The skills gap is a myth
September 9, 2014 6:25 PM   Subscribe

The "skills gap" is a myth. So why does it persist? "...by blaming workers for their own plight, the skills myth shifts attention away from the spectacle of soaring profits and bonuses even as employment and wages stagnate. Of course, that may be another reason corporate executives like the myth so much. So we need to kill this zombie, if we can, and stop making excuses for an economy that punishes workers."

WaPo: What employers really want? Workers they don't have to train.

...The real issue is that employers’ expectations — for the skills of new graduates, for what they must invest in training, and for how much they need to pay their employees — have grown increasingly out of step with reality.

...When employers are specifically asked about recent graduates, their complaints have nothing to do with academic skills. They often express the same concerns older generations have always had about young people — they are not conscientious enough, they don’t listen, they expect too much. Although you’d never know it from the news, the actual evidence on student achievement shows that U.S. students have actually been doing better over the past generation. Drop-out rates are down significantly, and scores on the standardized National Assessment of Education Progress tests show improvement in both math and English scores.


Inc.: Is there really a skills gap?

Yes, there are issues finding people for specific jobs in specific industries; for the labor force as a whole, however, the skills-gap “crisis” is no such thing. And to the extent that your business is having problems, to a large degree, the solutions are in your hands. Specifically: Start training programs, pay competitive wages, and work with governments and community colleges.


Also: Why you need a bachelor's degree to be a secretary today

As more and more students are pursuing degrees they believe will make them employable (business majors outnumber liberal arts majors by as much as 7 to 1, according to the WaPo article). more and more employers are saying applicants lack high-level reading and writing skills.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers surveyed more than 200 employers about their top 10 priorities in new hires. Overwhelmingly, they wanted candidates who are team players, problem solvers and who can plan, organize and prioritize their work. Technical and computer-related know-how placed much further down the list...

...While roughly two thirds of business leaders and recruiters say that “hard” technical skills and “soft” skills are equally important, a majority say they’d prefer to hire a recent graduate with industry-specific skills than a liberal arts graduate who needs to be trained first. (Cite)

Boston Globe: The case for a liberal education

HBR: A better way to bridge the skills gap
posted by triggerfinger (70 comments total) 80 users marked this as a favorite
 
The myth persists because the myth-making class owns the press.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 6:37 PM on September 9, 2014 [65 favorites]


If the skills gap were a real thing, the companies would train employees. Their cries of "there are not enough trained people" is a political cry, intended to keep down wages. As others have pointed out, there are plenty of trained people if you pay market wages.

Also, I've always loved the "soft skills are so important!" cry employers, "we will never hire generally intelligent people lacking very particular skills!" cry employers farce. If they gave an actual shit about soft skills, they would fucking hire for them.

If there's high unemployment and people trained in "soft skills" are not hired in favor of any nitwit with "hard skills," then the employers' claims are empirically horseshit.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 6:43 PM on September 9, 2014 [41 favorites]



If the skills gap were a real thing, the companies would train employees.


Now that companies have decided to tell their hiring departments to prefer presently employed applicants over unemployed, and have stepped up their poaching practices, the incentive for a company to invest in training its present employees is thoroughly diminished. Professional development is something you do on your own time, on your own dime (on the other hand, it's something your boss can't complain about if you're training for stuff that's not pertinent to your workplace).
posted by ocschwar at 6:58 PM on September 9, 2014 [5 favorites]


My inner cynic often wants to make this just about malice -- businesses don't want to train when they could externalize the cost.

Lately, though, I've been wondering if this might not be because of missing competence... that maybe very few people have a good idea of how to educate/train employees.

We regularly have one-off "knowledge transfer" meetings for projects where I work, and while I know my colleagues who present there make good-faith efforts to give reasonable overviews, it's pretty much hopeless. These are web application projects with many moving parts, dependencies on version control, content management, third-party data services, build tools, multiple libraries/APIs, and usually at least 3 different languages. One-off or even quarterly knowledge transfer meetings aren't training, they're a fig leaf.
posted by weston at 7:00 PM on September 9, 2014 [21 favorites]


I think weston is onto something. We spend a lot of threads on metafilter talking about ways in which the education system fail to educate, and those are entire institutions supposedly dedicated to teaching people stuff. Why do we think private industry could just train people if they wanted to?
posted by chrchr at 7:06 PM on September 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


I dunno, I think the assertion that the claim in question is "overblown" is probably true, though it's hard to know how valuable it is to refute such a vague argument; it's likely that employers are disinclined (and who or what forces will make them?) to invest in employees, and that they want to argue that they don't get enough qualified applicants because they aren't getting the workers they want at the wages they're willing to offer.

On the other hand, in a larger sense, I think it would be extremely beneficial if the government could offer current job-seekers and young people not yet in the work force free or very cheap vocational/skills-based training (as well as, ideally, free higher education but I'm getting way ahead of myself there, obviously) as part of a bigger full employment strategy. That sort of program shouldn't be discouraged or retrenched simply because employers make overblown claims.
posted by clockzero at 7:09 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


There is a host of reasons why "employees .. are more willing to jump ship". And employers overall treatment of employees has surely played more of a role than "hiring from the outside rather than growing their own talent from within".
posted by jeffburdges at 7:10 PM on September 9, 2014 [7 favorites]


Why do we think private industry could just train people if they wanted to?

Well, they want people coming in with the necessary knowledge and skills.

ANd they leave their HR managers with the responsibility to identify those applicants.

The argument for on the job training is that it's more likely to work than asking HR to identify who's well versed with things HR can't even spell right half the time. (That part is of course not HR's fault. Can't blame them if they don't know that LaTeX should be capitalized likke that. But expecting them to find good LaTeX typesetters fails the giggle test. )
posted by ocschwar at 7:10 PM on September 9, 2014 [9 favorites]


I generally agree with the slant of the posting but..

As to why employers do not want to train employees, the problem is basically two things.

First, training necessarily involves evaluation. Testing of employees is at best considered hazardous. Are you ADA compliant? Could the tests in any way be construed as discriminatory? etc. etc. etc. This is the domain of large companies only because only they can afford the layers of professional staff to make it hopeless to raise a case.

