Is it the employer? The employee? Something else altogether?

I found an article that, IMHO, begins to define the problems of work these days (compared to a generation ago) and has solutions. Rather than try to reword it, here is the article:


... Author: Gabe Dalporto, CEO, Udacity (an online learning portal).

The article (if you didn't read it) discusses such things as:
  • Unemployed, not coming back, etc.: "... the unemployment rate is falling in 2021—but in part because of people leaving the labor force. Millions more have been displaced, lost work, or are underemployed due to the continuing effects of COVID-19."
  • Job Displacement: "The World Economic Forum puts it starkly: 85 million jobs will be displaced by a shift in the division of labor between humans and machines by 2025. Forty million U.S. workers might see their jobs eliminated over the next 10 years due to digital transformation ..."
  • Jobs sent "overseas": "... good-paying jobs in middle America, the Rust Belt, Appalachia, the South and inner cities have been eliminated or shipped overseas. Smart, hard-working, talented people have found themselves on the sidelines of the economy through no fault of their own."
  • Retraining: "The challenge isn’t having enough workers to fill these roles: It’s that available workers aren’t trained in these high-demand areas."
My take, on these and related issues ...

Our national workplace environment is one where we don't "furlough", we "lay off" ... this is "shooting yourself in the foot", short-term-gain thinking ... it's a relic, and more concerned with "the way business operated in the past". It could also be intentional on the employer's part, as in "here's my chance to get rid of certain folks". You paid to bring that employee on and get them up to speed, and then you chuck them out onto the street? Turmoil ensues, both in the business, and in people's lives. Is there a solution? How about:
  • First and foremost, we need "certificates that never expire", in the same way that degrees don't expire. You invested much time and effort in getting (whatever it is), and it should never expire, throwing to the curb the value that all that time and effort represents. If a business is worried about stale experience, then add a "year" addendum to the certificate, as in we need proof that you "passed the base knowledge requirement, getting the base certificate", and "did you work on the most recent release, getting the 2018 addendum". I don't waste my time on certificates that expire ... that's a money grab from the certificate industry.
  • An "I do business, right!" certificate. It shows that this is an employee who can walk into any business, show the certificate, and the business can immediately put aside all concerns of "is this an employee I need to worry about hiring?" They know how to act right, work right, and so on, and have proved it with this certificate, from any other business in the past. This eliminates much agonizing at the front of the hiring process.
  • A realistic "minimum requirements to do this job" certificate. Employers can't load this up with everything under the sun, as that just blocks getting folks back to work.
HR is "a middleman" to hiring good folks, and further in the way now with "Application Systems"; when is it ever a good thing to stick too many people and systems in between "the person who needs a new hire, and the new hire"? A few HR folks ... not bad, possibly useful. A bunch ... starting to be a problem. An Applicant System ... a disaster. Re: recent articles in HT along the lines of "were you ever arrested"; in the case of applicant systems (and they are becoming legion), they are full of such "questions", many of which you don't see coming until you are several layers in. Is there a solution? How about:
  • The person doing the hiring decides who makes the cut. Resumes have moved so far away from the person doing the hiring that good folks can't get hired; HR doesn't have, and never will have, the ability to judge that Person A, with this experience, is just as good as Person B, with that experience.
  • Realistic Job Descriptions: these days, the only person who fits the requirements is the person who just left that job; he/she only got there through years of being in that job. So, why do we list everything but the kitchen sink, making these hard and fast requirements, and thus excluding many who can do the work but won't ever get the chance? While we are at it, I still laugh at job descriptions that have "PHD required, moonshot experience, etc." with the final sentence in the description including ", must be able to lift 50 lbs".
Telecommuting is a good thing, and has finally been proven, with this pandemic. As a good thing, will we build on it, or drop it? In the early days of the pandemic, there were numerous "telecommute-only" job offerings ... the numbers are falling off. The benefits to society are potentially huge ... reduced time lost to commuting, traffic, fuel. IMHO, we have to separate the work from the seat. No solutions needed here, other than throwing out the old ways of measuring work by counting full or empty chairs, and beefing up "internet everywhere".

We need to get retraining done right, and not by just telling folks "go get retrained, on your own dime". Business should step up and say "if you can spell retraining", we'll start talking to you ... not "I need 20 certifications" and "they need to be within the past 3 months". There needs to be less "4-year degree only" and more "... or equivalent experience". There needs to be less "retraining is required" before we talk to you, and more "on the job training" provided if you meet miniimum qualifications. In other words, any "proof of trying" certificate (a ??-week course in whatever), and we'll bring you on board, and finish the rest with OTJ training. If you get these certificates, companies should be fighting over you.

... I can't list them all. But, if you've worked in the business world for any amount of years, you know all of these as well. Entire cartoon careers have arisen, like Dilbert, to highlight the issues.

The article points out "We can put Americans back to work and future-proof our workforce but it needs to start with support at the federal level." We need businesses to "... finish with support at the business level" as well. I think we already have plenty of employees at the "... I want to work, but look at all of these hurdles, and new ones every day."

What are your experiences, Dilbert-like, with businesses over the years? What would you like to see done, at either the Government, Corporate, or Individual level?