Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday Musings on the Pittsburgh Hourly Job Market

We have written a lot recently about the evidence transpiring for a strong hiring season for hourly workers in the Pittsburgh area. This spring is trending toward the strongest we have seen since 2001. However, we need to be careful about painting such an optimistic picture that it would appear anybody with a pulse should have no problem venturing out and landing the first job they apply to. When we speak about hourly workers, especially entry level hourly workers, we are hearing very disturbing evidence that a high number of applicants coming directly out of school do not have the basic skills in reading or math to be able to do many of these jobs adequately.

We recently read an interesting blog post by Harold Miller, President of Future Strategies, LLC, titled “Help Wanted? Help Needed by Young Adults”. Mr. Miller writes about the high poverty and unemployment rate of 18 to 24 year olds in the Pittsburgh area. The point he makes about some of the reasons are valid. The lack of job growth in recent past years being a predominant reason. He also writes about the high number of students who will be graduating soon that are below proficient on state test scores, with percentages over 40%. Quote; “Why are so many of these young adults unemployed? Part of the answer is undoubtedly the slow job growth in the region. But many employers are complaining that they can’t find workers for entry-level jobs. Where’s the disconnect? In a lot of cases, it’s lack of skills”.

We posted a comment on Mr. Miller’s blog:
Of great concern is why these kids are not proficient. Certainly the schools have room for improvement. Fortunately the job market in Pittsburgh is visibly improving. The largest issue in our opinion is too many kids are not being taught at home the benefits of working hard at school. It’s an issue of INCLUSION. Far too many of our students do not feel hard work on their part will ever pay off. They have given up hope at an early age and withdrawn into a drug and/or crime infested subculture. This sub culture is what has created the “it’s not cool to be smart” paradigm. The long term solution that might show the best result would be proactively showing all kids when they reach 7th, 8th and 9th grade what working hard now will mean to them later in life. This would have to mean corporate and business leaders getting directly involved by going into our schools and mentoring our students. Our schools can not do this by themselves.
By not addressing this issue for such a long time employers are now reporting that it’s not that we don’t have enough entry level hourly workers. The problem is we do not have enough QUALIFIED entry level hourly workers. With projections now over the next 5 years of the possibility for a severe worker shortage in Pittsburgh due to the large construction projects and current hiring plans it will be a shame if this is exacerbated by a large percentage of young people who simply cannot read.

No comments:

Truly a 'Burgh Thing!

Truly a 'Burgh Thing!
by Randy Bish, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

Job News and Information for Job Seekers and Recruiters

Job News and Information for Job Seekers and Recruiters