Employers are looking for the impossible. As one commenter to the Star article put it so perfectly: Basically, they are all looking for a highly skilled 30 year old, with 20 years of experience in the field, who still lives at home, and will work for $12/hour.
Employers don't want to train. Employers don't want someone who has enthusiasm for the job but less than perfect credentials. And God forbid you have ever had any trouble...credit trouble, job trouble...ever been fired or asked to resign. Heaven forbid that you are introverted and have trouble "networking" and making connections or cold calling people...
What's going to happen is two things: The work world will become less diverse. It will be filled with "salesman" types who will become the only ones able to work through (or around) the tedious, attacking and adversarial hiring process. All the introverts, less than perfects, too old and too young will be left by the wayside. That's a lot of different problem solving abilities to leave untapped. Secondly, because the "perfect" are small in number, employers will outsource overseas and use temporary and agency help instead to actually get the work done. The longer they go with the opening unfilled, the less likely they are to fill it, as they discover they can live without a person in that job slot.
According to the article, employers are frustrated that they are not getting applicants with "the right qualifications" but I would dispute that. I would say that employers are not getting applicants that they don't have to show loyalty to or do anything for. They just want cogs, ready to drop in a spot, so they can work and make a profit for The Man.
I just reread that sentence and it sounded amazingly cynical and bitter--is that your impression too? Listen, I believe in earning your keep, in proving your worth, in showing merit to receive reward. I know no one "has a right" to a job. However, the way the employment system is now is not a pure meritocracy. It has become this crazy biased place where getting a fair hearing is very close to impossible, where it's more about who you know rather than what you've done, and where certain traits and characteristics are more valued than others--not necessarily because they're better, but because they are simpler to maintain and easier to understand.
I also believe that employers--companies, partnerships, mom and pop--do need to make a profit or at least break even. However, it seems as if more and more employers are being ruled by "unenlightened self interest" to borrow the phrase from author Yves Smith. Companies with share holders are ruled by the quarterly profit report so are reluctant to do things that might cause that profit to suffer. Service suffers as the goal is profit over all else. I keep thinking that this raw focus on the bottom line is going to cause the downfall of the capitalist system. Ms. Smith has a way more educated take on this in this editorial from the New York Times. And I know that she is not the only one to posit in the pages of The Old Grey Lady that endless concern with quarterly profits is bad for capitalism.
If we actually manage to muddle out of the current economic situation, we have some hard thinking to do about the way we do business for and with each other.