Thursday, December 8, 2011

Arrrrrrrrrrrgggggghhhh! CEOs and their broad-brush employment statements

An irritating set of statements from CEOs gathered before a informal Congressional panel:
“It’s really disappointing for companies like mine, when every single headline is about joblessness, to know that there are actually hundreds of thousands of jobs that are going without being filled,” said Lisa Hook, CEO of Neustar Inc., a Sterling, Va.-based telecommunications company. “Get me qualified people, and we’re taking qualified applications in the back of the room,” she added, drawing a round of laughter from the congresswomen and audience. “Because we never miss an opportunity.” “It’s incredibly challenging to get good technical people,” said Alison Brown, CEO of Navsys Corp., a Colorado Springs, Colo.-based GPS technology company. “There’s an enormous amount of demand, there’s competition, quite frankly between industries and labs and federal institutes.”
Navsys appears to have 5 (five) openings on their website. Neustar appears to have 32 openings on their website. Job growth must be happening at other companies, I suppose.

We also get the huge conflation of the "S" with the "TEM". It seems like TEM jobs are well-paid and regularly looking for people, while there's plenty of labor supply of the "S" and relatively few openings.
The problem, the business leaders said, boils down to the dearth of qualified people with expertise in science, technology, engineering and math, collectively known as STEM. Hook, the telecommunications executive, ticked off what she called troubling statistics: By 2018, there will be 1.4 million computing job openings in the United States, but given graduation rates, only 29 percent of those jobs will be filled by U.S. graduates; 40 states produce fewer computing graduates than needed to fill projected openings in their states; and the number of girls studying computing has declined 13 percent in the past 10 years. 
The statistics come from the National Center for Women & Information Technology, which culled the numbers from various government departments. “We need a lot of federal assistance in encouraging children to go into STEM, we need to make it accessible and available starting in the ninth grade,” Hook said.
Nothing quite like lobbying Congress to cut your business costs -- sigh.

I think my opprobrium is best held for Ms. Janet Trautwein, who exemplifies every irritating HR manager in the history of corporate America:
Not all the CEOs at Monday’s panel need STEM graduates for their companies. Echoing some of her colleagues, Janet Trautwein, head of the National Association of Health Underwriters, said her professional association has many more applicants that it has jobs to offer. And she had some bad news for overqualified workers. “I do have a lot of people applying for positions that are really entry-level positions with way too much experience, and frankly I can’t hire [them] for those positions because I can’t pay them what they need, and also they won’t like it,” she said. “They wouldn’t be satisfied with that.” 
After the panel, Trautwein said she had hired highly experienced people for low-level positions, only to have them quit two months later. Her advice to people applying to jobs for which they are overqualified: Explain yourself up front, either in the cover letter, or at the beginning of the interview, and make a case for why you are willing to take a position far beneath your skill level.
Sowhatyou'resayingis, people need to drop their dignity and grovel a little harder. 

15 comments:

  1. Hey let me fix that quote for you,

    “It’s incredibly challenging to get good technical people [who will work for peanuts],” said Alison Brown, CEO of Navsys Corp

    Are these people really lobbying for more H1Bs? GRRRR.

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  2. "...There’s competition, quite frankly between industries and labs and federal institutes.”

    Most federal labs are currently under hiring freezes, so I cry "B.S."

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  3. It's no wonder Congress keeps passing bad laws, it keeps getting bad information.

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  4. My brain hurts ...
    So they want people who are "better educated" and "less qualified"

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  5. The committee could have saved a whole lot of everyone's time and just read this...

    http://www.tbp.org/pages/publications/Bent/Features/Su09Brown.pdf

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  6. There are several companies that do "phantom" hiring. Meaning their website advertises and makes other believe that they are hiring. If you applied for these positions (befitting to your qualification, of course) you will never hear from them again! At some point when I asked some of them about it, you are promptly told that the position has been filled. And, then there are some who get an offer, to be yanked out later by the hiring companies with some cockamamie excuses. Bottom line-there are so many subterfuges available for these companies that they can pretty much do anything they want and get away. How can you prove all these nonsense in the court of law? I have experienced some of these ignominies.

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  7. And yet their are so many lawyers out of work ... I guess there could be a market opportunity there. Suing HR for fictitious misleading hiring notifications?

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  8. At least part of the problem is how picky employers have become now that the job market is down. In line with what Matt said, they fish out of a tiny pond for candidates.

    This comment from a recruiter recently posted on In The Pipeline:
    "I actually have a search right now for a large pharma for an expert in psychiatric genetics. So not all companies are abandoning this field. That said it has been hard to find anyone in industry with this background. I have been told they just don't exist."

    Psychiatric genetics? What happened to the days when "genetics" or even "biology" were acceptable backgrounds? If employers are having trouble finding "qualified" or "good technical people" then they're quite honestly retarded. The "trouble" they're having is exactly what AC said, they don't wanna pay appropriately for the talent they're asking for.

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  9. I saw that comment. My read on recruiters is that they're more or less ignorant about the state of play in their industry. Obviously, there are psychiatric genetics experts out there; talking to professors, etc. or literature searches would probably lead you to a pool of candidates quickly.

    I don't understand why recruiters have such a difficult time with it. You can't just rely on LinkedIn searches (and I'm sure (I hope) they don't.)

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  10. I'm writing to the six congresswomen who attended that panel discussion, to tell them that the last thing this country needs are more of the "S" component of the STEM gradiates. Sadly, what appears to be happening is that there are periodic shortages of certain IT professionals in specialized areas - which quickly balloons into "We need to give every foreign STEM student a GREEN CARD! NOW!

    I looked at one of the Neustar job announcements for an IT person. They had 12 detailed bullet points worth of requirements for the job. No new college graduate, either foreign born or American, could fill those shoes.

    The six congresswomen are: Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Renee Ellmers (R-NC), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Jean Schmidt (R-OH). Just googling their names brings up their websites, where it's easy to find out how to send them an email message.

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  11. This is very frustrating. This also happens in IT and engineering. I read some of the IT blogs, and they report that these companies do this in order to lobby for more H1bs.

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  12. Wow, that's a list of failure right there on the panel. Virginia Foxx especially.

    Maybe they can fix it by getting rid of more non-existent EPA regulations.

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  13. "Dear Republican congresswomen, i have never voted for you, agreed with you or think you are in any way competent but i would like to ask you to--"

    "Next."

    Really it would behoove us all to cultivate 'friends' from both sides of the aisle. Don't you think that's how lobbyists work?

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  14. I guess that is one thing I do miss about living in the Northeast, Republicans that understand policy. It drives me bonkers that people here in the Southeast do not realize that often it is billionaires from wealthy areas that are buying votes and special interest from po-dunk areas, as if they are going to just come on over and "create jobs". Buying votes in Massachusetts and New York comes at so much more of a premium than buying influence in Kansas and West Virginia.

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