One of the most perplexing aspects of the current recovery is our high unemployment and under employment rates are coupled with a constant stream of complaints by companies that they can't find qualified job candidates.
The most recent example is the New York Times article A Sea of Job Seekers, but Some Companies Aren't Getting Any Bites. Key quote:
“Companies all over are having a difficult time recruiting the kind of people they’re looking for ..."
Wharton professor Peter Capelli's most recent book - Why Good People Can't Get Jobs - explains that a big part of the problem is not the lack of qualified candidates, but the hiring companies themselves.
Capelli has a great book summary quote in an article on his book from Knowledge@Wharton:
... it turns out it's typically the case that employers' requirements are crazy, they're not paying enough or their applicant screening is so rigid that nobody gets through.
Between these 3 reasons companies end up searching for "purple squirrels" - people that simply don't exist or are very rare.
Capelli also laments the lack of training companies provide these days. Companies simply aren't willing to spend the money to train people - in part because of the cost and in part because of the fear they will leave. So instead they focus on trying to hire the perfect candidate, one with direct job experience and all the required skills.
Why Good People Can't Get Jobs is an important book that highlights a major problem with our current employment system. In particular it highlights the plight of young adults looking for their first jobs and facing the requirement that they already have to have experience to get one.
Unfortunately, there are no easy answers to this problem. But at least Cappelli helps us understand the problem is not just a lack of qualified candidates.