Are ‘fake’ job ads hyping up US jobs data?

Taylor Goucher is urgently looking for an accountant and customer support technician to work for Connext Global Solutions, an outsourcing consulting firm, where he leads customer services.

But that’s not the only job listing the company has posted. They also have five additional rosters, for engineers and a vice president, from which he plans to quit indefinitely.

“For the really tough openings, the right people just come in often, so we have to leave them open and just wait and hope that at some point a good candidate comes through. ,” said Goucher. adopted the strategy 18 months ago after working for a role for nine months with no results.

Some economists suspect that Goucher may be among a growing number of employers posting so-called purple squirrel positions that have been left indefinitely in the hope of finding the rare kind of perfect candidate. Forest animal with pastel plumage. If true, it could help explain why employment figures are still up.

“These are purple squirrel vacancies,” said Christopher Waller, a Federal Reserve governor, told reporters after a speech before the Institute of Financial and Monetary Stability in Frankfurt. “They’re not real.”

For Waller, such vacancies reinforce the US central bank’s case for tightening financial conditions. If long-term job listings are exaggerating employment figures, labor demand may not be as expected. That could help reduce the number of vacancies advertised by companies without significantly altering the unemployment rate. Fed is raising interest rates to ease inflationary but concerns persist that the sharp increase could cripple the job market or trigger a recession.

WE employers added 390,000 jobs in May, the labor department reported on Friday.

Most of the 11.4 million jobs reported in April were not waiting for “purple squirrels”. An analysis by Goldman Sachs shows that two-thirds of current listings have been posted in the past 90 days, a higher percentage than before the coronavirus pandemic. However, the number of vacancies that employers fill monthly hit an all-time low in March.

“It’s not because companies are getting more picky,” said Julia Pollak, chief economist at job site ZipRecruiter. “On the contrary, many are reducing their requirements for experience and education.

That’s because, despite the reduction in requirements, recruiters are still not finding enough interested, qualified people for each vacancy, Pollak added. “Many employers are making offers to multiple candidates and find them all turning down offers for other opportunities because they are being outbid.”

Some frustrated job seekers shared Waller’s suspicions. Julia Laico has been looking for a starting job for months after graduating from Emory University in Atlanta in May. She said she expected the process to be quick because of a shortage of workers, but instead spent hours sorting through dormant job listings. In the end, she received a two-month scholarship with a non-profit educational institution.

“I expect more professionalism from many employers,” says Laico. “There was a lot of unresponsiveness, even after the interview. And I fully understand that companies cannot accommodate every candidate because of the sheer number of applicants.”

Patricia Lenkov, an executive recruiter in New York, says that recruiters are increasingly choosing who they hire after a year of experimenting with less qualified candidates because of worker shortages, which could mean This can lead to a slower and more frustrating hiring process.

Cathi Canfield of the industrial human resources group EmployBridge said that other companies have not “cleaned up” their job ads after months of struggling to find employees who quit during the pandemic.

Such is the case with OSP International, a Tuscon company that organizes training courses for project managers.

Cornelius Fichtner, OSP president, said: “We understand that it’s impossible to find a candidate with all the skills you need, but we keep those vacancies open just in case luck,” said Cornelius Fichtner, president of OSP. “We don’t get lucky too often, though.”

Employers and economists agree that job seekers still have the upper hand in today’s job market. Joe Mullings, executive director of talent acquisition at The Mullings Group, warns that attracting “purple squirrels” makes it harder than ever for recruiters.

“The reality is, the best people don’t usually go out looking for jobs, and they don’t blindly respond to job ads or send their resumes to human resources,” says Mullings.

Goucher says his “purple squirrel” vacancies helped him hire qualified engineers he might have missed.

“It’s a different strategy,” says Goucher. “Instead of hunting, you can fish.”

Additional reporting by Joe Rennison

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