Friday, February 18, 2011

The Vicious Cycle of Unemployment

For some it may seem easier to get a job if you're unemployed. Intuitively, the unemployed have more time to interview, are willing to accept lower salaries and have future employers who know they can start right away. But the large amount of unemployed in this recession has proven one thing: being unemployed is not a recipe for success in this economy. And the problem then becomes if you are unemployed and that prevents you from getting hired that the more this occurs, the further the unemployed fall from employability in many employer's eyes--it becomes a vicious cycle of unemployment.

This was recounted in a recent article on Yahoo! (H/T Wendy) which says that it's gotten so bad and so prevalent that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is trying to get "unemployed" as another factor you can't discriminate against a candidate: "With the number of Americans who have been out of work for six months or longer at a whopping 6.2 million, and with 4.7 unemployed workers for every job opening, advocates for the jobless say this growing form of hiring discrimination creates another hurdle for the increasingly desperate ranks of the unemployed. 'At a moment when we all should be doing whatever we can to open up job opportunities to the unemployed, it is profoundly disturbing that the trend of deliberately excluding the jobless from work opportunities is on the rise,' Christine Owens, who runs the National Employment Law Center, told the EEOC."

The article hints that it may also be a case of racial or age discrimination as many more of the unemployed are African American or older, the former of which would also violate civil rights laws. This is not an issue that is going away and yet many job postings online still prohibit those who are unemployed for applying. Do the skills actually go away? Does the fact that everyone was downsizing mean those laid off are actually the weakest link? Probably not but it gives employers a good excuse when the volume of resumes continues to pile up.

At the very least, articles like this should give HR professionals some pause and to rethink their hiring practices. Because while this is an employers market, the last thing you want is to get in trouble with the government because of your hiring practices.

1 comment:

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