it harder for others to poach him. He was taking on some other side work part-time and they complained that his rate was quite high for a new grad (of course they needed him, so they sucked it up and paid).

Re:O RLY? (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399425)

Victoria or Vancouver?

There's a place in Victoria that says point blank, "The climate here is worth about $15,000 a year."

Because... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40398907)

... they stay most of the day refreshing slashdot instead of looking for a better job?

Training! (5, Interesting)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 2 years ago | (#40398921)

What happened to companies hiring a competent worker and training them for the specifics of the job?

Re:Training! (4, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#40398929)

That costs money and would negatively affect short-term profit margins.

Re:Training! (4, Insightful)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399069)

That costs money and would negatively affect short-term profit margins.

Seems a little redundant calling it specifically "short-term profit margins". All appearances indicate most companies are only concerning themselves with the short term lately.

Re:Training! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399113)

That's just being bitter about the root cause.

Of course it's about money, but it's not about affecting short-term profit margins. The problem is that if you invest a lot of money in training people but are the only company that does so in your field, you face a very real danger that your competitors are going to poach the trained staff by offering them slightly more money, but less than it would have cost to train themselves. Now you've sunk cost into staff you no longer employ, and wasn't particularly useful to you while you employed them. The article refers to this as as the Silicon Valley model. This makes it very, very unattractive for any given company to heavily invest in training until the majority of their competitors does so, too.

Re:Training! (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399223)

WAH, then pay your employees more money.

Re:Training! (3, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399381)

Boohoo. It costs money and takes real effort to keep people. Either accept this and find those good people or keep perpetuating a broken system, but don't complain to me about your woes.

Re:Training! (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399351)

Well that, but apart from that the problem is also that the people you've trained will very often leave for a better job just as they're starting to get educated and experienced because another company is operating with no training budget and hire only people that can contribute to the bottom line straight away, thus leading to higher margins and the ability to pay more. There's many companies that are in fact willing to take that financial hit, but not without any return on investment as the bean counters would say it. Even when there's a shortage the result is often poaching instead of training more - who'd also get poached, it's a little bit a tragedy of the commons, each company do it in their own interest even though the shortage hurts all of them as a whole.

or (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399363)

you take the training and move on letting the company start all over.

Cynicism works for both sides.

Re:Training! (4, Insightful)

xs650 (741277) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399027)

In a world where employees are disposable, it doesn't make sense to invest very much in them.

Re:Training! (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399065)

training costs money and the worker will jump to a slightly higher paying job in an instant

Re:Training! (5, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399099)

Or they won't jump to anything if they weren't treated like a cog. But loyalty hasn't been a part of most employer's vocabulary for going on 30+ years. If you want good, loyal employees it *gasp* means you might have to spend a bit more to treat them well.

Re:Training! (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399443)

I think it is too late now.

Even if you found a great company that did treat you right the workers are conditioned to always leave after 5 years so what is the point? Might as well cut benefits and wages if they are going to leave anyway and give it to the shareholders and CEO.

We are still in a depression and not a recovery. I use that definition because the only time new recessions like this one start when unemployment is already 8% is the 1930s and 1870s which were depressions. In such an environment why bother paying more. Sooo many people would jump at the job if HR didn't keep their checklist high for who gets to get the interview.

Re:Training! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399291)

"training costs money and the worker will jump to a slightly higher paying job in an instant",

Because the company is not paying enough. Employees have some loyalty when they are being paid a fair wage. and if your competition can poach your employees cheaply, your fault for severely underpaying them.

Re:Training! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399079)

they might take your job!

Re:Training! (3, Informative)

bobcat7677 (561727) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399427)

The company I work for does this when possible, and so does the company across the street that we work with sometimes. It's almost as difficult to find "competent" workers without skills as it is to find competent workers with skills. Kids these days seem to think they can bullsh1t their way through anything without actually putting in any work, just like they did in high school and sometimes college. The current U.S. educational system is a complete and utter failure when it comes to producing a good worker. There are those that come out good despite the system, or from private/alternate educational backgrounds. But we have not seen a single "competent" applicant come through our doors from the mainstream public educational system in the past 5 years. The competent entry level employees we have hired (e.g. lasted more then a month or two) either went to private schools or received a significant portion of their education in other countries.

Agree (5, Interesting)

GnetworkGnome (2654891) | more than 2 years ago | (#40398923)

Consdiering some of the people hired recently where I work, I would have to agree with this article. Things like personality, which is necessary to some degree depending on the job, are always considered highly above the genuine ability to do a job. People want those who they like around them, more than those that do their jobs.

