Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Workers but no jobs v. jobs but no workers

A week ago, Morning Edition on NPR did a 5 minute segment on companies not being able to find enough skilled workers. This was just after the unemployment report showed the economy added a lot fewer jobs than expected and certainly a lot fewer than what would help the economy recover. Renee Montagne talked to David Wessel of the Wall Street Journal. Wessel gives these reasons why companies might not be able to find the workers they need:

* With so many applicants to choose from, companies may try to hold out for the perfect employee.

* Companies aren't willing to pay enough (so workers turn the company down? Hmm.)

* Companies are no longer interested in training an almost perfect worker because once trained the new employee will look for a better job. (But gov't training programs and education in general are being cut.)

* The software used to screen applications (and when there are hundreds (sometimes thousands), such software keeps the HR department from being swamped) is too picky, rejecting all applicants.

All this makes me think of another reason. In my last decade working for the auto industry I followed the debate on H-1B visas, in which the visa was owned by the company, not the foreign employee. The company could pay slave wages because they knew the employee was captive.

So the current story might be just to get the idea "can't find the right workers" out into the national conversation so the companies can soon go to Congress and say, "We can't find employees. Please give us more of those special visas."

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