U.S. Employers Struggle To Match Workers With Open Jobs

By on September 6, 2017

From NPR:  In the United States, there’s a record number of jobs open: around 6 million. That’s just about one job opening for every officially unemployed person in the country.

Matching the unemployed with the right job is difficult, but there are some things employers could do to improve the odds.

Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist for the job site Glassdoor, says U.S. employers often complain that workers don’t have the skills needed for the jobs available. That is true for some upper-level health care and technology jobs. “But for the most part, it doesn’t look to be like there is a skills gap,” Chamberlain says. “That’s not the main reason why there are many job openings.”

Chamberlain says that with unemployment so low and the U.S. labor force growing slowly, there’s no doubt it is harder for companies to find workers. But he says if that were the main problem, you would see wages rising more rapidly in the economy — and that’s not the case in many industries.

Part of the hiring problem, Chamberlain says, lies in company hiring policies.

Peter Cappelli, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, agrees. He says one problem is that companies are posting openings with required qualifications that aren’t really necessary for the job.

“They’re just asking for the moon, and not expecting to pay very much for it,” Cappelli says. “And as a result they [can’t] find those people. Now that [doesn’t] mean there was nobody to do the job; it just [means] that there was nobody at the price they were willing to pay.”

Jason Lorenz has seen that in his work at Human Technology Inc., a corporate recruiter that provides workers for firms in the Carolinas, many of which are parts manufacturers for Ford, GM and BMW. Lorenz says the companies come to him with a long checklist of qualifications, and he challenges them to get realistic.

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