Second, what do you do if you find an employee untrainable post training? Putting aside the sunk costs, you probably need to terminate the employee. This is even more hazardous for the same reasons, especially if the employee is in a protected class.

It is unrealistic to expect businesses to do these given the climate. I don't think the climate should change - I like that it's hard to fire and that a potential discrimination charge is a dangling knife. But the preferences for already-trained employees and _actively employed candidates_ are some of the natural outcomes.
posted by rr at 7:12 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, what's to stop the person you trained from jumping ship and working elsewhere? It used to be that employees had some sort of loyalty to their employer but over the last few decades that has totally eroded.
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:22 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Hard to fire?"

... Um, I'm in an at-will state, so if the boss wants someone gone by lunch, they're gone by lunch. I've seen it happen three times in the last couple of years in my workplace alone, which is only circa 30 people. How is that "hard to fire"? It's easier than quitting Comcast!
posted by aramaic at 7:24 PM on September 9, 2014 [49 favorites]


It used to be that employees had some sort of loyalty to their employer but over the last few decades that has totally eroded.

Yes, because employer loyalty to their employees has been extinct for a few decades now.
posted by caryatid at 7:24 PM on September 9, 2014 [70 favorites]


Obscure Reference: It used to be that employees had some sort of loyalty to their employer but over the last few decades that has totally eroded.

Huh, I wonder why that could be.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:25 PM on September 9, 2014 [39 favorites]


Like, it's a complete mystery.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:29 PM on September 9, 2014 [34 favorites]


Also, what's to stop the person you trained from jumping ship and working elsewhere? It used to be that employees had some sort of loyalty to their employer but over the last few decades that has totally eroded

"It's the company's problem" is the advice being given _at this moment_ over in Ask.
posted by rr at 7:31 PM on September 9, 2014


Yeah, per chrchr and weston, as someone who did some corporate training I seriously doubt that the private sector would have any consistent success with it in general.

At one place I was running a class the bright college-age kid asking all the perceptive questions was like, "OMG - it's like you're a trainer, but you're also an engineer too!" afterwards. This was at a tech sector company, on a large software deployment project, and he didn't perceive the other people teaching him as having engineering expertise? The private sector training operations I've come in contact with usually seem to be trying to pay it lip service and get away with the absolute minimum resources expended, when it's even anything more than self-teaching that's expected to occur on the employee's own time.
posted by XMLicious at 7:36 PM on September 9, 2014


gotta disagree...my corporate experience is that training is mostly handled via tution/seminar-fee reimbursement. the eval bit is on the training org. then, even if somebody got the cert/degree, a screw up can be cause for dismissal.

But that's an aside. The deep truth here is that the skills-gap is bullshit. Create demand for skill via high wages and skills will appear at the door. It's like the whole H1B fiasco...the problem is that there are not enough American STEM workers to do that shit for a pittance, and management just won't spend the dough (because Tesla/Condo/G5/whatev, natch).
posted by j_curiouser at 7:37 PM on September 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


I made a similar comment on a different post a couple years ago, but it's unfortunately still true: The definition of "entry-level" seems to have changed to "entry-level for OUR COMPANY, but must have 3-5 years experience doing exactly the same job, with all the same responsibilities, using all the same technologies at another company."

And not only are employers requiring a bachelor's degree, but many of them will only look at people with degrees in specific majors. I can see the point when a company is specifically looking to hire new graduates, but this is for positions beyond the entry-level. I was told by a recruiter once that a company refused to even consider me for a position because I didn't major in business or marketing in college. Never mind the fact that this was several years post-college, and all my work experience was directly applicable to the position in question. Nope, a decision I made when I was 18 years old was much more important.

(And I'm not even going to mention employers who require applicants to have a certain GPA in order to be considered for non-entry-level positions! Yes, I have seen that lately...)
posted by SisterHavana at 7:40 PM on September 9, 2014 [10 favorites]


I work in a discipline and industry where the current, common assumption is that a new graduate - with an M.S. or Ph.D - will require 3-5 years of training before they are able to work on their own. This is a figure that I've watched rise from 1-2 years when I was a new graduate. And there's common, bitter complaining that new graduates are not ready.

....which has a lot to do with a generation gap, actually. There's a significant age gap in my industry - most of the employees are between 50-65 years old, and those that are there have survived significant lay-offs and have gone through enormous technological changes and advances. There's been a lot of panic about this age gap, actually. And most of the educators for my discipline are in the same age group and ended up in education due to those persistent lay-offs. I would argue that there's a significant disconnect there, because the current average graduate is graduating with more skills than most of the industry did. Yet they are "not prepared enough", they're "not ready," they need "more training." There's no acknowledgement what they mean by "ready" is the over 20 years of experience that the older generation has, or that it's their generation teaching these graduates. Or that you can't compare the state of the industry and what you needed to know when they graduated to the complexities of today - it's almost an entirely new discipline, so saying "well, they just threw me in the deep end" doesn't even compare. It's almost as if they don't want to acknowledge there's a new generation capable of taking over.

(At my most cynical, I wonder if part of that is political. With almost an entire generation missing to act as a bridge, the attitudes of most of the younger generation are *shocking* to a lot of these people, who are overwhelming white, male, and conservative.)

While that's just a very specific industry/discipline, perhaps there are similar, if perhaps not as entrenched, attitudes in other industries.
posted by barchan at 7:41 PM on September 9, 2014 [5 favorites]


Gee, who could have known. It turns out we aren't experiencing the worst recession in the last eight decades. It seems, according to conventional wisdom, that in 2009 15 million productive workers suddenly were struck by dementia and became unskilled and that explains why people aren't getting hired.
posted by JackFlash at 7:44 PM on September 9, 2014 [25 favorites]


what's to stop the person you trained from jumping ship and working elsewhere?

My general thought is to be the sort of company that people won't want to leave.

I've seen a similar sentiment expressed as:
Person 1: "What if we train up out employees and they leave?"
Person 2: "What if we don't train them and they stay?"
posted by markr at 7:51 PM on September 9, 2014 [52 favorites]


My inner cynic often wants to make this just about malice -- businesses don't want to train when they could externalize the cost.

Lately, though, I've been wondering if this might not be because of missing competence... that maybe very few people have a good idea of how to educate/train employees.