Re:Agree (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399219)

Considering some of the people hired recently where I work, I would have to agree with this article. Things like personality, which is necessary to some degree depending on the job, are always considered highly above the genuine ability to do a job. People want those who they like around them, more than those that do their jobs.

I don't think that's such a bad thing. If you get a prick that does his job, at best he will upset your existing talented workers and at worst might drive some of them away. I look for suitable personality, ability and desire to problem solve and be creative, and third pre existing skill-sets (among a few other things) when I interview.

Even though I wrote it, this totally puts me in the mind of the Stan character from office space:
"Look, we want you to express yourself, ok? If you think the bare minimum is enough, then ok. But some people choose to wear more [flair] and we encourage that, ok? You do want to express yourself, don't you?"
Best movie ever, btw.

Re:Agree (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399359)

What the frack is wrong with you??? Are you looking for a mate, or for professional who gets the job done!!! Man, let me remind you, all of the employee are in the office not because they love you, but because they want your money. As simple as that. Of course, if you get excited seeing nice looking guys having fun time together, instead of doing their job, then fine, it is your money. Go ahead.

Artifact of Specialized Skills (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40398927)

Many technical workers are very specialized. Just because someone is "highly skilled", it does not mean they are necessarily a match for any given arbitrary technical job.

I am a good match for my current job. If I quit, they would have a very hard time finding a suitable replacement. I might also have a hard time finding work with a very specialized and technical skill set.

Re:Artifact of Specialized Skills (5, Interesting)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399111)

After 15 years of software development, i have yet to see a job that i could not do..

Re:Artifact of Specialized Skills (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399313)

So, you know every language imaginable and every type of execution environment?

I wouldn't hire someone who's done 15 years of business applications for Windows and Java apps for phones to do - say, Linux device drivers, embedded Linux system configuration, and fast, low-level mission-critical telecom code.

I'd rather hire a bright college grad and indoctrinate them myself.

Re:Artifact of Specialized Skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399433)

I'd rather hire a bright college grad and pay him a lot less than the guy with 15 years experience.

FTFY

Re:Artifact of Specialized Skills (3, Informative)

Bucc5062 (856482) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399471)

After 30 years of software development I too have yet to see a job I could not do...that attitude and shiny tech toys will still not get your or I in the door of most employers today if we can't also say we worked simultaneously in Java, .net, HTML5, and can recite the whole w3 specification protocol.

Sadly critical thinking, reason, and adaptability are lower requirements then being a code monkey that spews code that "gets he job done".

In Canada, if you're on EI... (5, Interesting)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40398939)

... and you turn down *ANY* legitimate job offer that offers at least 80% of your previous job wages, then your benefits can be terminated, immediately. There's currently a bill in the pipe in Canada to reduce that percentage to, I think, 60%. Somebody feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about the exact percentage.

Re:In Canada, if you're on EI... (4, Interesting)

schitso (2541028) | more than 2 years ago | (#40398963)

Does it take into account how far you would have to drive, living arrangements, and other potential factors that would make someone turn down a good job offer?

Re:In Canada, if you're on EI... (1)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399267)

Does it take into account how far you would have to drive, living arrangements, and other potential factors that would make someone turn down a good job offer?

I suspect that is probably covered by the word "legitimate" and the phrase "can be terminated" (as distinct from "will be terminated). Most people working in an unemployment office are not there for the money but because they legitimately want to help people.

Re:In Canada, if you're on EI... (1)

redbeardcanada (1052028) | more than 2 years ago | (#40398995)

I think you are correct on the percentage, and there is also a proposal to widen the area of the job offers (within 1hr commute). Currently you can turn down any good job that requires relocation or a change in commuting time.

I think a lot of good employer/employee fits are turned down due to a requirement to move...

Re:In Canada, if you're on EI... (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399031)

Of course. If you apply for a job expecting to live in one city, and they say "Actually, this position is based out of this other city" and you'll have to move to another state or province entirely, then the application wasn't clear and of course people will turn it down. That happened to a friend of mine - she applied for a job in California, but then was relocated by the company to Georgia.

Re:In Canada, if you're on EI... (1)

gagol (583737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40398999)

You are correct, and the job could be a far away as 100km from your home...

