Why Good People Can't Get Jobs

Monday, June 25, 2012

Peter Cappelli, professor of management at The Wharton School and director of Wharton's Center for Human Resources, workforce issues columnist for Human Resource Executive Online, and author of Why Good People Can't Get Jobs:The Skills Gap and What Companies Can Do About It, talks about the implications of  changes in US employment relations as they are presented in his new book.


Peter Cappelli

Comments [16]

Studied for Ph.D in NYS & CA

Reality check. US is 25th in math. Worse in science. Visit any graduate engineering/science technical school in the country. Classrooms are filled with foreign nationals -- U.S students haven't been filling these chairs for > 20 years. And you say no skills gap? Tell me how you get research scientist from someone with degree in classics. Lets stop kidding ourselves.

Jun. 25 2012 10:52 PM
anna from new york

"Truth" (Orwell, Orwell), they are bad. They probably can't even milk a cow and plow. Hire those who can and PAY them.

Jun. 25 2012 12:11 PM
anna from new york

Yeah, "Truth," pity managers at LAW firms. Yeah, they are my main concern in life. And the reason you have interns is?

Jun. 25 2012 11:52 AM
anna from new york

"I need to hire someone because I don't have enough time in the day to handle my workload"
"On top of that, as a small company"
Two quotes, two things.
- Die Kommandanten tend to be busy ... and this is a problem.
- What is the salary of the CEO? What is your salary, Beatrice?

Jun. 25 2012 11:23 AM
anna from new york

Yes, Desdemona, and the "liberal" babbling is limited to "how to please them." I have some different ideas ...

Jun. 25 2012 11:11 AM
anna from new york

Why can't you, people, speak correctly. Why I didn't hear the right vocabulary: exploitation, slavery, abuse etc. Why isn't it obvious what the bastards are doing - they want the most educated, brilliant, ready now for the most complex jobs to serve for free and as long as they can be squeezed? Then heraus, and next, next, next ... to be ... processed.

Jun. 25 2012 11:02 AM
james from nyc

good people cna always get jobs...

most people are not good....

everyone knows that 20% of the poeple in a company carry the other 80%....

Jun. 25 2012 10:59 AM

Peter Cappelli is accurate in his assumption. I'm coming up on a year of unemployment and it is not a skills gap. With a masters degree, many years of experience, I'm told I'm either overqualified or I have 95% of what an employer is looking for as they continue to try to find the perfect fit. I've mastered this new landscape, have taught others and remain optimistic that I will eventually pursuade someone that I can learn the other 5%.

Jun. 25 2012 10:59 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I've been on both sides of the job market. Believe me when I tell you I've been absolutely stunned at the things young people cannot do when they walk into a work place. I remember one summer intern we had at a law firm. She had just finished her first year of college, but was unable to compose even the simplist letter. When she was asked to use a typewriter to complete a form, she was unable to transfer her computer knowledge to the typewriter keyboard, even though computer keyboards are derived from typewriter keyboards. They do not know basic office decorum, how to dress, how to watch what other employees do and learn from that, how to answer a phone, how to address clients/customers. What would we, as employers, be paying for? Just a warm body?

On the other end of the spectrum, I, too, have a certificate in phlebotomy, and in EKG, but the school I attended did not have an internship program and one cannot walk into a medical facility and perform an invasive procedure on patients without experience. How do we get that experience? I have all the other skills a person would need to work in an office - and medical office - environment, but I still can't stick needles into patients without experience.

Jun. 25 2012 10:56 AM
Beatrice from NYC

I'm a hiring manager, and just placed an ad for a position last Friday. I cam into my office this morning to over 100 resumes to review. What Peter says about wanting someone who can immediately add value is true. I need to hire someone because I don't have enough time in the day to handle my workload, but that means I also don't have a lot of time to read resumes, interview, and ultimately train the person. On top of that, as a small company, we can't afford anyone too experienced (in other words, expensive). I'm open to hiring someone who has been unemployed, so long as they can ramp up quickly.

Jun. 25 2012 10:56 AM
John A.

Where are the best locations to find public job postings now anyway?

Jun. 25 2012 10:56 AM

Bravo, Peter Cappelli! Thanks for mentioning what so many academics, pundits, politicians and reporters maliciously ignore. Most employers refuse to pay what the market demands but then gripe about the supply of workers.

So much for the free market dogma of conservatives.

Jun. 25 2012 10:55 AM
Listener from NYC

I remember a time when a candidate could have 75% of the skills needed and employers would recognize the potential and be willing to train the other 25%. Not anymore. Also, many companies have downsized and are now looking for people who can do a wide variety of things extremely well so that they have to hire only one person instead of two or three. And that one person is certainly not getting paid three salaries and is often working extra hours to get all the work done.

Jun. 25 2012 10:55 AM
Peter from Brooklyn

Thanks for raising the question about wages! This is rarely mentioned. Excellent!

Jun. 25 2012 10:55 AM
desdemona finch from Brooklyn

They not only want you to have a PhD, years of work experience, a Nobel Peace Prize, underwater basket-weaving abilities but also be willing to take $1 an hour.

Jun. 25 2012 10:54 AM

Dean Baker has argued points very similar to Peter Cappelli. It's a sign of just how bad the reporting is on this issue that so many journalists refuse to recognize that employment for skilled workers is elevated — not as much as unskilled workers, but still much higher than normal before the financial crisis.

Part of the problem is that the same employers that want to pay executives tens of millions want to pay skilled workers the same wages they pay hourly or unskilled.

Jun. 25 2012 10:52 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.