There is a lot that Americans are arguing about these days. Should government do more or less? Should we cut spending to reduce the deficit or invest to grow the economy? Whose responsibility is it to create jobs, and how can that happen faster? But one thing we are pretty much in agreement about is that if Americans work hard, play by the rules, and do whatever they can to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, they should have the opportunity to succeed. Or maybe not.
In a recent survey of job vacancy postings on high-profile job sites like Monster.com, CareerBuilder and Craigslist, the New York Times found that hundreds of employers strongly prefer hiring only people who are currently employed or have been recently laid off. Unemployed workers need not apply. With average unemployment hovering at a record nine months, this leaves millions of Americans out of luck. And, I expect, it also dramatically limits the talent pool available to these employers. At JVS we regularly work with highly talented individuals who have been out of work for months, and sometimes years. I can only hope that few of the companies identified by the Times are located in Massachusetts.
Several states and some members of Congress are considering legislation that would prohibit employers from discriminating against the unemployed. This approach seems to have some merit, but given that there are no Republican co-sponsors in the House of Representatives to date, I imagine we will see full economic recovery before the bill is signed into law. In the meantime, corporate leaders and hiring managers who will not consider hiring the unemployed should do some serious soul searching before putting their next ad on Monster or Craigslist.
-Jerry Rubin, JVS President & CEO