Companies Are Having Trouble Finding Qualified Applicants

Right now, there are about 20 million North Americans out of work, and a lot of employers are being flooded with job applicants. According to The Wall Street Journal, some companies are having a hard time filling open positions. At the height of the economic crisis, companies slashed millions of middle-skill, middle-wage jobs, and experts say that even though a lot of people are unemployed, they’re not the people employers are looking for. In other words, there’s a glut of people who aren’t qualified for the highly-skilled jobs that are available, and they’re overqualified for the low paying unskilled work that’s available. They’re in the middle.

For example, Apex Companies, an environmental firm, needs an industrial hygienist, a supervisory position for projects like asbestos cleanup. It’s a middle-class job paying $47,000 a year, but it requires special certifications and expertise. About 150 people have applied, but only five were actually qualified for the position. Another business mentioned in The Wall Street Journal article was Mechanical Devices, which supplies parts for earthmovers and other heavy equipment. Right now they need a machinist. The job pays $13 an hour, but no one’s applying. Owner Mark Sperry blames extended jobless benefits. When people can make more money collecting unemployment than working in a low paying job, they have no incentive to work.

A lot of workers agree. One man mentioned in the article said he turned down more than a dozen job offers while he was unemployed because they paid less than the $450 a week he was collecting in benefits. So what’s the fix? If you’re not qualified for the jobs you want, it may be time to try a trade school to update your skills. To find one near you, check out If you’re on unemployment, remember that your benefits will run out eventually. So you may have to bite the bullet and take a lower-paying job.

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