For Healy and many others, the situation just doesn’t make sense — there’s an incongruity between what they are hearing about jobs and what is actually happening.
Because although these trends have been exacerbated by the pandemic, many of them pre-date it, and they’re not going away.
Essentially anywhere you go in the United States right now, you’re going to encounter “help wanted” signs. But just because a bar or restaurant or gas station wants a worker doesn’t mean a worker wants to work for them. The millions of jobs available aren’t necessarily millions of jobs people want.
“A lot of what people are seeing are low-paying jobs with unpredictable or not-worker-friendly scheduling practices, that don’t come with benefits, don’t come with long-term stability,” Shelly Steward, director of the Future of Work Initiative at the Aspen Institute, told Recode. “And those are not the types of jobs that any worker is eager to take on.”
“We think that we made it easier 20-something years ago when Monster started posting jobs. It makes it easier for the employer, it doesn’t make it easier for the job seeker,” said J.T. O’Donnell, the founder and CEO of career coaching platform Work It Daily, who runs a popular TikTok account with work advice. “You’re not getting rejected, you’re just never getting past the technology.”
This system is also not good at understanding what a person might have the potential to do.
“People are expected to come onto the job and have the experience, have the skills, have everything, and few people do,” Steward, from the Aspen Institute, said.
The endless quest to make hiring efficient has rendered it inefficient. Candidates who are great fits for 90 percent of the job are screened out because they’re not perfect for the other 10 percent. Recruiters are so inundated with résumés flowing in online that they only look at the first few, hiring the people they can get the fastest instead of the people who are the best fit.
Meanwhile, for candidates, the entire process is a black box. Healy, the designer, ended up getting two job offers in less than a week after not hearing anything for months. He still has no idea why.
As for Washington, the legal secretary, she says she finally “released herself” from her job search on LinkedIn after months of trying. She decided to switch gears and pursue a different line of work.