Re:In Canada, if you're on EI... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399019)

That's not a good policy. Look what happens after a few rounds:

1st job 100% pay
2nd job 80% pay
3rd job 64% pay
4th job 51% pay
5th job 41% pay

So, let's say you get a new job with lowball offers of 80% of your previous salary every two years.
That would take a $50k job down to $20.5k in ten years - below minimum wage of some areas.

Re:In Canada, if you're on EI... (5, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399077)

That's not a bug, it's a feature.

Welcome to neoconservativism.

Re:In Canada, if you're on EI... (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399431)

That's not a good policy. Look what happens after a few rounds:

1st job 100% pay
2nd job 80% pay
3rd job 64% pay
4th job 51% pay
5th job 41% pay

If you are getting crappy job after crappy job compared to the job that you originally got fired from, then perhaps you shouldn't have been hired on to the job you originally got fired from in the first place. Or there are just no jobs for you in the area and you need to move.

Re:In Canada, if you're on EI... (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399151)

You are wrong of course. The best way to turn down legitimately an undesired job offer is to ask for $100/h,

Re:In Canada, if you're on EI... (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399281)

... and you turn down *ANY* legitimate job offer that offers at least 80% of your previous job wages, then your benefits can be terminated, immediately. There's currently a bill in the pipe in Canada to reduce that percentage to, I think, 60%. Somebody feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about the exact percentage.

Assuming the person reports that they turned the particular job offer, right? Or is there some mechanism in place to solve that problem, too?

Re:In Canada, if you're on EI... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399335)

American companies are not offering 80%, they are offering in many cases 40%.

Imagine you were making a hefty $55,000.00 a year as a specalist, and now the only jobs you can find are $28.500.00

Re:In Canada, if you're on EI... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399451)

Wow! Penalized for choosing your employer.

Though I'm still considering moving to Canada, I'm not liking too many of the news items coming from there these days. Maybe New Zealand would be better... Or Iceland.

there was once a comic (5, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40398959)

There was once a comic of two people walking down the street in opposite directions, one person thinking to himself, "why can't I find anyone to hire?" and the other one thinking to himself, "why can't I find a job?"

A lot of it is companies not knowing how to find good workers, and workers not knowing how to draw attention of companies. If either one of these situations were fixed, then the problem would be solved.

Incidentally, one of the most crucial skills for programming managers in Silicon Valley right now is knowing how to find good workers for your team.

Re:there was once a comic (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399319)

I'd put some blame on the ease of applications too. It used to take a good twenty minutes or so to write a job application. Now, it's one click to send a form-email. Potential employees end up applying for jobs they haven't a hope at getting 'just in case' and employers have to spend time sorting through a mountain of chaff in the hunt for an application worth interviewing.

Re:there was once a comic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399437)

There was once a comic of two people walking down the street in opposite directions, one person thinking to himself, "why can't I find anyone to hire?" and the other one thinking to himself, "why can't I find a job?" A lot of it is companies not knowing how to find good workers, and workers not knowing how to draw attention of companies. If either one of these situations were fixed, then the problem would be solved. Incidentally, one of the most crucial skills for programming managers in Silicon Valley right now is knowing how to find good workers for your team.

I work for a fortune 100 company who is currently trying to hire an assistant DBA for ms sql server. We've been offering a salary of 100k/yr plus benefits, and the closest we've come to a qualified applicant is a guy who knows Oracle and Linux. Not one applicant that claims to know anything about SQL server in six weeks. I'm a little surprised, since I thought that was a pretty fair wage given the job description...

flexible work schedule (4, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40398971)

There are lots of people having kids these days, i've read its like the 50s baby boom. both parents work but need to pick the kids up from school/day care.

if you really want to lure people other than onsite child care have a flexible work schedule allowing people to work from home. there is very little that i cannot do from home and a lot of times i'm more productive at home than in the office.

Re:flexible work schedule (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399133)

Amen. When I worked from home, I actually worked more hours and got a lot more done than any job I've been in the office. Coworker distractions account for most of it. Not to mention I find myself doing more so I can "prove" i'm working from home thus resulting in more output.

welcome to economics 101 (5, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | more than 2 years ago | (#40398989)

There is supply and demand to empolyment. If the companies want people with specific skills they need to provide the money. The companies real complaint is that they can't find the people they want at the money they are willing to pay.

To the companies I say welcome to basic economics. If you want something specific you may have to pay a lot. In this case the companies are consumers of the labour market. And as we know it sucks to be a consumer.