To a certain degree, I also suspect this. And I think at this point, so many people have heard about the myth of the skills gap that they've kind of bought into it, without even really knowing what it even means (like, how is "skills" even defined)? So they come across resumes that don't include the exact job tasks that the particular job they're trying to fill has and suddenly they're facing a bullshit "skills gap" because the candidate can't come in and be totally proficient on Company Specialized Software Program on day one. I've seen this when I've been job searching (I have a really good resume and have lost out on jobs for which I'd been a finalist for, I suspect, some of these reasons) as well as seeing my own manager at my last job do it himself to candidates.

This guy tries to make the case that there really is a skills gap and while I don't think his argument is super compelling, he does touch on what I think weston was talking about upthread:

Why are skills sometimes hard to measure and to manage? Because new technologies frequently require specific new skills that schools don’t teach and that labor markets don’t supply. Since information technologies have radically changed much work over the last couple of decades, employers have had persistent difficulty finding workers who can make the most of these new technologies.

Consider, for example, graphic designers. Until recently, almost all graphic designers designed for print. Then came the Internet and demand grew for web designers. Then came smartphones and demand grew for mobile designers. Designers had to keep up with new technologies and new standards that are still changing rapidly. A few years ago they needed to know Flash; now they need to know HTML5 instead. New specialties emerged such as user-interaction specialists and information architects. At the same time, business models in publishing have changed rapidly.

Graphic arts schools have had difficulty keeping up. Much of what they teach becomes obsolete quickly and most are still oriented to print design in any case.


Those are definitely not my field so I'm not sure of the merits of what he's saying but I wonder how much of this "skills gap" problem has to do with the rapid changes of the info tech age. I also wonder if there have been similar periods in history in industries of rapid growth and if so, how this issue was managed then.

I acknowledge there may be difficulties (from the company's POV) in identifying candidates that have the skills/personality/whatever to make them worth the investment of time and money for extensive on-the-job training (if a company were to do it). But I also think companies could do WAY better in smarter hiring - internal hires, apprenticeships, etc. for a start. And that's even before we get to the idea that it is generally known what makes employees happy and there are lots of examples of companies that can generally retain good employees. A strong and public commitment to investing in your employees w/r/t training, benefits, wages would be a start.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:57 PM on September 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


It doesn't matter how much education people get if the jobs aren't there.
posted by wuwei at 7:57 PM on September 9, 2014 [10 favorites]


I'm always amused to see company executives on TV and in newpapers debasing themselves by complaining that they just can't find good people. There's plenty of good people but they just happen to be working for your competitors because they think your company sucks and you've just publicly admitted as much.
posted by JackFlash at 8:02 PM on September 9, 2014 [15 favorites]


I work for a pretty good company. I have a non-STEM degree (English), and I'm currently a programmer. We pay good wages, and yet still have a hard time hiring; we only hired about a half dozen people between last year and this year despite a consistent push, and lost a couple of people to big names as well. (Apple, primarily. You bastards!) While it's true that many companies don't invest enough in their employees, it's also true that trying to train someone from scratch for many of today's jobs would be next to impossible. I would expect four or five years of training just to get someone from "raw non-STEM graduate" to "borderline competent programmer" or "sort-of database administrator." While large companies might be able to afford that, it'd sink a small or medium-sized business to make that investment; inevitably, you'd have a relatively poor hit rate, you'd be paying salary to people who couldn't contribute, and you'd be paying people to train instead of produce.

On the plus side, this means that if you're self-motivated and learn on your own, there are opportunities for you; but it's damn hard to make the jump between the service side of our company and the product side.
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:11 PM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


barchan: I work in a discipline and industry where the current, common assumption is that a new graduate - with an M.S. or Ph.D - will require 3-5 years of training before they are able to work on their own. This is a figure that I've watched rise from 1-2 years when I was a new graduate. And there's common, bitter complaining that new graduates are not ready.

You can't count the time spent at the assistant/associate level (i.e. able to work but not independently or without supervision) as 'training'. Those people are certainly produce more in output than they require in leadership, and they do a necessary job. Even scientists don't have a workplace structure composed only of completely independent workers; you have post-docs and lab techs and graduate students and other such positions.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:19 PM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


While I completely agree with much of what's been said (and those graphs tonycpsu posted fill me with rage) I also acknowledge that "reading and writing well" ends up having fuck-all to do with any higher education of any kind. EVER.

I guess I should stop being shocked that the majority of my colleagues, young and old alike, are totally inept at even the most basic communicative tasks.
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:20 PM on September 9, 2014 [6 favorites]


In the financial industry people come in completely unskilled and basically act as chair warmers and "go-fers" for the first few years. The banks hire fresh grads straight from school and expect them to be basically useless while they are paid a good salary + bonus and trained. Basically anybody could be trained to do most finance jobs. The other day I was getting breakfast in a deli and thinking the guys taking orders and cooking them up rapid-fire with zero mistakes would make excellent trading clerks.

The problem is that since basically anybody can do the job, they have to arbitrarily narrow the pool, which results in them hiring the same cookie-cutter Ivy League athlete types. And the way you become a cookie-cutter Ivy League athlete type is basically by being born into it. The class system in the US may not be as obvious or structured as in the UK, but it definitely exists.
posted by pravit at 8:26 PM on September 9, 2014 [42 favorites]


As others have said, it is an inability to train meeting an inability to learn. Jobs traditionally considered train-able are disappearing and so more people are having to do things that nobody knows how to teach reliably.
posted by michaelh at 8:37 PM on September 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


business majors outnumber liberal arts majors by as much as 7 to 1, according to the WaPo article

Unless things have changed radically since 2012, that doesn't make sense. In 2011-2012, if you look at NCES data, 295,221 people graduated with humanities BAs and 366,815 with business BAs. The percentage split between them (and indeed in all the majors categories they use) have been fairly consistent since the 1980s.

Why do we think private industry could just train people if they wanted to?

Because the military can train a random grab-bag of 18 year olds with more testosterone than brains to perform any number of complicated, technical, and demanding tasks. It ain't rocket science; it just costs time and money.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:54 PM on September 9, 2014 [40 favorites]


In the 90s-00s, there really was a skill gap in technology. In response to this, various certifications emerged that allowed people to gain specific job training and prove their skills. You could, for instance, become a CCNA if you wanted to prove you knew things about networks. I think if we were experiencing the same conditions today, we would be seeing a resurgence of these training programs.

