From career coaching to recruiting strategy to social media, Susan has experience with in-house corporate HR and recruiting leadership roles, as a Fortune 500 consultant, and as a career and brand coach. She’s held positions with companies such as Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, Arthur Andersen and The Home Depot and has consulted for hundreds of Fortune 500 organizations. Her perspective is unique having worked in all aspects of the organizational life-cycle in start-up ventures, high-growth organizations and mature billion-dollar companies. Full Bio »
Solving the Jobs Problem the Wrong Way by Susan Strayer
by Susan Strayer
I answered a tweet earlier this week from PBS News Hour asking what news stories listeners were interested in and here’s my answer:
“@NewsHour Jobs! why is no one talking about how, why and where to find? CEOs and politicians can’t answer those questions.“
Politicians and CEOs don’t know anything about finding jobs. Seriously, nothing. Nothing of importance anyway. The last time a crying John Boehner searched for a real job, there were no job boards. The last time Nancy Pelosi applying for a job that wasn’t electable, LinkedIn didn’t exist (and she hadn’t had any plastic surgery yet).
Since we entered the recession, when the jobs figures come out from the U.S. government each month, the news cycle is the same and today’s jobs news is no different. One set of news bytes is masculine, essentially focused on economic commenting: what the numbers mean, how they impact the stock market, and how they compare to last month. Another set feels much more feminine and emotional: clips and quotes from the unemployed about how they feel, what they’ll do, and pleas for help before time runs out. None of this helpful.
Well then, let’s turn to the career coaches and HR experts like me for help. But media is so focused on short sound bytes and polarizing content, the unemployed are falling deaf to the repeated sounds of “resumes should be one page.” Or, “resumes are so passé.” Or “stop be lazy and get a job, any job.” Conflicting bytes
Ok then, what about the President’s Jobs Council? The list is one CEO after another with a few union bosses sprinkled in for good measure. It’s always good to solve the unemployment problem with a room full of people that have an average salary that’s well beyond the top 5% of income earners. And the site lists their next meeting as June 13. Clearly, the issue seems top of mind.
So what’s a country to do? My proposal: shared, pop-up job centers. Take the money that Congress is wasting, combine that with high vacancy rate at strip malls and open pop-up job stores and networking centers. Instead of relying on government agencies no one has heard of (honestly, have you ever heard of the ETA?) offer organizations and job seekers a place to connect with each other. Give job seekers actual space to sit, meet and network with each other in a place they can work (not while standing in an unemployment line). Give organizations a place to show up and meet people on the spot, show them how to apply for jobs, and provide immediate advice.
Sure, this has some logistical and cost challenges but regardless, this is the type of idea that won’t come from the Jobs Council. They’re too focused on broader economic measures that won’t have the immediate impact we need.
Did July’s month-end job numbers today help quell economic fears. Yes. But we’re living month to month and so are many job seekers. The big picture and long-term matters. But let’s also solve the real problem—helping actual people find actual jobs.