Jobs? What Jobs?


Photo of newspaper want ads page

Is your job here?

So where are all the jobs? In The Washington Post, that’s where.  They’re also in any local newspaper. They all have a Help Wanted section. And The Washington Post periodically runs it’s “Mega-Jobs” section.

And, if you want to go all cyber in your job search, larger companies list their available jobs online.  And, depending on the company, they have positions not just in the Washington, DC, area but nationwide as well.

So, I think that’s were all the jobs are.

But given the sheer number of unfilled jobs, why is unemployment in the neighborhood of 9%.  (Yes, there’s a chance it may higher; but that’s another post.)

There’s much talk of “job creation” these days.  I think there’s plenty of jobs.  What seems to be lagging is job TAKING.  So the question for me is: What is preventing people from  taking the jobs that have already been created?

Is it lack of skill? Is retraining the workforce what is called for? I fear that I today’s fiscal and political environment, that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. And that’s a shame for the country…and for the unemployed.

Is it inertia? Is it easier to “live on the dole” than it is to pursue a job? I really don’t think people like  to be unemployed and collect unemployment.  Maybe for a short time while they seek employment; but what they really want is to work.

So what, exactly, is leading to the seemingly endless supply of “Help Wanted” ads? I don’t have answers, but I have some rhetorical questions.

  • Are the position descriptions over-inflated, meaning that most applicants (if they apply at all) will be deemed woefully inadequate and not hired? And so the ads continue to be listed in print and online. Are hiring officers out of touch with reality; or are they merely trying to “get the best” talent? There’s a middle ground, however, between high standards and employing someone who can do the job.
  • Are we behind the curve in training high school and college graduates to take the kinds of positions offered in today’s world? If not, why not? How did we come to this place? How can we change the trajectory?
  • Do we have faculty capable of training students to meet the needs of today’s workplace? If not, why not? And what are we willing to do about it?
  • Are there a lot of positions offered that don’t pay a living wage? And here I’m thinking of the unskilled or entry-level jobs.  Is it time to raise the minimum wage? Is there the political will to do that? (Or to even discuss it?)

Yes, lots of questions; and no doubt, you can come up with more. It’s so puzzling when I look at the Post’s Help Wanted section and wonder “What if all the jobs were filled? What  would that do to our economy? To the quality of civic life?”

I have lots of questions, but no answers. If you want to weigh in, I welcome your comments.  Please keep it civil.

Thank you for reading.

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One response to “Jobs? What Jobs?

  1. Pingback: A Patchwork Jumble Retrospective – 2011 | Patchwork Jumble

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