The latest (July 2017) research by The I Z A Institute of Labor Economics reaffirms something we’ve known for some time now – from past labor and employment research and (possibly) experience: the longer you’re unemployed, the harder it is to find a job. But, it also goes one step further, providing insight into the thought patterns of those in hiring positions.
The lab experiment study, conducted by Eva Van Belle, Doctoral Researcher at Ghent University and other researchers from Ghent University (Professor Stijn Baert), KU Leuven (Professor Ralf Caers), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Lecturer Marijke De Couck), and the University of Oxford (Postdoctoral Researcher Valentina Di Stasio), evaluated the length of unemployment – using fictitious job candidates (differing in gender, educational attainment, work experience, and social activities) and participating HR professionals – on one’s chances of being hired. The participants, for the experiment, not only made hiring decisions, but also rated these qualified candidates based on their perceived characteristics: general signaling theory (lower motivation, intellectual and social capabilities), skill loss (or depreciation), queuing theory (lower trainability), and rational herding (based on the belief: if unemployed job applicants were productive, they would’ve been hired).
Three weeks ago, a relative suffered a traumatic injury from a bad accident. It didn’t look good, when he was first transported to the hospital. He suffered greatly from pain. But, through it all, I’ve been observing him fight back and endure with a strength no human gives.
Through my observations of his experience, I couldn’t help but reflect on the trauma of unemployment.
The job market has changed severely since the Great Recession (though massive layoffs occurred before). The United States’ unemployment rate still hovers at 5.0% (4.9% in the UK). What also hasn’t changed much, as recently reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, is the number of ‘unemployed persons’: 7.9 million.
Without question, this is a significant number of people dealing with unemployment. And the number of ‘long-term unemployed persons’ (those without jobs for 27 weeks or more) is worth noting: 2.0 million people.
Kevin Meyer, Public Affairs Specialist at the U. S. Department of Labor, shared his long-term unemployment story in a piece on the Department of Labor’s blog. The piece is entitled, Long-Term Unemployment, A Problem That Hits Home.
Meyer published this piece after attending the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development’s roundtable discussion in New Jersey. Several older, long-term unemployed professionals in New Jersey discussed their circumstances and searches for employment with the US Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, his staff, and other officials during this discussion.