The Job Market Will Not be Fixed Overnight

Joe Weinlick
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Finding a job in recent times has proven incredibly competitive largely in part to the economic recovery of the United States. However, American labor still has a long way to go in terms of reaching its full potential. It may take another seven years to fix the job market, as companies demand skills, training and education that were not factors before the economic downturn in 2007.

The job market, like every other basic economic principle, comes down to supply and demand. There are plenty of jobs for Americans; companies have record numbers of job openings. Unfortunately, there aren't enough qualified workers to fill these positions. The demand for jobs is there, but the supply of qualified workers is lacking.

Coupled with record job openings, companies are also taking the longest amount of time to hire people. This indicates a more stringent hiring process or a labor pool that's not ready to meet the demands of employers, which is a far cry from the height of the recession.

Statistics show 140 percent more job openings in early 2016 compared to June 2009, but only 40 percent of those have actual hires. Back in 2009 and 2010, during the worst parts of the recession, those numbers were close to equal. Companies with job openings found people to fill them, but that's changed thanks to a highly competitive job market.

Companies demand higher standards in job descriptions, including education and technical skills. A looming skills gap may undo all of the progress the economy has made following the recession. To rectify this advance in the job market, workers and unemployed people must retrain themselves. However, it involves more than just taking a few classes or attending a company training to fix the entire situation over millions of jobs.

Linda Duessel, a senior equity strategist at Federated Investors, believes seven years is the time it should take for everyone to make relevant steps to fix the job market. That's because policymakers, colleges, employers and workers must all invest time, money and energy to correct the problem. The federal government has job skills programs that help improve skills and match the needs of employers with the skills of workers, but the government can only mandate so much.

Eventually, schools and employers must band together to create a viable educational environment for younger workers. Gone are the days when companies needed pure grunt work because so many jobs rely on knowing the right technology to be successful.

Another issue that will take several years to resolve is the transition from baby boomers retiring to millennials entering the workforce. Baby boomers didn't enter the labor pool with as much tech savvy as millennials. The evolution of the workplace led to a huge shift, and that shift may take time to complete. The sooner businesses help millennials get the skills and experience they need to take over for an older generation, the less problems these companies have in a growing economy.

Wages are the economic engine of the global economy. People must have jobs to earn money, and those wages lead to consumer spending. Consumer spending leads to profits and revenue for companies, which drives growth and more hiring. Everyone must be on board for this to happen or the job market may flounder in the future.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Jodi thanks for your comment. Questions back to you are - how did you feel during the interviews? Did you feel like you would be a good fit for the positions? Did you send a thank you note after the interview? Did you follow up with the hiring manager? Are you trying to break into a completely new career? There are so many reasons why - reasons more so than just age. It is true that some companies will discriminate due to age but they will never admit to it. They will just say that another candidate was better qualified. 120 applications - that's a lot. Are you following up on them? Remember, job hunting is a fulltime job. If you want to find a new position you have to treat the search as a job. All the best.

  • Jodi Enfinger
    Jodi Enfinger

    I completely understand how you feel. Although I'm not in the same field, I am in an office setting. I have sent in around 120 resumes in the last couple of months and gotten about 3 interviews. I am 55 years old with plenty of experience. Do you think it's my age that is turning people away from hiring me?

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Cathy thanks for your comment. Sorry you are struggling with this. It's tough in this day and age with more and more libraries struggling to even remain open. It's surprising that you are getting rejection letters as most job applicants don't ever hear anything. Are the rejection letters simple form letters such as thanks for your application but...? Any of them offer advice or a reason why you were rejected? Have you tried applying as a librarian for online libraries? Have you tried to take your experience in a different direction? Make an appointment at a local temp agency and have a sitdown with them. They may have a perfect position for you - outside of the library system. What about something in a different direction such as maybe a law firm? What about in a hospital? Both of these places typically maintain relatively large libraries. What about in your school district? Keep us posted to let us know if any of these suggestions helped.

  • Cathy P.
    Cathy P.

    I've been looking for a full time position in my field for a while now. Although my resume is being seen, I can't understand why I'm not getting any calls. I'm getting plenty of rejection letters though. I'm a Librarian with over 15 years experience, but that doesn't matter. I've been told about jobs that offer below average salary and because of my diverse resume, I'm overqualified. How does that make any sense? I'm at a loss. I can't afford to go back to school, I don't want to do that anyway. Any advice on how to get noticed?

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Debra thanks for your comment. You might be better off starting back through a temp agency that specializes in ER nurses. It's tough to get back into the market once you have been out for an extended period of time. Especially in your field as things change daily. Remember that you might have to start back in a different type of position - lower level more than likely - as technology has advanced rapidly and the instruments, etc that you used 5 years ago may not be used today. So keep that in mind when you start looking. Really try a temp agency first - or even something like home health to get you back in the swing of things. We wish you all the best.

  • Debra T.
    Debra T.

    I have plenty of experience as an ER nurse but was out due to heart problem for 5 years. No one wants you unless you've had 1-2 years experience now. So how do we get back to work? And there is plenty of it.

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