Friday, July 25, 2003

Employers need a reality check
Starting with the requirements they are putting into their ads. " 'So many job adverts these days are just unreal," he says. "You see adverts asking for x number of years' experience in a skill, but it has only been out for six months. And you often see adverts where they want someone with eight skills. It is a wish list, because people can only really be expert in one or two skills and very good in another couple, with bits and pieces of other languages and techniques.' Phil Newman, a Citrix consultant, agrees. 'If they mean expert, then you can only be expert at two or three skills at the very most. Any more and you wouldn't be effective.' Newman thinks it is impossible for any one person to have a solid understanding of numerous skills, let alone be a specialist in all of them. Should anyone be able to prove him wrong, he says he would wonder about how they had managed to acquire all that knowledge. 'You would end up with someone who knows a reasonable amount about each thing, but has no social skills.'" I've seen ads for people to basically be an entire advertising department and the salaries are $30K US. It's unbelievable! has some points on the subject too, after reading the Slate article Take this tech job and shove it. As it says " The author, Farhad Manjoo, points out several clues which suggest that something odd is going on. Job postings that require combinations of skill, expertise, length of experience, and low salary requirements which are simply unrealistic, or at least (I suppose some people take on some of these jobs in desperation) quite unreasonable. Job postings which, on top of that, advertise for candidates who will be 'excited' and 'motivated' by these non-opportunities. As aptly puts it, the attitude is 'fuck you, you need a job'. Myself, I've seen a little bit of that. There are the countless recruiters who don't even do you the courtesy of a reply to your application. Worse, there are the job listings bearing the mention, 'If you don't receive a response from us within three weeks, please assume that we have turned down your application.' I'm tempted to put up a site somewhere that says, 'If you don't receive an application from me within three years, please assume I've come to the conclusion that you're a bunch of a weasels.' "
And it's true. There is a lot of abuse on the side of the employers now that they have the market back on their side. Before it was employees who had the upper hand. I wasn't in the fulltime job market long enough to really experience this but I've heard the tales. Now the employers are basically asking for (well, it's not asking since there is no option to do otherwise) whatever they want.

There have been some people who have attempted to fight back and take a stand. Online you'll find Verbal Attack On Employers which is a site full of emails from a guy who responds to job postings and just messes about with the companies. Then there is where people are incouraged to send in ridiculuous job postings, either in content, salary expectations, skill sets, etc. On occassion the webmistress informs the company that they have been posted to the site.
On the site I also came across this story by dgeffen. Here's a bit of it: "Clearly gone is the time when an employee was loyal to their company, working long hours and supporting the goals and objectives of the corporation. This recession and downsizing mentality, for the good of Wall Street, in many cases, has spawned a generation of "free agents". When the chips are down, more employees will be updating their resumes and re-igniting their network, rather than staying and helping save the ship. Many who helped try to "right-size" their corporate ship found themselves seeking unemployment payments after being personally right-sized by the same organization. When the economy improves, corporations will find that their current attitudes toward employees and candidates will cause them irreparable harm as free agency kicks in and loyalty becomes an antiquated term. What can corporations do to alleviate this eventual backlash? Show common courtesy to employees and candidates. Treat the candidate, earnestly seeking a new opportunity, seeking to earn a salary to feed their family, with respect and dignity. Compassion shown can go a long way. For employers, seek alternative ways to “right size” the corporate ship before tossing your once-valued "employees of choice" overboard. Survivors and victims have long memories." There are some very good and valid points there.
Some of the worst things I've seen for myself have been the lower salaries. Now, this is a total catch-22. The unemployed don't want to take these jobs, but they know that there is always someone desperate enough to need the money and will work for the pay. Or they *need* the money themselves because they haven't been working and some money, no matter how little, is better than none. But people taking the jobs and working for lower pay than they should be create a precident for the employers to expect that they can offer that amount and there is nothing wrong with it. It's frustrating. Maddening. And it's stress that the unemployed/underemployed don't need on top of the screwed up employment situation.

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