I haven't seen any evidence of this, unfortunately.
posted by a dangerous ruin at 8:54 PM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


My [20 yrs] experience in the IT sector supports what Weston said above. More recently i've come to realize that the skills gap complaints coming from those in sr. positions has a lot to do with those people no longer understanding the business they were hired to manage, either because (a) the environment has changed so drastically due to the challenge of upheaval of the past few years, or (b) they themselves were not trained / mentored after they'd been pulled in to the fold as a result of whatever glad-handing skills they'd had. So now it's people who don't understand their business trying to manage people who probably do understand the business but who are too busy doing 3 different jobs (including, sometimes, the managers) such that there really isn't any time to attend any training, let alone digest and apply meaningfully what skills might be learned.
posted by armoir from antproof case at 9:05 PM on September 9, 2014 [7 favorites]


I work in a fairly small industry and having lived in the same city for a while, I see the same jobs at the same companies popping up over and over again. I'm sure their execs are lamenting both the "skills gap" and the "lack of loyalty" that has them seeking a new person every 3-6 months.

What they seldom mention is they are paying 10-30% less than is standard for those jobs and/or their work environment is toxic and/or they basically bring people in and work them 10-12 hour days forever until they burn out and quit and/or they're obsessed with "culture" which usually means they want to somehow hire 25 year old white men with 10 years of experience in their field because "hey guys we have free snacks and a foosball table whoaaaahoahaoaa" is cheaper than a 401k plan or decent benefits.

The specific and/ors depend on the company, of course, but to me, the common thread in all these bad candidates is your company.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:08 PM on September 9, 2014 [35 favorites]


Basically anybody could be trained to do most finance jobs.

But Stephen Pinker assures me that higher paying jobs are more intellectually demanding!
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 9:14 PM on September 9, 2014 [6 favorites]


if you're self-motivated and learn on your own, there are opportunities for you

I have a math/CS university education and entry-level software development experience and a database administration certificate. Yet I have been stuck in minimum-wage work for years.

I was feeling depressed one day and learned Ruby on CodeAcademy. I contemplated learning Ruby on Rails to add to my skillset, before falling over in hysterical laughter. No one actually hires people for the ability to learn, even though it's listed as a requirement in most of the job ads. Concrete professional accomplishments on your resume gets interviews; the ability to sell yourself in person gets offers. The ability to learn helps you once you have a job; it doesn't help much in the job search process.
posted by fatehunter at 9:16 PM on September 9, 2014 [18 favorites]


I lost my job.
Actually, I didn't lose it. It lost me.
I'm overeducated, underskilled. . . .
Maybe it's the other way around. I forget.
And I'm obsolete.
I'm not economically viable.

posted by charlie don't surf at 9:22 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'd agree with michaelh in that, if we know how to train a person, then we're rapidly learning how to train a machine, and we already outsources as much of that as possible. We could shorten the work week to alleviate all the economic problems linked to automation and outsourcing low skill jobs like driving and manufacturing, which incidentally leaves plenty of time for retraining.

I also agree with armoir from antproof case that in technical jobs the management has lost touch with the underlying work. Ideally, we've new startups coming along to displace the inefficient poorly managed tech behemoths, maybe the real gap lies in venture capital.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:42 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


I wonder why so many people are discussing this "skills gap" as if it were a real thing. There is no shortage of skilled people. If there were a shortage of skilled people you would see a rapid rise in wages as companies bid for the few available skilled workers, something like the late 90s. There are no rapidly rising wages and therefore can be no shortage of skilled workers. This "skills gap" idea violates basic economics, not to speak of simple common sense.

This is just a dishonest propaganda campaign by people, company executives mainly, who like things as they are right now, with workers begging for low paying jobs. They are publicly lobbying the Federal Reserve to put their foot on the neck of labor and nip in the bud any chance for an economy that gives workers a bit of leverage in the labor market. It is an excuse for high unemployment and an excuse for doing nothing about it. In econospeak, they are saying its a structural, not a cyclical recession, despite all evidence to the contrary.
posted by JackFlash at 9:56 PM on September 9, 2014 [30 favorites]


"She says she can’t even get the time to talk with students about manufacturing careers, because, well, every kid is above average, as Garrison Keillor would say, and supposed to go to college. “There just aren’t people out there with the skills we need, or the interest in acquiring them,” says the president of Zierick Manufacturing Corporation. She’s begun an informal apprenticeship, contacted a local community college, and is working with temp agencies. Even so, she’s short three tool and die makers."

One thought I've had is that the 'middle skills' jobs are difficult to fill because when you look at what it takes to become a qualified CNC machinist, it's not too many more steps up the ladder to a mechanical engineering degree.

From that perspective, we've simply become better at, as a society, giving people the amount of education they desire (I'm sure there's another thread in the blue where we can argue about who should be footing the bill for it.), to slot them into the highest paying occupations they can achieve. I'm still reading the PDFs linked to by the articles, but at the very least the KC Fed paper says "workers ages 16 to 24 have shifted toward low-skill jobs as a growing segment of this population have delayed entry into the labor market while remaining in school."
posted by pwnguin at 9:58 PM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


I've worked as a graphic designer and know lots of graphic designers and people trying to break into real staffed graphic design jobs. The vast VAST majority of new grads in major markets have digital skills. Literally nobody at all -- except maybe as an interesting exercise -- is teaching print/analog design anymore. I mean, don't get me wrong, you can learn to design for print, sure. But the skills will be digital in nature. And I'd be shocked if even the shittiest excuse for a design program wasn't teaching web/software design. At this point, most design schools will be offering courses in ebook design, graphic design for apps, and the like, as well.

Even in terms of older workers who've been in-house forever, there's a strong tradition of professional development and keeping up with new tools and skillsets.

I mean, maybe there's a skill gap at some small-town sign printing company or something, but if we're talking about major cities hiring college grads, nope. Graphic design is a particularly poor example of a field experiencing a skill gap. Which makes me wonder if any field is truly experiencing it.

