Fired Before Hired: How Corporations Rigged The Job Market And Killed The American Dream

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Daniel Drew via Dark Bid - Truth in Dark Markets blog,

The latest corporate scam is to blame workers for the high unemployment rate. They say there is a skills gap. Even President Obama is in on the joke. In his most recent State of the Union address, Obama called for Congress to make community college free. Because nothing will get you a job more than an associate's degree from your local college.

The real skills gap is the other way around: too many skills for the low-wage menial jobs that pervade the labor market. The person who makes your coffee or your Big Mac might be able to design the next major bridge or write for The New York Times. Instead of high school kids cooking up your lunch, true professionals are behind the counter, and the future of the country is behind it too. The longer they stay there, the odds increase that America will take a permanent backseat in global power. In one short century, we have gone from superpower to super size me, a plutocracy, a nation that wasted its most valuable resource: the energy and innovation of its own people.

As you send your resume for the latest job ad, do you ever feel like the labor market is rigged against you? The job boards have turned into such black holes that we need Stephen Hawking to come work out the equations for us. You send your resume in, and it disappears.

In 2012, Eric Auld, an unemployed 26-year-old with a master's degree in English, decided to find out what was on the other side of the black hole. He created a fake job ad as an experiment:

Administrative Assistant needed for busy Midtown office. Hours are Monday through Friday, nine to five. Job duties include: filing, copying, answering phones, sending e-mails, greeting clients, scheduling appointments. Previous experience in an office setting preferred, but will train the right candidate. This is a full-time position with health benefits. Please e-mail résumé if interested. Compensation: $12-$13 per hour.

If you have ever applied for a job like that, I offer my condolences. You have better odds at the casino. Auld received 653 responses in 24 hours. 10% of the applicants had more than 10 years of experience, and 3% of them had master's degrees. Presumably, one of them would get the job. But what does that mean? It means that all the other experienced applicants and master's degree holders would remain unemployed. That is about 64 experienced workers and about 19 workers with master's degrees. The only way to get a job like this is if you are sleeping with the human resources manager. And this is for a job that pays $12 in Manhattan. If this doesn't qualify the United States as a third world country, what will?

Applicants by Experience

Applicants by Education

Peter Cappelli, author of Why Good People Can't Get Jobs, received an email from an employee who said their company accepted 25,000 applications for a single engineering job, and the human resources team said no one was qualified. Cappelli said, "Not being able or willing to pay the market price for talent does not constitute a shortage."

A New York Times reporter wanted to find out if the skills gap was real. He visited the engineering technology program at Queensborough Community College in New York City. There are no excuses here. This isn't medieval literature or art history. This is engineering. It is also a community college, which will soon become free if Obama has his way. In this particular tech program, the goal is to create manufacturing employees who can keep up in the era of automation. This is a textbook case for Obama, who said 80% of manufacturers have jobs they can't fill. The National Association of Manufacturers estimates that there are 600,000 jobs waiting for anyone who has the right skills.

Well - what they really meant was the right skills and the desperation to work for McJob wages.

The New York Times reporter quickly discovered how much of a sham the skills gap really is. Eric Isbister, the CEO of GenMet, a metal-fabricating manufacturer near Milwaukee, said he would hire any skilled workers who showed up. He received over a thousand applications, but only 25 had the alleged proper skills. Eventually, he fired 15 of them. Apparently, they were not happy at work. Perhaps it's because he started them out at $10 per hour. If you had an associate's degree, you could get $15. If you were lucky enough to still have a job after a few years, you might get $18 per hour - depending on performance. The local McDonald's manager makes $14.

Mark Price, a labor economist at the Keystone Research Center, called their bluff, "If there’s a skill shortage, there has to be rises in wages. It's basic economics." But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of skilled jobs has declined along with wages. There is no demand for skilled jobs. The true demand is for McJobs.

Think those manufacturing employees were unlucky to be doing high-skilled work at McJob rates? Think again. According to the Economic Policy Institute, for every two American college graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, only one of them is hired into a job in their field. In an analysis across every industry, they offer some important conclusions for us:

"Millions cannot find work no matter what they do because the jobs simply are not there.

Workers with a college degree or more still have unemployment rates that are more than one-and-a-half times as high as they were before the recession began.

In every occupational category demand for workers is lower than it was five years ago.

There are between 1.4 and 10.5 times as many unemployed workers as job openings in every industry.

In no industry does the number of job openings even come close to the number of people looking for work.

