The alleged “talent shortage” depriving companies of workers can be attributed in part to companies’ disinterest in paying for job training programs and automated recruiting systems that overlook potential hires, according to a research paper.
In a report [PDF] published this weekend, “Hidden Workers: Untapped Talent,” authors Joseph Fuller and Manjari Raman, of Harvard Business School, and Eva Sage-Gavin and Kristen Hines, of Accenture, explore the disconnect between companies supposedly incapable of find talent and “hidden workers” who are not considered for vacancies.
“Hidden” in this context refers to those who are not working full time and wish to work full time, those who have been unemployed for a long time and those who are not working and are not currently looking for a job but who might be tempted to return to the labor pool.
There are some 27 million hidden workers in the United States alone, the authors estimate. And they suggest several reasons why these people do not satisfy employers’ thirst for talent.
One of the reasons is training. Rapid technological changes affecting many occupations have made it difficult to acquire the skills workers want and left education systems unprepared to respond. As a result, workers must already be employed to acquire the skills employers are looking for.
A recent report from the Brookings Institution suggests this is a problem resulting in large part from the reduction in the costs of financing higher education and the training of workers paid by the employer and financed by the government, and the decrease in union membership, which reduces training in the course of employment and worker protection.
Writer Andrew Yamakawa Elrod made this point in his recent analysis of the labor shortage in the construction industry.
“One of the consequences is the erosion of occupation-specific apprenticeship programs – funded by employers and administered jointly with unions – which once renewed the industry’s pool of skilled labor,” he said. he wrote in a article online published last month. “As an industry veteran [Mark] Erlich explains: “The non-union sector has never found a training path to bring people into the industry.”
And as Elrod continues to note, the odd-job economy has ensured that there is “no need for companies to internalize the costs of wages or social insurance – let alone the ‘education and training’.
The curse of HR software
The second reason is that automated CV recruitment and filtering systems exclude too many workers.
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which manage the pipeline of applicants, and Recruitment / Marketing Management Systems (RMS), which help support and automate the work of recruiters, are widely used in businesses. More than 90 percent of employers polled for the report said they used their RMS to screen or rank potential candidates with medium or high skills.
Yet these systems use specific data points inefficiently – by treating a college degree as an indicator of a desired trait like work ethics, for example, or by using a gap in the job to automatically dismiss those. potential workers – thus unnecessarily reducing the pool of candidates.
“Therefore, [these systems] exclude from consideration viable candidates whose resumes do not meet the criteria but who could perform at a high level with training, ”the report said.
“A large majority (88%) of employers agree, telling us that highly qualified candidates are excluded from the process because they do not meet the exact criteria established by the job description. This number rose to 94% for medium-skilled workers.
… highly qualified candidates are excluded from the process because they do not meet the exact criteria established by the job description
In other words, these systems appear to be put in place to minimize the workload of recruiters and hiring managers by excluding slightly less qualified job seekers rather than to maximize the supply of potential candidates.
A third reason why hidden workers are overlooked is that when companies choose to consider this group, it is because they tend to do so half-heartedly through corporate social responsibility programs, as if it was “an act of charity or corporate citizenship, rather than a source of competitive advantage.” . “
The authors argue that hidden workers are an untapped asset. They say companies open to hiring neglected and arbitrarily disqualified job seekers report being 36% less likely to face a talent shortage than companies which ignore hidden workers. In addition, these companies claim that hidden workers “materially outperform their peers on six key evaluation criteria – attitude and work ethic, productivity, quality of work, commitment, diligence and innovation.”
The report suggests several possible ways to make hidden workers more obvious: regularly reassess job descriptions rather than stacking new skills and requirements on top of existing ones; shifting from “negative” filters in ATS / RMS systems designed to narrow the pool of candidates to “affirmative” filters which provide a wider range of experiences; and the creation of new hiring measures focused on the productivity delay, the allocation rate and the promotion rate rather than on the minimization of expenses.
The report does not mention whether the lack of wage growth for non-managers has deterred potential job applicants from participating in the labor market. According to the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive think tank, CEO compensation increased by 1,322 percent between 1978 and 2019, while workers compensation increased only 18% between 1978 and 2020.
Like McSweeney’s, a satirical literary publication, recently Put the, “We will do anything to get you to work for us except pay you enough.” ®