The only example I can think of is something like social media management, where I routinely see firms wanting 5+ years of experience with platforms that aren't even that old. But in that case, the problem isn't a dearth of qualified applicants, it's that the company is asking the impossible.
posted by Sara C. at 10:11 PM on September 9, 2014 [7 favorites]


it's that the company is asking the impossible

I.e., a dearth of qualified companies.
posted by maxwelton at 10:27 PM on September 9, 2014 [4 favorites]


Sara C.: "Literally nobody at all -- except maybe as an interesting exercise -- is teaching print/analog design anymore."

I know of at least one community college that teaches print design. I used to work as a computer lab assistant for them, fixing up their in house printers and crap. It helps that the world headquarters for Hallmark is just down the road.

The school I work for now had an exhibition last year where students put together artwork for boardgames, so they're not just learning web / photoshop. And it's REALLY hard to recruit student designers that know print locally.

Ah. On reflection, I guess you're trying to say that tech is the hot new thing and newly minted graduates from design programs are on top of it. I'll buy that, as long as you're not asking them for interactive d3 visualizations. But it kinda sucks that I have to point out our graphic designer hires fundamental stuff like the fact that what looks good on the screen at 100 PPI is going to look fuzzy on paper at 300 DPI. But really, what would be ideal is if graphic designers stopped using photoshop for every goddamned thing. Its like sales people and powerpoint over there. Go learn a vector program, the interwebs will thank you later.
posted by pwnguin at 10:52 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


pwnguin: “One thought I've had is that the 'middle skills' jobs are difficult to fill because when you look at what it takes to become a qualified CNC machinist, it's not too many more steps up the ladder to a mechanical engineering degree.”
I think it's simpler than that. I've often fantasized about hanging up the keyboard and learning to be a machinist. I just checked my local technical college. They don't even offer a machinist program anymore.

They do have an entirely-useless-for-actually-getting-an-actual-game-development-job, five semester, 66 credit hour game development degree program. I mean, they claim 100% job placement for that program, but if I had spent going on eight grand and two years of my life getting a computer programming associates with a concentration in game development, I'd be out for blood when they job the school helped me get was at Best Buy.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:59 PM on September 9, 2014 [5 favorites]


pravit: In the financial industry people come in completely unskilled and basically act as chair warmers and "go-fers" for the first few years. The banks hire fresh grads straight from school and expect them to be basically useless while they are paid a good salary + bonus and trained.

You know, the more I think of this, the more I refuse to believe it. Banks aren't stupid enough to pay to keep useless people around for years in the hopes they'll eventually be useful (and then stick around!) If they were doing nothing but educating people, they'd get contracts requiring them to stick around for a while after being trained. And people don't learn how to do jobs by getting coffee and taking up space. If they weren't actually working, they wouldn't be learning. They're sure as hell not attending classes there for years.

What I'm guessing is actually the case here is that the elite members of the organization are completely devaluing the work of their support and assistance crew. I'm not really surprised by this, because it seems like in the US we don't value technical skill and if you don't make decisions you aren't important.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:04 PM on September 9, 2014 [5 favorites]


if I had spent going on eight grand and two years of my life getting a computer programming associates with a concentration in game development, I'd be out for blood when they job the school helped me get was at Best Buy.

... or a tester. Here in Vancouver, game testing is an out for people who have IT training but can't get their feet in the door. A former coworker of mine with a network admin degree (supposedly one of the least valuable in terms of employment prospects) got out of minimum-wage hell that way. To a job that pays $12 an hour - a 14% raise!

Too bad I am not a gamer.
posted by fatehunter at 11:18 PM on September 9, 2014


fatehunter: “[G]ame testing is an out for people who have IT training but can't get their feet in the door.”
Well sure, but that's not where the people who graduated from that school with that diploma got jobs. The school admits right in their "gainful employment" audit that the jobs those people got were at Best Buy.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:47 PM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


Pravit: In the financial industry people come in completely unskilled and basically act as chair warmers and "go-fers" for the first few years. The banks hire fresh grads straight from school and expect them to be basically useless while they are paid a good salary + bonus and trained.
//

Mitrovarr: You know, the more I think of this, the more I refuse to believe it. Banks aren't stupid enough to pay to keep useless people around for years in the hopes they'll eventually be useful

I think this depends on where you believe the "productivity" happens.

The "unskilled" staff do a lot of "work" - data analysis, generating reports, evaluating metrics. They can work almost the entire income generation stream from start to finish if they're told what to do, but then, so could anyone else - hence the definition of "unskilled".

The management and senior management layer is involved in direction, strategy, tactics. Without their direction the company is like an army of soldiers without leadership: it ends in a slaughter on the battlefield. While they don't do "work" as such (firing bullets) they do play an important role (choosing where the bullets are fired).

Footsoldiers are easily replaceable, good leaders are not. It feels like, because of the difficulty in finding good leadership talent and the complete replaceability of low level workers, the entire recruitment process revolves around finding future leaders.

You just need warm bodies to fill the lower skilled jobs / footsoldier roles, so no one cares about them: all effort and thus importance is placed on training / getting good leadership talent.

This applies mainly in some areas of Finance which I consider a non technical type job. Of course the equation changes when you talk about actual technical roles where the worker performs some kind of job that actually needs many years of training and knowledge to do.

Some hiring statistics from when I talked to a hiring manager I met: for an MNC graduate role, if they're looking for leadership, a typical hiring ratio would be hiring 10 in 1000 degree holders who applied for the role. Of the 10, only 8 are deemed suitable to full time staff after several years. Give another few years, and maybe 6 out of 8 are deemed suitable to move to senior analyst roles: and maybe 3/6 remaining are suitable to begin management track.

This is over and above natural attrition due to people leaving for other jobs: this is purely attrition due to staff not being "good enough".

But it's all subjective anyway, and every MNC has their own standards of what is "good enough". Maybe it's not desirable behaviour, but it looks rational enough to me...
posted by xdvesper at 11:51 PM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


what's to stop the person you trained from jumping ship and working elsewhere?

My general thought is to be the sort of company that people won't want to leave.


