atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#4660: There's a shortage of workers? Since when?

Certain fields can't find enough workers. The fields? Truck driving, for one. Also skilled and reliable mechanics, welders, engineers, electricians, plumbers, nurses...and computer technicians.

And to that last, I say horeshit.

I say horseshit because with the exception of Geek Squad I have been turned down for every last computer technician job for which I've applied...and I'm not even doing a technician job there so much as I'm doing consultation and sales; in my job, I don't fix anything, and nine times out of ten I'm taken to task if I try. (Which is why I've stopped trying.)

If you look at the job requirements for most PC-related jobs, they always--always--read like a laundry list, and if you don't meet or exceed every last qualification on that list the employer rejects you out of hand. Frequently they are trying to replace someone who left for greener pastures, trying to replace exactly that skill set--and usually they're trying to do it for less money than they were paying the guy who left. Eventually they find someone who is willing to lie about his skill set to get the job, who then learns the stuff he doesn't know as needed. (Or doesn't, but finds ways to fob the tasks off onto others.)

A former supervisor of mine said it best: "They're basically looking for God at $5 an hour," he said, and truer words were never spoken.

The reason companies have so much trouble hiring "skilled and reliable" computer technicians comes from what they look for--and what they look for are people with huge skill sets and long experience who are willing to work for minimum wage...and those workers are few and far between. That's also why the H1-B visa program is so vital to the tech industry; people from India and the Philippines are willing to work for $10 an hour doing a job that an American would expect $15-$20 for.

The same can be said of nursing jobs, by the way. A lot of places expect a lot of work from their nursing staff, and they don't want to pay anything because their doctors cost so much fucking money while doing perhaps 10% of the total medical procedures. The less training you have, the harder hit you are by this; if you're a CNA you can usually get a job in about ten minutes, but you're going to be making shit wages and you'll be working harder than everyone else on the ward combined. (One coworker in the nursing home called me "the Sweating Blur". He was almost exaggerating.) Meanwhile, you're also the first on the chopping block if anything goes wrong, and if something does, you'll never work as a CNA again.

The final nail in the coffin is the fact that plenty of employers--having the advantage of being in a buyer's market--will ashcan any application that doesn't come from someone who's already employed. If you're an unemployed technical writer, they'll ignore your app, and interview the guy who works elsewhere but is exploring his options. The guy will just laugh when they make him an offer that's a dollar an hour under his present wage, and won't accept the job; in the process, the hiring company has wasted time and money on the candidate who doesn't need the job, and ignored the one who does and would be willing to work for the lower rate just so he'd have income again.

There are plenty of people out there who could do the jobs that businesses have openings for, but they don't want to train, they don't want to pay for the skills, and they don't want to consider experience versus education. It's their own damned fault they can't fill those jobs.

* * *

Philly Fed admits that the BLS statistics are utterly meaningless. The made-up numbers are worthless, of course.

* * *

Speaking of made-up numbers, Borepatch tells us there's been no global warming since December of 1996.

* * *

Mrs. Fungus and I had rather a late night last I have a sneaking suspicion we'll have an early one tonight. Heh. Heh.

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