Wednesday, May 18, 2011

ABC reports that employers are deliberately saying they will consider only the currently or recently employed, complicating the stigma of unemployment


Diane Sawyer, on World News Tonight, reported on six million unemployed Americans, and the disturbing trends from many employers to say (in position descriptions) that they will consider only the currently or recently employed.  Only New Jersey makes this illegal, as unemployment does not make one a member of a “protected class”.  So many employers are considering long term unemployment a kind of secondary social stigma.

In information technology, the practical concern is a candidate’s technical sharpness. If he or she is not current, he or she won’t be able to deliver for a client. That’s true of Internet-related skills, less so of older mainframe programming. You never forget COBOL.

ABC’s report recommended “volunteering” in your field to fill in recent gaps in your resume. How can you do that in IT?


Update: June 10: USA Today has a point-counterpoint on this practice by employers here.  The opposing view says that when an employed person is hired, another vacancy is still created, so the problem self-corrects without government intervention.  But USA Today says that to declare unemployed candidates as automatic losers is to show lack of ethics and "imagination".  New Jersey recently passed a law partially banning the practice, and New York may consider it.

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