Technology actually keeps many smart people from reaching each other. I believe that, and I’m going to show you how. Trey Popp’s article on the downside of online job-hiring software proves the point. In late 2012, the federal government reported 3.6 million job openings remained unfilled. Yet, as Popp wrote, “for every one of those openings, there were still somewhere between three and four unemployed Americans eager for work—or nearly six, if you counted people working part-time because they couldn’t find a full-time job.” Jobs are going unfilled because—the seeking companies claim—no one qualified has emerged. How could that be?
Popp interviews Peter Cappelli, Wharton School professor at the University of Pennsylvania (my alma mater; I read this in my new alumni magazine, the Pennsylvania Gazette), who has tracked the weirdness behind the statistics. Jobs remain unfilled because the candidates were supposed to be proficient in every little thing, even something like a simple new software that would require an hour or two of training on the job. “Unlike a machine part,” Cappelli said, “no perfect fit exists between applicants and job requirements.”