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Reasons for unemployment Reasons for unemployment
by Joseph Gatt
2019-03-27 09:34:19
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All the reasons for unemployment you might think of. Unemployment is not just people without a job looking for a job. In many cases it's more complicated than that.

-I have no skills.

When you don't have marketable skills, finding a job can be complicated. Jobs that don't require skills exist, on-the-job training exists in some companies and industries, but many industries give the priority to those who have one skill or the other. 

-I have skills but there are no firms demanding my skills.

unep01_400Some people can have skills that are way too specialized and no firms demand such skills. Playing a very rare type of music instrument, fixing a very specific type of machinery or in some cases having obsolete skills can lead to people keeping browsing ads and not find anyone looking for people with their skills.

-I have skills but there are only one or two firms demanding my skills, and they won't hire me.

In some cases you might have skills but there's only one employer for that skill. Let's say you're a fire fighter and that's your skill. If the fire department won't hire you, you won't find a job anywhere else.

-I have skills but there are only two or three firms demanding my skills, I worked for all of them, quit all of them, and won't go back to any of them.

In some small towns you don't have much of a choice when it comes to having a job, thus your reputation being very important. In some cases you can work for a company in your small town, not like the job there, work for the other one, not like it either, and as you quit both firms you no longer have the option to work in your field as there are no other firms. You either get hired by either of both firms, or stay unemployed. 

-I have skills and there are many firms hiring, but they seem not to hire anyone above a certain age.

In some countries, age plays an important role. Some industries don't hire anyone above 25 for example, and if you're over 25, they won't hire you.

-I have skills and there are many firms hiring, but they seem to discriminate and not want to hire people from my ethnic/national group.

Discrimination exists, in some cases in overt forms in other cases in covert forms. If you're from the wrong ethnic group, some firms might not hire you. 

-I have skills but have the wrong passport.

If you're an immigrant some jobs are reserved for the locals. Other jobs can be reserved for certain nationalities. That means you would have to acquire a foreign passport to work in the industry.

-I have skills and there are many firms hiring, but most of them are located far from where I live. The salary they offer is too low for me to rent an apartment near their workplace.

In some cases you might get a job offer, but which is a three-hour ride from your workplace. Your mother or wife might insist you take the job, but it's either waking up at 3 AM and coming home at 10 PM every day or renting a place near your workplace. If rent is too expensive, you have to opt out of that job.

-I have skills and there are many firms hiring, but they are all located in distant cities. I can't apply in distant cities because my country has a tribal culture and it would be hard for me to have a social life in the city I'll be moving to.

In the United States no one cares if you're from Idaho or Louisiana. In Canada no one cares if you're from Alberta or Quebec. But in some countries, cultural differences are so vast between regions that you'll have a lot of trouble fitting into the local culture. And you will be ridiculed for your cultural traits, which is why many refuse jobs in distant cities.

-I have skills and there are many firms hiring in distant cities, but the pay they offer is too low for me to relocate.

In some countries, there are jobs available in distant cities, only the pay is so low you can't afford to rent or make a decent living in the city, so you would rather stay home with your parents.

-I have skills and experience but don't want to be at a lower position with low status within the company.

In some cases you might be offered a low-level job despite having an advanced degree or advanced skills. Some people might take the job; others don't want to lose their reputation by being in such a low-ranked position.

-I don't have skills but unskilled jobs don't even cover my transportation fees when it comes to pay.

If you don't have skills, in some cases minimum wage guarantees an acceptable standard of living. In other countries, minimum wage is so low you spend 75% of your paycheck in transportation, and have enough money left for two days worth of groceries. Not a good bargain.

-I have skills and experience but I'm “overqualified” and let's define overqualified here. Overqualified means that companies often resort to internal promotions rather than hiring externally for higher-ranked positions. I would have to start at a low position and gradually go up the promotions to finally reach a position that matches my skills and experience.

There are a lot of misunderstandings over what “overqualified” means. If someone tells you “I'm overqualified thus can't get a job” they are probably not showing off. They mean that in their country people at high-ranking positions tend to be hired internally by internal promotion. Which means that if you're an outsider, you would have to start at a very low position and move your way up the promotions. 

-I have skills but live in a small town and I have something of a bad reputation with employers.

If you live in a small village or town, and have a reputation for being lazy on the job or having too much of a temper on the job, they might skip you at hiring.

-I have skills but the skills I have are mostly jobs that require you to work the kind of hours I would need to be home with the kids.

Big one. A lot of people, especially women, can't take jobs that require too much overtime work, because they have to be at home with the kids. Unfortunately, in many countries and in many industries, overtime work is the norm and you would lose your job if you went home at 5 PM.

-I have skills and could start a business, but the production costs for the business are way too high.

If you don't have a job you can always start a business. But in some countries rent, production costs and hiring staff is so expensive it's just not an option for some people as they don't have money and don't want to risk a loan.

-I have skills and failed a couple of businesses, and the experience running my businesses doesn't ring well with employers.

If you had a business that failed and want to get back in the workplace, a lot of employers won't hire people who bankrupted their business.

-I have skills but have a destructive alcohol/drug/gambling addiction that makes me perform poorly on the job.

Obviously, if you have addiction problems, you'll have trouble finding a job, and more trouble keeping the job. 

-I have skills but was raised in a foreign culture; I don't fit into the local corporate culture.

Culture tends to be overlooked when it comes to unemployment. Some people grew up in “free” countries and end up in their passport countries having to work in companies where “freedom” is considered an insult.

-I have skills but my industry keeps demanding more and more skills.

In some industries, innovation moves at a very high pace and you constantly need more skills. Problem is such industries tend to have flexible labor forces and will fire people and hire those with the right skills.

-I have skills but my industry keeps changing and wages are much lower than they used to be.

Some industries were once lucrative and now pay much lower wages. Think of the IT industry for example, where people once made six-figure and now the average worker makes five-figures. Some workers have not digested the pay cut.

-I have skills but the industry I work in is in recession and is not hiring many people, and when you do get hired you can't keep your job for long.

Think of the oil industry which is in recession right now in 2019. I remember in 2011 walking around college campuses and all the business majors telling me they wanted to work for the oil industry because that industry was booming. Or think of the education industry, which around 2010 was booming and many flocked to get expensive degrees in education, only to find the industry in recession.

-I have skills but the labor market is rigid and I didn't make the cut at the first draft, meaning I can no longer work for my industry.

Some industries are like the NBA. You have to make it to the draft; otherwise you miss an entire season. In some cases, some industries only allow you to apply to the draft once, and if you fail, you're no longer allowed in.

-I have many, many skills, but I keep browsing the ads and don't see any employer demanding those skills.

Unfortunately, employers and potential employees rarely meet. This means employers don't know what's out there when it comes to skills. Employers often demand skills that don't exist in the workplace, while employees don't find ads that fit their skill set.

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