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Businesses Are Hungry for Workers; What Factors Are Leading Applicants to Be Rejected?

  • Many job applicants are struggling to find work despite employer complaints about a labor shortage
  • Washington Post report looks at factors contributing to this issue, including outmoded employer practices that continue to exclude certain applicants
  • Older Americans, minorities, those with a criminal record, and workers with sizable gaps on their resumes are among those facing challenges

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

For several months, businesses have been complaining about the difficulty of finding employees to fill available jobs, even as the number of unemployed people in the United States exceeds the number of open positions. Yet many job applicants are saying they’re still struggling to find work due to outmoded employer practices.

The Washington Post took an in-depth look at the issue in a recent article. The report says many employers continue to favor certain candidates, including those with more extensive experience or those willing to work less accommodative schedules. Certain groups continue to face greater challenges, including older Americans, minorities, those with a criminal record, or applicants whose resumes have sizable gaps – a factor that now includes many women who left their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic to care for their minor children.

  • Some of the disconnect comes from employers seeking to capitalize on the greater leverage created by labor shortages to seek higher pay, better benefits, or more flexible work arrangements – perks employers are not always willing to provide
  • The pandemic caused many low-skill, low-wage workers to reassess their careers and seek education or training for a career shift, but these candidates are also less unlikely to have extensive experience
  • The issue is further complicated by artificial intelligence algorithms that weed out many resumes before hiring managers ever see them
  • Analysts have blamed numerous factors for the labor shortage, including child care necessities, expanded unemployment benefits (which ended in September), and a mismatch between candidates and job locations or necessary skills
  • A recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Business found that the share of small businesses encountering difficulty in hiring workers remains high, with a record share raising compensation to compete for talent

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