Ho! Ho! Ho! Happy Hiring-days?

The end of the year 2010 couldn’t come fast enough for millions of unemployed workers.  For them, a full time job will be the best gift ever.  And there’s good news on that front.  As the economy recovers ever so gradually, many U.S. businesses are cranking up their recruiting.  But for those without the necessary skills, 2011 could just be another humbug-type of year.

I personally can attest to this uptick in hiring.  As a provider of pre-employment and leadership assessments, we just don't calls if employers are not in the throes of hiring.   But 2010 was a banner year, with the month of December being the best and busiest since I started the business in 1996. But my business doesn’t even qualify as a blip on the radar of economic indicators.  So let’s turn to another source.

Advertising on one of the largest employment websites had increased a whopping 74 percent increase since December 2009. That’s an increase of 2.0 million job openings in the past 12 months.

Many of the new jobs are in retailing, accounting, consulting, health care, telecommunications and defense-related industries, according to data collected for The Wall Street Journal by Indeed Inc. The company daily collects listings from corporate and job-posting websites, removing duplicates.

As promising as these figures are, the future might even be brighter.  According to another article in the Wall Street Journal, more than 80% of job openings are actually unlisted, since most companies, including farming, manufacturing, and construction, will try to promote from within or rely on employee referrals.

To be sure, website job postings offer only a partial look at the labor markets. Many of the jobs in manufacturing and construction will never come back. And many of the unemployed millions don’t have the skills to meet the requirements of the new jobs being created. According to Edward Gordon, author of Winning the Global Talent Showdown, “between today and 2020, it is expected that 74 percent of all jobs created in America will be high-paying jobs for high-skilled workers. While there will be a need for 123 million of those talented people, only 50 million Americans will qualify.   By contrast, low-paying, low-skill jobs will shrink to just 26 percent of the total jobs in the U.S.   Worst of all, just 44 million people will be needed for those jobs, but 150 million or more candidates will be seeking those jobs.” That picture doesn't bode well for a government at wit's end to create jobs and millions of jobless Americans looking for work.

Examples of companies cited in the Wall Street Journal actively looking for employees include:

  • Deloitte: mergers and acquisitions, health care and information technology.
  • ATT: highly technical workers in network engineering and cloud computing, call center workers, and retail sales people.
  • WellPoint Inc.: information-technology specialists, registered nurses, actuaries, insurance-policy underwriters, salespeople and call-center employees.
  • Science Applications International Corp.: intelligence analysts, engineers, cyber-security experts, and project managers.
  • Lockheed Martin Corp.: IT, cyber security, systems engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and aerospace engineering.

These jobs require a minimum of 2 years of post-secondary education and up-to-date technical skills. They also might require relocation, a huge hurdle for many unemployed workers whose homes are "underwater" thanks to the housing collapse.

Going forward, the jobs picture we saw in December 2010 will be a microcosm of what to expect in 2011 and at least into the middle part of this decade:  high unemployment, increases in job openings, and employers crying about a lack of qualified candidates.  That’s good news for those with the skills. Not so good for the unemployed waiting to get their old jobs back.


Ira S Wolfe