In no occupation is there any hint of wages being bid up in a way that would indicate tight labor markets or labor shortages.

There are simply no structural changes capable of explaining the pattern of sustained high unemployment over the last five years. What we have, instead, is an aggregate demand problem."

Paul Krugman called the skills gap a "zombie idea" that should have been killed by evidence but refuses to die. He said if there is really a skills gap, then "show us the money. Stop making excuses for an economy that punishes workers." Peter Cappelli said employers want to fill their positions without any training. The only way to get a job is if you already have that exact job somewhere else, and at that point, you probably wouldn't want it anyway. In the 1990s tech boom, only about 10% of people in IT jobs in Silicon Valley actually had tech degrees. According to Taleo, about two thirds of all jobs are filled by new applicants, rather than through internal promotions. A generation ago, 90% of jobs were filled with internal transfers and promotions. The employers demand loyalty, but they don't provide any reason to be loyal to them.

The next time you see a McJob worker getting your donut, don't be surprised if they graduated with honors. And if community college becomes free, then even more uber-educated Americans can make Big Macs. 30% of college graduates are consistently underemployed. They can calculate the volume of your supersized drink, but they can't make more than minimum wage while doing it because there is a "skills gap." I think I know where the real gap is: According to Credit Suisse, if wealth were evenly distributed across every adult in America, each adult would have $301,140.

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wendigo's picture
wendigo (not verified) Jan 28, 2015 6:09 PM

What happened to the American Dream? It came true!


-The Comedian

TungstenBars's picture

"In one short century, we have gone from superpower to super size me, a plutocracy, a nation that wasted its most valuable resource: the energy and innovation of its own people."


All by design. Less competition

Escrava Isaura's picture



In one short sentence:

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function" -- Albert Bartlett

rocker's picture

That being: "We are Worse than Japan now" They have a 10 year head start.

Ignatius's picture

"In one short century, we have gone from superpower to super size me, a plutocracy, a nation that wasted its most valuable resource: the energy and innovation of its own people."

And this...  What has occurred, as unlikely as it may seem, was planned for over 100 years ago.  Our shitty obedience training schools are not the result of mis-guidance, but venal guidance -- it was a deliberate action to deal with mass production and preserving the position and capital of the ruling elite. Read former NY City and State Teacher of the Year, John Taylor Gatto for the extensive details:

nmewn's picture

Gatto lays it out pretty well.

"We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forego the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks." - Woodrow Wilson

He was very "progressive" ;-)

Ignatius's picture

That's one of the money quotes.

Clashfan's picture

Beware of nmewn the 911 truth denier. Still believe buildings can fall into their own footprints at freefall speed? You might need some education.

Bendromeda Strain's picture

When does Two Minutes Hate begin? Can we do the climate deniers next? Huh, can we can we?

Try and stay on topic, Zippy. Don't forget, it was "your team" who oversaw the bombing of the Murrah building (then murdered an African American cop during the coverup - how progressive).

Ghordius's picture

Two Minutes Hate? from my perspective, from the moment when ZH's clock strikes 8:30 on

A Nanny Moose's picture

School Suck Podcast has some good episodes with excerpts from JTG's book. has done some great work continuing what JTG started (including a long interview with JTG), and renewing interest in Caroll Quigley (hence the name).

Ignatius's picture

>> (including a long interview with JTG)

The Ultimate History Lesson -- got it on DVD. 

If you're not already familiar, check out author Douglas Valentine:

Doug has done for understanding the Drug War and CIA what Gatto has done for dissecting the school system.

Nostradumbass's picture

Rich Grove and his girlfriend, Lisa Arbercheski are doing very important work at T&H.

Rich discovered and exposed a backdoor in some financial software program. He quickly became persona non grata after this and narrowly escaped his death in the collapse of one of the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001 as he was running late for a meeting.

T&H is worthy of your support.




Greetings, and Welcome to Tragedy and Hope dot com! My name is Richard Grove, and to keep it simple, here’s a summary of why this site exists:

We exist, and as human beings, we depend on reason to survive and thrive in life; therefore, the content on this site is necessary to an individual’s ability to think rationally about the world we all share.

Tragedy and Hope creates educational media and provides a comprehensive, cogent, open-source, educational model for adults; providing individuals with the access, tools, and resources, to attain coherent perspectives at/and/above the Ph.D. level. That’s a bold statement, so if I were reading the aforementioned assertion, I would ask for proof.

