Multiple barriers standing in way of finding good jobs

Published 9:36 am Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A lot of conversation lately has centered on finding jobs, finding quality jobs, living wages and why it’s so dog gone hard to find a good job.

Allen, 62, (not his real name), has been unemployed for 14 months and lives in Polk County. He has a degree in mechanical engineering and project manager credentials. He has an excellent work history. Still, he finds himself frustrated by the lack of opportunities.

Stanley, 54, (again, not his real name) has a high school diploma and has taken some community colleges courses in the past, although most of his skills are now outdated.  He has exhausted unemployment benefits from his last job and feels he cannot afford to go back to school.

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Both men have tapped their respective networks of previous co-workers, friends and family. Both men are panicked.

This is a familiar scenario even with assurances that the Great Recession ended June 2009. For many, only in 2009 and 2010 did the economic downturn begin to become entrenched.

Savings, for many who were dipping in to the cookie jar, were starting to dwindle.

So, why is it so hard to find a job even as we hear the economy is improving?

One big reason is technology. Yes, technology- that thing that was going to make our lives easier.  For starters technology has replaced many of the jobs that in years past were done by living, breathing human beings. Robots it appears do not get sick or require vacation time and always gets along great with management. Secondly, and maybe the one that is causing job seekers to drink gin out of the cat bowl, is the move to online applications. Online job applications have probably hurt the job market more than any other single thing.

A CBS MoneyWatch segment looked at the problem of online job searches and how they have worsened the job crisis. The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania recently noted that one company’s online resume-screening process found not one qualified engineering job applicant out of 29,000 resume submissions. Not one.

This scene is created by a multitude of HR resume screening software programs that look for the “perfect” candidate and rejects all others based on keywords.  The result is, sadly, that candidates desperately looking for jobs can’t get them, and employers continue to complain that they can’t find the right talent. In essence, both groups are still facing each other across the virtual divide, trying to figure out how to meet in the middle.