One specific factor that I've noticed in some engineering/technical fields is that the salary jump that an engineer can get when starting his/her second job is quite large. Many employers seem to be loath to address this issue directly and preemptively, (either by offering to revise wages to correlate better with acquired experience, or by some other means), and therefore they invest less in on-the-job training for fresh college grads. It may seem like a sucker's game to train a new-grad only to see him/her leave in a few years for better pay & benefits that you cannot or will not match.
posted by all the versus at 12:00 AM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


my company can't find maintenance people because they're paying something like 5 bucks an hour less than the going rate - but the business still runs

basically, they've decided to fake their way through it and accept 2nd rate performance
posted by pyramid termite at 2:31 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think it's simpler than that. I've often fantasized about hanging up the keyboard and learning to be a machinist. I just checked my local technical college. They don't even offer a machinist program anymore.

I would love to do something like that, too. Problem is, while courses at local colleges do exist here, they're really expensive, and require an apprenticeship component. All well and good, until you remember that the law is set up such that companies get a government subsidy for apprentices under 25. So if you're 25 or over, there's no way you'd get hired as an apprentice. You're probably going to struggle if you're 18 or over, frankly, as what companies really want is those lovely cheap 16/17 year olds.

I mean, I'm sure all this is great if you're a young person wanting to go into a technical vocation and become a machinist or mechanic or what have you, but if you want to maybe finish school and perhaps even get a university education or something before you figure out what you want to do with your life? Ha, good luck. You've missed the boat on being able to get your life off the ground, and thus also on being able to really do anything with it.

Not that I'm bitter.
posted by Dysk at 4:26 AM on September 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


One thought I've had is that the 'middle skills' jobs are difficult to fill because when you look at what it takes to become a qualified CNC machinist, it's not too many more steps up the ladder to a mechanical engineering degree.

around here I see ads in the paper for CNC machinists, $15/hr as temps.
The point is that influential people move in circles in which repeating the skills-gap story — or, better yet, writing about skill gaps in media outlets like Politico — is a badge of seriousness, an assertion of tribal identity.
Krugman's an economist, he asks an economic question and answers it with some pop-sociology about "tribal identity"? He will never bite the hand that feeds him, he gets fed too well.
posted by ennui.bz at 4:35 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think it's simpler than that. I've often fantasized about hanging up the keyboard and learning to be a machinist. I just checked my local technical college. They don't even offer a machinist program anymore.

Also, do you know how many machinists are sweeping floors in New England? Stick with software, maybe you can retire before Wall Street liquidates the industry.
posted by ennui.bz at 4:37 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Mitrovarr: What I'm guessing is actually the case here is that the elite members of the organization are completely devaluing the work of their support and assistance crew.

I work in the industry as pravit does and can tell you from the old timers that this is true. Years ago for brokerage back office employees, wages were fairly high, jobs plentiful, bonuses & stock handed out like toothpicks. In recent years, management looks at support staff and declares that they're not revenue-producers, so they're lucky to have a job at all! No matter how well the front office does, a small amount trickles down to the back office that settles your trades and pays your dividends.

Same as it is in most of the US economy: if you're not one of the swinging dick moneymakers, good luck!
posted by dr_dank at 4:39 AM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


I've often fantasized about hanging up the keyboard and learning to be a machinist. I just checked my local technical college. They don't even offer a machinist program anymore.

That's probably because the combinations of particular machines and the various control systems and software makes it unfeasible for a school to teach to any degree of proficiency.

To illustrate...A few years ago, I noticed an ad in my local job listings. It was for a machine shop, and they were looking for someone with at least five years experience on X-machine using Z-software. It was very, very specific.

Now, this isn't a large city. It's basically a small rust-belt city in a very rural area. The chances of finding someone with that exact combination of skills, with five years experience, was probably really remote. Yet, the ad made no mention of "willing to train". The ad stayed open for a year. One day, it disappeared. I have no idea if it ever was filled.

Back in the day, businesses trained employees. It was SOP. A business had a certain way of doing things, using particular tools and methods. Training people was the logical thing to do. It was a necessary cost of doing business.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:02 AM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm a graphic designer making the same money I did 10 years ago.

I get calls from recruiters pretty regularly. They're always for contract positions.

The primary reason I stay at this job is health insurance. My son needs to be covered. My wife's job covers her, but doesn't cover spouses or children unless we were to buy into it, which would cost probably around $1,200 per month or more. My insurance is mediocre coverage, but at least it only costs about $600 per month. So I can't afford to take contract positions. The increase in hourly pay would come right back out of my pocket to pay for health insurance.

About a year ago, A recruiter contacted me about a company looking for a senior designer who had direct mail experience. I have direct mail experience. I have 18 years of experience in graphic design. I've done just about everything. I'm up to date using the latest Adobe CC.

The headhunter called me back and said they declined my interview. They wanted someone who had direct mail experience in banking.

It's difficult to put into words how I feel about this, but AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH! probably sums it up best.

So, to ramble back around to being on-topic: I am considering trying to learn some UI/UX design because I've been seeing jobs looking for those skills. I'll have to teach myself, of course. No company is going to train me to do it, obviously.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:07 AM on September 10, 2014 [8 favorites]


But Stephen Pinker assures me that higher paying jobs are more intellectually demanding!

Stephen Pinker is an ass. I have personally worked minimum wage jobs that were more intellectually demanding than my non-minimum wage jobs.

No one has actually done a study on how wages work. Personally, I see a hell of a lot of history: historically male, upper class jobs are very highly paid, historically female and/or lower class jobs are lower paid. When unions were strong, they improved pay for lower-class male jobs, but not so much for female jobs. And when professions become feminized (aka have more women in them), pay tends to go down.
posted by jb at 5:10 AM on September 10, 2014 [14 favorites]


what's to stop the person you trained from jumping ship and working elsewhere?

It's my experience that many companies basically solve both the free-rider problem and the we-don't-know-how-to-do-training problem via tuition reimbursement.

Basically: you as an employee can go out and pursue a degree in a quasi-relevant field or a technical certification, and get reimbursed for it. But the reimbursement is done via what amounts to a loan, and you become responsible for it if you don't stay with the company for some span of time afterwards.

