When The Unemployed Need Not Apply

Hello Boomers!

There has been an interesting discussion on LinkedIn.  A few Career Change Central group members have weighed in on the seemingly growing attitude among some recruiters, some companies, and some hiring managers that the unemployed are less desireable employees simply because they are unemployed.  

While that may normally be descriptive of those who have been let go, it seems incongruous to still believe this when companies have purged such large numbers of employees in such a relatively short period of time as we have experienced during this economic downturn.  Surely all of those employers weren’t keeping so many lousy employees on the payroll until a downturn gave them the excuse they needed to jettison their unproductive workers?  

Far too many are unemployed today and it often has nothing to do with their contributions as an employee or their skill levels.  So why are so many companies and recruiters blatantly stating that the unemployed need not apply?  Why does this trend appear to be a growing and is there anything we can to do stop it?

We  know that in this free country employers can do what they want, hire who they want, and fire who they want as long as their actions fall within the limits of the law.  For now, there is no protection against being discriminated against for simply being out of work.  Perhaps there should be but that is a different discussion for a different day.

But there is a discussion that we can have right now.   While state and local governments all across our country groan under the weight of ever-growing numbers of long-term unemployed seeking benefits, in the not so distant past those same governments often competed with one another through tax incentives, free land, etc. to be awarded the prize of a company locating in their area. Why? Because of the jobs, the taxes paid, the boost to the local (or state) economy.  All good things for the winning locality and all losses for the unsuccessful bidder.  So our leaders committed our tax dollars to secure jobs for us in our communities.  

Now we have companies (some had their hands out not long ago) that could hire some of the unemployed but arbitrarily decide to not even give them a look.  They are free to do so, there is no law against taking such a stance.  However, they should feel a moral responsibility to help people in the communities that opened their wallets for them.

I wonder what the response might be from our governments the next time these “employers” threaten to leave one place for another unless state or local coffers are opened? One can only hope that our leaders will remember who refused to hire the unemployed during our great time of need and respond in kind the next time they are promised jobs, commerce and a boost in economy, but only if they are the highest bidder.

So while we can’t make businesses hire the unemployed, we can remember their actions and decline to open our wallets the next time they come asking for a handout  When they ask us to compete financially for the “jobs” they will bring to our  community, we must lay down some ground rules.  Because if they won’t hire anyone who doesn’t already have a job, they are of little help in times like these.  And as taxpayers, we have the right to demand a better return on our investment.      

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