Customer Review

106 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book that Tells the Truth, June 6, 2012
This review is from: Why Good People Can't Get Jobs: The Skills Gap and What Companies Can Do About It (Kindle Edition)
"Why Good People Can't Get Jobs" illustrates a simple truth that is obvious to anyone who looks at help-wanted ads: employers are looking for incredibly specific skills. They don't want someone who CAN do the job; they want someone who has already done the exact job. As the author points out, this creates a catch-22 situation for anyone who has skills, but not the precise ones for a particular job.

The author relates how CEOs constantly blame the educational system, but clearly it is ridiculous to ask schools to prepare students to fit immediately into exact jobs. Some level of on-the-job training has always been required. This is true for even the the highest levels of education. Imagine, for example, if we expected doctors to be able to jump directly into a job from medical school with no additional training.

Yet, today, there is such a surplus of prospective workers that employers have the luxury of waiting for the ideal candidate (meaning someone who already has that job) to show up. The author also points out how technology, such as automated systems that match resumes, is driving this by rejecting anyone who is not a precise fit.

Technology is also having a more general impact. As the author notes, many companies simply decide to wait and leave positions unfilled, letting other workers carry the load. They can do this partly because constantly advancing technology is automating more jobs and tasks and allowing fewer workers to do more.

This is really the elephant in the room that no one talks about. Technology is getting better and better, and things are likely to become even more difficult for prospective workers. Just check the current news during any week, and you're sure to find articles about new software, robotics and artificial intelligence that is having an impact on the job market.

The bottom line is that in a slack labor market, employers have no incentive to invest in training. They can wait for the perfect candidate or rely more on technology. Many people will be left behind and it will NOT be because they are unskilled. It will be because they are unlucky and do not have the exact skills at exactly the right time.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 4, 2013 11:13:07 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 4, 2013 11:13:18 AM PST
Andrew says:
40/40 people have found this helpful as of now. And I'm proud to be one of them. Couldn't have said it better myself.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2013 11:51:07 AM PDT
JD says:
66/66 now, and I'm #66. And have been looking for work for 7 months.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2013 7:47:53 AM PDT
Count me in as one of those who found this review useful. What you said hits the hammer on its head. I'm sure you're familiar with the NY Times article. Disquieting to say the least. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/07/business/economy/despite-job-vacancies-employers-shy-away-from-hiring.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Posted on Feb 10, 2014 10:21:04 AM PST
Steven Mason says:
Steve, you've done a great job explaining how this book describes the problem. I suspect that most people are already aware of the problem. Could you say something about the solutions? Thanks.

Posted on Feb 10, 2014 1:29:57 PM PST
What's more, in addition to your review and your statement "The bottom line is that in a slack labor market, employers have no incentive to invest in trainings" is that this is becoming increasingly a seller market, not really a buyer one. As an observer pointed out recently, companies and corporations competed against each other for their best/ideal candidates back in the 1980s (and beyond). It is not so true today. Automation and mobile technology are "nails" to the coffin it seems.

A very frightening picture.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2014 11:52:21 PM PST
8_mile_road says:
Steven, I do NOT think there is a sliver bullet for the mismatch between job-seekers and employers. As more people can't find jobs, they return to school for advanced degree, which explains why there are more candidates with master degrees than ever before.

Colleges, operated as businesses, are more than happy to take money from students because there is an artificial demand of advanced degrees. Therefore, there will always be more candidates with advanced degrees, which deteriorate the job-competition process.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 2, 2014 1:00:43 PM PST
Steven Mason says:
Yes, I agree there isn't a silver bullet solution to the challenges we're facing. However, we still need solutions. I'm trying to find books that focus on solutions. Any recommendations?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 30, 2014 10:15:54 AM PDT
Sharky says:
It is untenable and you know it. In fact, even using a description such as "silver bullet" in a way negates the importance of this issue. No one wants a silver bullet or easy way out. They want the injustice to stop but are admittedly hamstrung by lack of power- political or otherwise now that the Controllers have globalized us. There are solutions, but they involve a technocratic approach. And if you think the monkeys pulling the puppet strings now are not sold on this author's solutions, just try selling them on technocracy. There are really only two directions we can go at this point. And predictably, we are headed down the most destructive one.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 30, 2014 10:56:26 AM PDT
Steven Mason says:
"It is untenable and you know it."

Why yes, Sharky, I do know it. That's why I said there ISN'T a silver bullet solution. But hey, if there was an "easy way out," why do you say no one would want it?

"There are really only two directions we can go at this point. And predictably, we are headed down the most destructive one."

I don't think we're on the road to anarchy, despotism and civil war, if that's what you mean by "destructive." I'd like to think we're a bit more civilized than that. But maybe I'm wrong. Sharky, are there any books you can recommend that discuss a technocratic approach to our problems? Thanks.
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