I noticed an interesting post on LinkedIn that generated a passionate and heated discussion. It started with a report by The Bureau of Labor Statistic indicating that the ratio of job openings per unemployed American grew in April, bringing it to 13 consecutive months in which available jobs have outstripped the number of people out of work and searching for a job.
News organizations reported this data as hugely positive. Now, I don’t want to be a downer, but there is a fatal flaw with the underlying logic. The reporting on these numbers presume that the people available to work possess the exact same skills as the jobs that are open. It’s nonsensical to believe that there is a one-to-one match of each unemployed person with an exact open job that perfectly fits them.
The reality is not as rosy and perfect as the government and media would like to make it seem. I recognize that we are in a strong economy and employment is at a high level, but it’s not that simple. A large amount of the available jobs are highly specialized that require an expertise in a certain niche. The odds are high that the individuals that companies are looking to hire are already gainfully employed.
There was a lively and passionate debate on the story’s LinkedIn feed about the report. As you can imagine, some fell into their tribal political parties and viewed the results through their own biased lenses. Others contributed thoughtful opinions and divulged personal experiences that conflicted with the report’s glowing narrative.
Here are some of the interesting issues that they raised:
It was pointed out that a large number of the people who are in between jobs lack the skills that modern-day corporations require and are having a very difficult time finding a suitable job. They claim that companies ignore their résumés and applications.