Aside from feeding the beast that is modern higher ed, and leading to a proliferation of degrees that involve "executive" this and "professional" that, it's not a terrible deal in many cases. The employee gets training that has actual transferrable value in the marketplace, vs. internal training that might not really amount to much on a resumé later on, and the company gets to use it as a retention tool, often keeping someone around who is just at the point (mid-20s) when they'd jump ship from a company that hired them directly from undergrad.

On a national level, as a sort of policy matter, it sucks; but on an individual level you can make it work for you in some cases.


While it would be nice if companies had significant, meaningful internal training curricula, perhaps coupled to industrywide certification schemes to give them some sort of objective value, there's not a lot of incentive for them to do stuff like that because the labor market is slack.

That's the hulking elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about, and is the entirety of the "generation gap" nonsense. The reason employees were different, back in the Good Old Days™, say anytime in the US prior to the mid-1970s, was because the labor market was tight. Companies valued employees because employees were valuable, and employees — perhaps irrationally — returned that loyalty.

Today, despite lip service here and there about "our most valuable asset", companies know that most of their personnel are replaceable. Maybe not trivially, and there are exceptions (small software companies often can't afford to replace key developers, and they're treated well as a consequence), but in most industries there is an absolute correlation between ease of replacement and the general shittiness of your job.

As the labor market in general has become more and more slack, average occupational shittiness increases. This is basically an iron law of the capitalist universe.

There is no solution which doesn't involve fixing the slack labor market, which is exactly what employers — especially large employers — don't want. And so they'll come up with any number of convenient explanations (or pay sociologists to do it for them) that avoid drawing attention to the fact that the labor market dictates everything else.
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:14 AM on September 10, 2014 [9 favorites]


I know of at least one community college that teaches print design.

That's design for print, not analog paste-up based design like people used to do in ye olden times before Adobe Creative Suite.
posted by Sara C. at 6:30 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's the hulking elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about, and is the entirety of the "generation gap" nonsense. The reason employees were different, back in the Good Old Days™, say anytime in the US prior to the mid-1970s, was because the labor market was tight. Companies valued employees because employees were valuable, and employees — perhaps irrationally — returned that loyalty.

More women in the workforce, by choice or necessity. Also immigrants.

I don't see that changing any time soon.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:51 AM on September 10, 2014


yea, so why aren't businesses investing and hiring? i'd say corporations (by and large) don't know what to do, hence the cash piling up on balance sheets -- in a _working_ capitalist economy margins would be competed away -- and the 'skills gap' could be seen as a comforting illusion/convenient fiction management tell themselves, when it's more of a reflection of no one knowing quite how to proceed into the breach/brave new world (or i guess that's the charitable interpretation instead of employee scapegoating to distract from management incompetence ;)

anyway, in the face of software/amazon eating the world to keep the economy ticking along you need to have customers to sell your product to and so from a macroeconomic perspective the 'the hulking elephant in the room' is aggregate demand management, which happens to be something that central banks are talking a lot about all over the world (stepping in where governments are oftentimes failing, in a dereliction of duty, to even have this conversation!)

so in the 'normal' past central banks could always lower interest rates to boost demand thru a number of 'channels' -- lowering the price of credit to encourage spending, boosting asset prices to create a 'wealth effect', etc. (usually with bubble-bust 'knock on' effects that lend _themselves_ to financial crises/recessions) -- but in the present situation short-term interest rates are already effectively zero (with longer term rates a little higher so that banks won't implode); well then, now what? that's what central banks have been trying to figure out for the last five years (and the bank of japan for longer...)

so aside from permanently levitating asset prices thru 'quantitative easing', treating the symptom rather than the disease (akin to the federal reserve bailing out the financial 'industry' by buying up mortgages while leaving vast swathes of homeowners underwater), and twiddling with negative nominal interest rates to get banks lending again, which would be interesting if a society operated with digital cash that we don't of course _currently_ have, the solution that central banks are rapidly feeling their way towards is 'wage targeting'. in other words, the bank of japan, the bank of england and the federal reserve are all concentrating on wage growth as a key metric to evaluate the success of monetary policy; sort of combining more traditional gauges like inflation and (un)employment.

unfortunately, without an act of congress/parliament at least, central banks cannot _directly_ influence wage growth (however you want to measure it; real, nominal, median, aggregate) and so they're stuck with 'unconventional' monetary policy that amounts to stuffing more money under the mattresses of people/institutions who already have more than enough. this is known as pushing on a string, or a liquidity trap, or what have you.

this is the world we live in now and will be in, i'm guessing, up until a country figures out the institutional arrangement that _productively_ unlocks aggregate demand (otherwise it's just back to bubble and bust). this is what 'abenomics' is about or what mario draghi is struggling with/against at the ECB by calling for a "growth-friendly overall fiscal stance for the euro area," or the modi/rajan show in india that could lead to bank accounts for everyone and some massive conditional cash transfer program, or in the case of china a massive 'pre-bailout' of gov't stimulus programs while restructuring on the fly...

again, no one has figured this out, but then no one knew the institutional arrangements that would develop after the neolithic revolution (tribalism to feudalism) and then during the industrial revolution (an ancien régime to nation-states, or i guess some would say, neo-feudalism). the closest i've seen to articulating a workable political-economy vision of the future is jeremy rifkin, but it depends on an energy revolution to match the information revolution, or else we're fucked :P

in that regard, there is a 'horse and buggy' skills gap aspect to underemployment, but i don't think it's at the individual level per se, nor even the corporate level. if there's any guiding light tho, i'd say look to places where people are actually happy with their gov't and where there's a high degree of trust in their institutions. it almost seems wacky there are places like that that exist, but they do in varying degrees, that are not just temporary autonomous zones, sheltered enclaves or utopic paradises, but actually work at social cohesion and inclusiveness while maintaining personal freedom and discourse. or just like think of the opposite of n.korea or the islamic state!
posted by kliuless at 8:54 AM on September 10, 2014 [11 favorites]


What employers really want? Workers they don't have to train.

This. This, this this.

I've work with a LOT of interns over the years - kids not even finished college - and to see them grow over 16 months is nothing short of phenomenal. Some of our star employees were ok-ish interns who made a lot of mistakes, but they worked hard and took a sense of ownership. They learn how to interact in a corporate environment (i.e. this ain't high school, kids), they learn confidence, communication, how to report data etc. I can't imagine how kids without this experience, especially in this day and age, could find a job without some general 'training' experience. Also, they're interns, so we expect them to make a lot of mistakes and coach them on 'how it's done.'