Re:welcome to economics 101 (1)

Drethon (1445051) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399253)

That goes the other way too. If there is insufficient supply, the workers need to accept that an always increasing paycheck may not always happen.

Re:welcome to economics 101 (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399421)

You mean insufficient demand, no? Insufficient supply drives things up not down.

Companies are bad at hiring (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399049)

Companies often hire the wrong people for the job, pay poorly, treat their employees badly and then wonder why they can't find good workers. I've worked at a number of places where companies seemed to go out of their way to ignore good candidates and hired whoever was cheapest or was related to the boss or was obviously just kissing ass.

The places which took the time to actually get to know the people they were hiring, paid them well and treated the employees with respect tended to have lower turnover rates, happier customers and were able to train their people any additional skills they needed. Of course that takes time and effort and might impact the short-term bottom line, so who wants that?

You get what ya pay for (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399055)

Of course companies are going to complain about lack of skilled workers when they treat their workers like dirt and offer terrible salaries. If you want the top brass you need to offer salaries and work environments that attract the top brass, simple as that.

The "paradox" of networking... (5, Insightful)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399057)

It is actually pretty simple:
1.Networking. This simple word defines 99% of all recruitment decisions. If you don't know someone, then you cannot get the job. As a result, if the company provides good benefits, the chance that you, the lonely wold would pass the initial test and interview are very close to zero, minus zero actually (no pun intended).
2.As a result of the before mentioned networking, most of the bad developers are having the perfect resume, the perfect references, and the perfect self-confidence. And of course, as Darvin already proved, no skills are required, so they don't have them.
3.The consequence of 1. and 2. is that once they are hired, and prove their lack of skills, the HR team would panic, and would try to use some funny ways of finding the best candidate, which will end up hiring the worst candidate of course (the one with networking), and so the cycle is repeated....
..
It is not coincidence that the Great China Empire fall, not because of some external treat, but because of the corruption, ops, sorry, i mean "networking".

Some truth (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399093)

I think a lot of it comes down to what was mentioned in the article. Everyone wants 5-10 yrs experience with a super varied background relevant to their job.

However, nobody wants to do training or give an opportunity. I've worked for multiple companies and no manager ever really gives you any path to grow beyond what you're doing. Even if you do get to "lead" a project, which they think is great training, you get no ability to actually do anything. All the responsibility and none of the authority.

Re:Some truth (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399357)

An earlier post explained this: Companies are very reluctant to provide training now, because employment is more temporary. People will work with an employer for a couple of years, not spend a good part of their lives working their way up. So why would any company want to pay to train it's employees, when doing so just means a competitor will steal them away by offering more money?

Blame Ain't the Real Game (1)

resistant (221968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399137)

Many small companies with tight cash-flow situations and overworked owners simply do not have the resources to train new workers for the specifics of a job, and the human-resources departments of a fair number of bigger companies probably fear being blamed for new hires who take a long time to become genuinely productive. That's not to say some employers aren't being unreasonably picky, but as with most human affairs, closely examining the matter will inevitably reveal it to be more complex than the pictures drawn by simplistic answers. Frankly, I'd look at burdensome, complex regulations and a risky legal environment as major contributors to stubborn unemployment.

Re:Blame Ain't the Real Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399235)

Yeah, I too would try to shift the blame so as to not actually have to accept reality.

Specificly, Human Resources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399147)

Whenever I interview with HR, it's a waste of time. HR has no clue about hiring technical people. There was one interview I had that was just classic--the tech guy put me in front of a computer and asked me to roll some HTML, said I could search for things (this was before Google became popular and people were still putting HTML in text files). Then I had to interview with an HR person, and she asked me all those stupid "where do you see yourself in 5 years" bullshit questions, "why do you want this job?". Duh! because I can do it, it pays well, and it looks like a good place to work. Stupid bitch. I'm sorry, pardon my French and sexism; but it's true. That's HR. Stupid bitches gatekeeping out competent people.

It's the network! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399171)

Saw a joke in a non-US paper, of a manager who's spouse is the vendor, who's parent is a vendor to the vendor. It went on to say, when you do not have to deliver why bother hiring the right people?