Here it is: There is no proof without logic, no logic without cause and effect, no cause and effect without the law of identity (things are what they are), and no knowledge of existence without our 5-senses and our conscious ability to perceive that which exists. Existence (or Reality) is every substance, action, relationship, and attribute which is, was, or ever will be; the world is made up of words (universals) which describes that which exists (particulars).

If an individual has attained a Ph.D. level certificate from schooling, and chose to challenge the validity of the heretofore-referenced argument, then that individual would then need to consume, digest, and compare their schooling to the streams of consciousness enabled by our productions.

Therefore, if a logical, reasonable, individual did the necessary observation, due diligence, and comparisons necessary to intellectually change said argument, then it would be impossible to challenge the argument, for the simple fact that all Ph.D. level certificates by definition are awarded to those who participate in a compartmentalized (or partial) focus of schooling; being that what we offer here at T&H is a comprehensive education, which recognizes and provides for the short-comings and blind spots of the Ph.D. system, which are inherent to its design, form, and function. We find risky to judge before understanding any new subject, and we likewise find it more logical to observe first, then ask questions to understand, which then removes the risks inherent to the decision-making process of “judgment”; as the facts become obvious, so do our choices. That being read, if you are a Ph.D. and present an argument which has clear terms, true premises, and thus is valid; your argument will be entertained if it is relevant and substantial, as we are most interested in learning and improving our awareness and communication skills. Also, if you are a Ph.D. and have consumed our productions, you have, by definition, just experienced 240+ hours of curriculum which were not offered to you within your Ph.D. education, and by default, are beyond Ph.D. level.

We chose the name “Tragedy and Hope” for several reasons, one of which being the importance of a history book of the same name “Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time” by Professor Carroll Quigley; Quigley’s book was censored and suppressed, due to the fact that he published a book which factually and actually demonstrated that reason, rationality, and the ability to plan effectively, make informed decisions, and thus liberty- had been systematically and purposely removed from the public mind… by Who? Quigley discloses this as well, in the last several hundred pages of his book. After teaching at Harvard, Princeton, and Georgetown (as well as mentoring Rhodes Scholar William J. Clinton), Quigley is remembered for his tomes on how the world works, and who runs it; and this line of history proves out in reality, even though it is the direct opposite of what we’re taught in schools, and believe through corporate media.

Witnessing this fact, we decided to research and discover what had been removed from the public mind, andreplace the essential tools of living; so that individuals could once again enjoy the liberty, serenity, and satisfaction that comes from thinking and acting with consistent methods of reason and rationality, making informed decisions and planning effectively for surviving and thriving through life’s path.

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TeethVillage88s's picture

You have an anti-intellectual side based on your comments to me.

How do you answer to these charges as an Anarchist? I like what I hear from European Anarchists, but you made a mistake. You challenged me based on my using terminology. This is Anti-Intellectualism.

You don't like Economic terms, get a room with yourself.

"teeth, you and your economic terms"

- sorry you don't know science or defining terms.

Buck Johnson's picture

Yes it's by design, in order to lower American salaries to other countries salaries.  Also it's to weaken the US and make it into a full plutocracy.


Obamamerica's picture

We live in a kakistocracy 

drendebe10's picture

Everyone on their feet for a standing ovation for the incompetent, corrupt, divisive arrogant narcissitic illegal indonesian kenyan alien muslim sociopathic pathological liar in chief fudgepacke for looking out for all the tax paying US citizen serfs and peasants while it enjoys its celebrity grand imperial golf lifestyle.....  

Peon14's picture

You spell it out pretty good with a whole lot of truth unfortunately 50% of Americans don't won't to hear it.

artless's picture

"Everyone on their feet for a standing ovation for the incompetent, corrupt, divisive arrogant narcissitic illegal indonesian kenyan..."

Now THERE is a skills gap. We keep goinmg from dumb to dumber when it comes to presidents.

WTFUD's picture

Am betting 3/4 of those down votes are working for .gov, probably i'm 25% wrong and it's a FULL HOUSE. One of them most likely cleans Barry's Balls ( with his tongue ).

JimBowie1958's picture

If a cat has its kittens in an oven it dont make them buscuits.

I dont care if Obwama was born in the US or not, he is still a fucking Kenyan Muslim commie fuck.

But he is our President and we must be respectful.


Buck Johnson's picture

Thats so true, The American Dream is here.  Our problem is that we thought it was for everybody and it wasn't.  It was just for the rich and the rich used the old tried and true concept of divide and conqure to put black against white and poor agains "rich" in order to make sure that they didn't see what was being done for the elite and super wealthy. 

dimwitted economist's picture

Look.. this economy is Fucking GREAT!!!! everybody go buy a new SUV Pronto!

