Skilled Worker Supply and Demand

by theaudiencespeaks

I am back after this two week hiatus and the job hunt has not gone well. I have returned to my home in the midwest. It has been a leap of faith that is still sorting itself out. My observations on the Job market… The economy has worked itself into quite the pickle. In years past there were plenty of positions available to non skilled laborers. Those without the money could take these positions, receive training and eventually work their way into becoming more skilled. Others with money could get the training and accelerate their career by paying the expensive toll of going to college. Under these conditions, socioeconomic mobility was difficult but still possible to those willing to tighten their belt and hustle at an entry level job till they could move into a better paying skilled position.

Today, our situation is very different. Nearly all unskilled positions are service positions that don’t offer much in the way of training, and none of them offer enough to reasonably live on. As a society we pretend that all the social mobility can be gained through higher education at colleges and universities, yet, reports are now strongly correlating that students from financially disadvantaged families are far less likely to graduate (in six years) than those who come from wealthy families. Those that drop out sometimes end up worse off than had they not even started especially when they have taken on debt.

But I’m getting off topic. I am worrying about a slightly different trend. In United States society, we have come to care less about actual skilled labor and more about signaled labor, certified labor, previous experience as you will. While our labor market for experienced/skilled labor grows, our avenues for gaining skill have shrunk. This is highlighted by one example of a job post that I came across in the past few months. The post was, I believe, for a cloud storage service administrator. One of the “Requirements” was 5+ years previous experience working in an administration position at a cloud storage service company. How many such individuals exist? Cloud services were a very new industry five years ago.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe the person who posted this job position did so thoughtlessly, and can’t really expect the “Requirements” that were listed to be met by any potential candidate (certainly not at the pay grade offered which was $65,000). This example is the extreme end of a trend which I have observed over the last few months of job searching. All legitimate business wants proof that you can do the job even when few or no adequate opportunities for proving ability are available because entry level jobs are drying up, the number of these jobs are increasing while many people are dropping out of college, And the number of available people who actually fit the job’s requirements are few because nearly all qualified candidates were the early adopters of an industry and are now the CEO’s of such industry’s leading companies.

One final thought, for those of you who say “You’re wrong, there are still plenty of entry level jobs that will allow you to move up, go get a job at a fast food place you lazy bones.” The problem I have with that is the fact that most advancement that is offered from the current entry level positions are advancement within the company, which typically has very poor return rates. Out of 50 or even 100 entry level employees, only a handful will ever be offered the opportunities to advance in the company. While the rest will be forced to go on welfare (or find some other avenue [such as scam companies] for survival) because they get paid better than minimum wage by not working.

The Audience.

This is right and proper, no new “followers.” Well, actually there might have been some but I have been gone from the internet for the past two weeks during the move. If I have passed you up, consider yourself lucky.