All just a big H1B visa scam (3, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399211)

This whole "We can't find the skilled workers we need thing" is just a big H1B visa scam (here in the U.S. anyway):

1) Post ads for jobs with impossible qualifications (i.e. 20 years of Java development experience) or so specialized that only a specific H1B candidate can meet them.
2) Turn away every applicant as unqualified
3) Cry to Congress and the Labor Dept. that you can't find enough qualified workers to fill positions, ask for more visas
4) Get more H1B visas
5) Pay foreign nationals a pittance.
6) Profit!

Sounds like a GOP campaign trail (5, Informative)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399243)

When your a corporate CEO billionaire and need to lay off [seekingalpha.com] people in order to buy your own friggin hawaiian island [sfgate.com] and then come back and bitch and whine that you can't find "talented people" something is fishy.

Capitalism is broke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399271)

We live in a world where a doctor who saves lives and studied for 10 years will hardly make more than 3-400K a year (only the "superstars", of course), a physicist with a 160 IQ no more than 100K, and a firefighter who risks his own life makes no more than 50K. Instead, if you're a retard and make the trashy hollywood buffoon you'll get 10 millions per movie. A great incentive for graduating in a top university, right?

And many idiots think that it's fair because it's "free trade", "supply and demand" and all the other bull*hits that the average american has been filled the brain with.

Corporations need skilled workers? Well, maybe also skilled workers need skilled corporations. "The land of the free and of the brave"... yeah, with some fat on the belly.

Consulting Model (3, Informative)

Punko (784684) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399283)

Here, we've had a shortage of finding folks with the right education and some experience. We've had terrible experience hiring intermediate or senior folks into the company as it surprising how in our business (engineering consulting) how corporate environment can determine how well folks fit in. Our solution to all our hiring, has been to focus on finding youth with appropriate technical skills, hiring those who additionally had strong communication skills, and providing them continued skill development in both technical and communication while giving them the business skills they weren't given at school. The hiring and interviews are done by the project managers who need the staff themselves. Its long term thinking, not short term. Being employee-owned (and broad based ownership at that) we can afford to take the long term view. We have generally very low staff turnover (less than 5%) in any year, including retirements. Almost half our staff have at least 15 years with us. For us, it seems to be the logical way forward.

fucK!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399287)

HR (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399317)

Much of it has to do with HR only looking at how long you did precisely x,y, and z as being the most important way to determine a candidates worth.

I gave up IT for these reasons. I had excellent reviews when I contracted out and beat expectations from all but one client who asked me to do something not IT related that I sucked at. Regardless when the economy tanks I substitute taught to pay the bills. HR considers this guy as having no real IT value and should go back to his strength teaching etc.

Meanwhile incompetent people who got in when the economy was good are gold as they have done precisely x,y, and did it for z time. They are gold

I am going back to school to get a teaching credential even though I hate the job. No one will hire me as I have a few contracts and I am not currently employed in IT.

I live in the USA with it's cost structure (2)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399343)

I'm not mobile either. If the pay doesn't match up with the prices I have to pay for my extravagant lifestyle (i.e. small mortgage, car, food, clothing and insurance), there's no point in taking the job. What most employers don't get is that what used to pass for a middle class lifestyle of owning a home, a car, paying the bills, having children, taking a two week vacation and eating out once a week or so on now requires a 6 figure salary for at least one family wage earner, or at least it does in most urban areas. You might squeak by on less in a more rural area, but not by much. A car costs the same in Peoria as it does in New York. Food, insurance and medical costs too. Real estate is the big difference, but that's represents only a portion of your salary.

Enter globalization. Now I have to compete with engineers making $10 an hour in the Philippines. Their end product may be crap, but bean counters are famous for ignoring productivity, quality, risk, or anything they can't see as a number on a spreadsheet. So, as the company slowly sinks by saving money, my salary is suppressed. My costs.... not so much. So yes, employers have only themselves to blame.

My recent experience... (1)

gagol (583737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399375)

I was recently laid off for a job I was overqualified for. Three different reasons was given top me by three different persons there. What I think was the problem was that my immediate boss was anxious over me being more qualified than she is for her position... that was a real eye opener for me and even if my termination was somewhat illegal, I had no intention to contest it as I did not want to set a foot there one more day! That is one of the reasons qualified persons have trouble finding and keeping jobs.

Offtopic, when I go to interviews I intrerview my potential employers as much as they interview me. The 3 months approval period is also both ways. If the work environment is not sane, I will quit after 3 months. Last one simply was much more hypocritical than I believed.