Now myself as a professional with 10+ years experience, I haaaaate how job descriptions are looking for such a narrow band of skills. If you did job A at Corporate LLC, they want you to do job A at Widgets Inc. Heaven forbid they're hiring for job A.5. It drives me nuts. You can miss out on such stellar people if you only hire people who have done exactly what you want them to do.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:02 AM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


corporations (by and large) don't know what to do

I remain routinely surprised at how many companies are run by people who despise being in business, but who cannot step back or hand control to anyone else because that would mean "admitting defeat".
posted by aramaic at 9:16 AM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


this is the world we live in now and will be in, i'm guessing, up until a country figures out the institutional arrangement that _productively_ unlocks aggregate demand ... no one has figured this out

To the contrary, lots of people have figured it out. The solution is quite simple. Give people money. They will spend it and create demand and demand will create jobs. People who pretend it is complicated don't really want a cure. They like things as they are now -- good for the rich and keeping everyone else poor.
posted by JackFlash at 9:17 AM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


corporations (by and large) don't know what to do

They know exactly what to do, they just don't want to do it. Because it would cut into their bottom line and adversely affect managerial/executive pay and shareholder dividends/stock price.

In other words, greed and short-term thinking trump all.
posted by CosmicRayCharles at 9:22 AM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


so there's a privileged rentier corporatist state/pluto-oligarchy or whatever that wants to perpetuate itself into eternity (or be the start of a joke ;) by any means necessary; they have all the 'money'* which for our purposes means ownership-control of wealth/capital (scroll down to CSR's piketty review, but stop by for tilly's why? if you can!) that the 99% need access to: the means of (re)production. to gain access you either have to a) prostrate yourself to your 'betters' in some manner, b) seize control of the reins yourself somehow or c) build something better for yourself and others, if i can frame it thusly.

i'm not saying a & b testing aren't valid options -- greed and short-term thinking after all -- i'd just much prefer c, and while a metropolis-like kumbaya moment of 'hirn und händen' reconciliation and harmony would be nice (oh hey german works councils seem like a good idea) it's the underlying inequity/injustice and threat of violence, war and revolution -- of wealth destruction and capital loss -- that have brought things to a head in the first place.

people are upset, or as economists like to say in a 'bad equilibrium' (good for some). what i wonder about is how do you get to a good one (for most) and what's preventing it? if it is vested interests, how do you overcome that and, in the process, what does the transition look like that doesn't make things worse (on some aggregate level of 'social utility')? is it as 'simple' as campaign finance reform, the devolution of corporate personhood or a basic income/job guarantee? can we just use 'big data' to organize everything? that's what i don't think anyone has really figured out satisfactorily yet, but there are several 'national experiments' going on right now that i think might provide some clues, even if it's the nation-state that needs (d)evolving.

---
*'giving people money' in this regard amounts to giving people ownership and voting control of a stake in society (an ownership society!) but what does this mean? 'if you can't fix it, you don't own it' is a rule (you'll always be beholden to someone who can) then that would mean elevating everyone with "a lot of skills and cognitive tools" :P
posted by kliuless at 10:50 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Early in my career I was working for an IT consulting company. Our local recruiter mentioned she had a job opening that she was struggling badly to fill. I asked about the requirements, and she said, "The person needs 5 to 10 years of experience with Java."

In 1997. (First public release was in 1995.)

I made the obvious comment.

Recruiter says, "Yeah, but they need 5 to 10 years." Because 5 to 10 years was a proxy for a certain level of overall work experience, logic be damned. She was a smart person working in a messed-up system.

Automation (of resume handling and job posting) and de-skilling in HR/Recruiting has contributed to the phantom skills gap. Badly formed requirements lead to unfillable openings.
posted by sockshaveholes at 11:48 AM on September 10, 2014 [17 favorites]


While employers complain that employees might get trained and then lured away by higher salaries, the problem is that this consequence is built in to their salary structure. What I have noticed is that employers generally prefer to stagnate their employees' wages until they are below market, taking the bet that the odds that they will leave, forcing the employer to have to find a higher paid replacement, are lower than the odds they will stay, allowing them to have an employee at relatively low cost. They wouldn't have to worry about their trained employees being hired away if their salaries kept pace with what those employees could get from another employer, but their employment model doesn't work like that and obligates the employee to leave in search of better wages. So thus the employer doesn't want to give the employee any advantages that would make it easier for the employee to leave.

In cases of family-owned manufacturers complaining that they can't get qualified employees, it is invariably because they pay very low wages. Manufacturing work is strenuous and can be subject to lots of ups and downs. For the same money, people are perfectly willing to go into retail and food service, which are more apt to stay in business.
posted by deanc at 11:49 AM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


kliuless, I think the best way to give people money is via a job guarantee. Has the added benefit of providing price stability; I have some significant concerns about a basic income guarantee driving inflation etc.
posted by wuwei at 12:47 PM on September 10, 2014


I recently found out that I nearly didn't get my job because I didn't wear a blazer to my interview. The person who would be my boss didn't care, but her boss's boss had already turned away a qualified applicant because she didn't wear a blazer to the interview.

Luckily for me, he was out of town during my interview.

The people who hire you are often fools with only the most tenuous grasp of what you will actually be doing or your suitability for the job. Assuming you get past HR which is also often stocked by hostile and uninformed people who are eager for a reason not to pass on your resume.

I don't know how to fix any of this. Maybe burn down capitalism.
posted by emjaybee at 1:04 PM on September 10, 2014 [11 favorites]


As a sort of sidenote, whenever I run into crazy job requirements, I parse them out into their individual components. Sometimes they almost make sense this way.

E.g.: "The person needs 5 to 10 years of experience with Java" becomes:
  • Needs 5 to 10 years of experience;
  • Also, Java.
The real problem is letting nontechnical people in HR write up bogus job requirements, particularly relating to things they know nothing about. It's ironically self-defeating, since derpy job postings are likely to nudge clueful applicants away from your company unless they're very desperate.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:19 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


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