Re:My recent experience... (1)

gagol (583737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399429)

Replying to myself! I also think the situation I described above is the main reason why family owned businesses have more trouble being run efficiently compared to publicly owned... (favouritism over family members instead of rewarding competence)

I can verify this is happening... (5, Insightful)

Random Q. Hacker (137687) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399403)

I work at a Fortune 5 company, where we outsourced to Oracle, and Oracle in turn applied for H1B workers because they "could not find suitable US applicants". Most of the Indian contractors that showed up had no expertise in installing the software, and were completely lost when they could not find something in the manual.

This is not about experience, this is about screwing hard working and capable Americans out of jobs so that Larry Ellison and creeps like him can buy private islands and retire. It's about putting shareholders above employees and morals. It's about damaging the country that made your success possible in the first place.

Actually read the article/interview... (3, Interesting)

sdoca (1225022) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399409)

And I found it quite interesting. The main point I took away from it was that the "skills gap" is a perception of employers because they are no longer willing to do in-house training to get the specific skills they need/want. For example, they won't hire new graduates because they don't have at least a few years experience in those specific skills. We've all heard the new graduate catch-22 - can't get hired until you have experience, can't get experience until your hired.

I guess I've been lucky in my career in that the three companies I've worked for since graduating were all willing/able to hire new graduates and have the senior employees mentor them. Even in my new job (just over two years), there's a lot of industry specific knowledge that really can't be learned anywhere but on-the-job. So, we regularly have learning sessions (formal and informal) about what we need to get the job done.

Mindlessness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40399419)

I see way too much mindlessness on here.
First, companies really don't care about your wages as much as people think... most companies would love to pay all their employees a ton but the fact is their products need to be priced to compete.
Second, to hire a person for X dollars a year costs an employer around 3X dollars. (If you don't believe me, start a company.) It gets higher and higher the larger the company is. This only increases as governments put in more and more required "benefits" to employ someone. This has the effect of crushing entry level jobs as employers seek to maximize the return on an increasingly costly investment. Before you get your paycheck, the company has spend at least as much just having you employed. You have health insurance, office space, utilities, unemployment insurance, payroll taxes, administration costs, retirement accounts, etc.

If it was as simple as just paying more, we could have a minimum wage of $100,000/year. Then everyone would be set right? No more poor! Even the most naive socialist understands such nonsense.

You can't aim to be an employee and expect the wages of an owner or entrepreneur. When you accept that lifestyle you have to accept your wages are set by the market.

Economics (1)

br00tus (528477) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399423)

Nowadays, and especially back when there was the USSR, and the pre-Deng People's Republic of China, we are told that our economy is capitalist because it follows the natural law of economics. The economic school which is taught came into being in the late 19th century. We're taught value comes from marginalism. That there is supply and demand and the price point is where these things meet. If demand increases, then it leads to higher equilibrium price and higher quantity. What they're saying goes against this, which is more or less one of the core ideas for the rationalization of running the economy as it is run. For those with deep enough pockets, there can't be unmet demand according to the economic principles we supposedly live under. If there really was demand, salaries would rise. Prices would reflect the demand. Claims that there are a shortage fly in the face of every economic theory that justifies the capitalist economic system we live under.

In a tangentially related note - another thing that flies in the face of our hegemonic economic theories are the RIAA/MPAA story. In the economic theories which justify us living under capitalism, prices are based on marginal utility, and the marginal utility of each equivalent commodity decreases as the supply of units increases. However, with an MP3 or MPG, it effectively costs nothing to replicate each commodity. Thus *under this theory*, everything the music and movie studios sell is virtually worthless, and should be sold for maybe a penny, if that. The arguments they make, of how the singer is creating the wealth and needs to get paid, are echoes of the old labor theory of value which was discarded by mainstream economists around the turn of the 20th century. It is the idea that labor creates wealth, the first cited exponent of was Benjamin Franklin, and then all the early classical economists (Adam Smith, Ricardo, Say, Malthus, Mill) adopted. Ricardo delved into this idea especially. In the middle of the 19th century, Karl Marx delved into the idea that labor creates all commodity wealth (although not natural wealth) even more, to such an extent it is more-or-less nowadays considered a Marxist idea. After Capital was published, the right formulated the modern economic ideas justifying the current economic setup. The problem is, these ideas don't justify commodities that can be replicated for little to no cost. So the RIAA/MPAA have really been making Marxist arguments for why "the artist should get paid", as the foundational ideas of capitalist economies don't justify Hollywood's prices.

I call BS (2)

assertation (1255714) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399445)

workers themselves, who all too often turn down good jobs at good wages.

I saw the article the original poster referred to in his/her blurb.

The phrase the they used went something like
"shortage of skilled workers willing to take those jobs at the pay offered".

Translation: not necessarily a shortage of skilled workers, but skilled workers willing to work for the lower pay companies wanted them to accept.

 

Not hiring the unemployed (2)

Sara Chan (138144) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399447)

a lot of employers won’t accept applications from people who are currently unemployed

That was the most startling part of the article, for me. Why are employers so strong in that? How should employers be persuaded to change?

REAL TALK (2)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399449)

Time for some real talk.

Employers pay people shit.
Employers treat people like shit.
Employers pay themselves / their CXOs way too much.
Employees have to deal with increased costs of living - housing, health care, food, gas, debts from student loans, cars, etc.
Employees want, need, and deserve more money, or at least coverage for health care, gas, daycare costs, part of housing, etc.

Thus employees hate their employers, and do just enough to not get fired.

Employers don't want to pay for these things so they hire schlubs who don't care because they're young and stupid, and looking for their first job offer straight out of college.
Employers end up hiring useless people.
Employers end up requiring more of applicants. Minimum of a bachelor's degree and 10 years experience with this or that for an entry level position.
People who normally wouldn't (and shouldn't) go to college end up wasting 4 years and a lot of money at one.
Colleges are concerned about their reputation (because it affects their income stream when some jackhole publishes a popularity contest ranking the X "best" colleges).
Colleges then actively work to ensure that enrollment stays high and graduation rates stay very high.

Colleges let a lot of dumb people in, and give a lot of dumb people degrees, charging them out the ass for it.
Graduates are either unskilled and desperate, or skilled and know their worth.
Employers can't tell the difference, and don't realize that their job postings, with low pay and high requirements, attract the unskilled and desperate (who will either lie about their years of experience or just hope that they don't find anyone who actually qualifies so they'll have to settle).
Employers hire shitty employees and the cycle repeats forever.

The solution has to come from both ends:

Employees: Pay your employees well and pay attention to who you're hiring. This might be hard when you're current employees are incompetent and don't even know what you need. Expect high turnover at the beginning of this change,

Academia: Not everyone is fit for college. It's not some ticket to success. In most cases it's a ticket to a life of debt. Stop selling the bullshit dream of college for everyone and focus on the kids who actually care and would benefit. Again, your current crop of fluffers are incompetent, and you'll have to deal with that at the beginning of this change.

People will work for _less_ money actually (4, Insightful)

exabrial (818005) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399455)

The two biggest factors are work/life balance, environment, and the inability for the company to provide challenging work to it's workforce. Believe it or not, people will work for _much less_ money if you create an engaging place to work.

On work/life balance, companies should be offering 4 weeks vacation after 30 days of employment. They should offer a two month sabbatical every 3 years. I don't believe it "working from home" but time off and vacation _should not be audited_ unless a problem occurs with a particular individual. Scary though, huh? We're all adults, treat people like them rather than high school students.

On environment, they should allow drinking in the workplace (oh gasp!). They need to tear up timesheets (no one takes them seriously anyway). They need to _fight_ actively to retain key talent. Furthermore, they need to cut the crud out of their management chain by routinely firing incompetent managers (which creates a morale boost). The need to hire fresh talent for the older jockeys to train.

Finally on the work itself, they need to allow their engineers to drive the majority of the decision making process. First, if an engineers comes and says, "hey if we cut this out of our software stack, it'll make our stuff faster." Rather than say, "No, that's a key investment we chose two years ago" say, "Oh yeah? well prove it. Take one of your teammates and come back to me in two weeks with a POC." This will do two things, first, it will get them to shut up. Second, it may turn into something awesome; win-win situation. The biggest mistake is companies with management overhead blocking engineers from creating value. Engineers are loose cannons. You don't reign them in, instead you let them create lots of raw product, then you pick the best ideas and refine them. Failure to leverage a company's key assets (their engineers) will result in your business paralysis. As soon as engineering decisions become political, you'll see an exodus of your key talent and you won't be able to hire anyone, in essence, you have created your own starvation.

Work's New Age (1)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | more than 2 years ago | (#40399465)

For an excellent, very detailed and well-documented read on the current job market, I highly recommend Work's New Age [royalflushpress.com] , by Jim Huntington. He keeps up a decent blog [blogspot.com] , too.
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