Romney Wordsworth's picture
Romney Wordsworth (not verified) Jan 28, 2015 6:14 PM

The realization of the Balfour Agreement changed, rerouted, bastardized, & altered the path of the 'American Dream' forever.

Rainman's picture

Meanwhile, my high skool dropout plumber tools around town in a Posrsche .

Romney Wordsworth's picture
Romney Wordsworth (not verified) Rainman Jan 28, 2015 6:24 PM

Is that like a GHETTO [Louis Vuitton Bag] knockoff version of a PORSCHE?

nmewn's picture

A little sweat & knowing the end of a shitter pipe has to be lower than the beginning is pretty damned important ;-)

cnmcdee's picture

That is true supply and demand - the plumber charges $100/hr and gets it - because when some kid flushes a toy and clogs up the sewer - who wants to be elbow deep and spattered in shit?  Secondly who has a $5000 router to clear the line?



Bad Attitude's picture

Your plumber has a job that can't be outsourced, requires skills that cannot simply be acquired from a book, and frequently involves "icky" tasks. Further, your plumber probably has a license, which is a barrier to entry for illegals.

To put it another way, your plumber is an enemy of the regime.

Forward (over the cliff)!

stant's picture

Yes they day maybe unstoping the drains at Wally the next day putting in a deionized water system on a windtunnel.. But a wize old plumber told me its the 2 dalla ticket that keeps the track open.not those big jobs

artless's picture

Just to play devil's advocate:

I hired a guy to do some plumbing for me 4 years back. Had to write the check out to his kid. I'm guessing he, himself was illegal. Great work, decent price. Would have done it myself had I all the skills and tools. Personally I don't give a shit if he has The State's silly piece of paper or not. All that shit should be private and graded by the respective rating agency but that's another story...

Point is that licences, fees, unions, syndicates etc are all just bullshit barrriers that use the power of the state and its enforcement mechanism (violence) to obstruct free exhange of value between to individuals. Perhaps his efforts underbid and are delationary by definition but that's free market folks. And you better thank god we still have a shred of that here in the USSA or you might not be able to feed yourself if there wasn't this kind of price discovery in agriculture.Or there would just be shortages-see Venezuela, USSR, China (Mao's time) and every other syndicated, regulated shit mess.

Yes, MY plumber is kinda an enemy of the regime. He erects his middle finger to the corrupt power of the state.

Good for him!

shovelhead's picture

He probably has tax liens under his old business name. Those quarterlies sometimes tend to disappear into materials for the next job...and the next.

Some folks just aren't that impressed by the powers of the State and work around them.

willwork4food's picture

Or your plumber is fighting credit card banks. You would be surprised how much it costs to file chapter7BK in this country.

new game's picture

plutocracy>violence>fascism or ?????(not talking about hope and change).


kowalli's picture

you have fascism already

HardAssets's picture

Those sheep which even think about it - and they are relatively few - think we have 'capitalism'. Ain't so, of course. The big insider corporations have cronyism and fascism.

kowalli's picture

Corporations and banks  + NSA,CIA,FBI and other narcotics services are government of USA

mickeyman's picture

Unpossible! Obama says we are in a recovery!

nmewn's picture

"The shadow of crisis has past!"

jon dough's picture


The next shadow you see will be the Vogon Constructor Fleet.

mademesmile's picture

"The shadow of crisis has passed."
must be followed with
"..overhead and is circling back for a crash landing"

Bossman1967's picture

and Yellen said the recovery and economy is solid!!! my balls on her chin would be solid. gross my balls deserve better but in this economy you have to do it for your country even granny needs some chin nuts

cynicalskeptic's picture

Skills gap?!!?



You know what they want to pay a skilled CNC operator who can run a 3 axis machine and do any of the programming required?  Little more than minimum wage.  LESS than an average union factory worker used to make.

You've got plenty of workers with SKILLS - they've gotten rid of the JOBS because they don't want to pay what those jobs are worth (at least in the US).

It's been an ongoing fraud.  All those workers retrained as programmers and systems analysts saw THOSE jobs shipped whole sale to India.

Corporate America - GLOBAL Corporations - are in an endless pursuit of the cheapest possible labor costs irrespective of the ramifications.  They ship factories overseas to cheap labor providers or bring in cheap labor (legally via H1B's for high skill jobs  or illegally for low skill ones) to suppress wages.  'Free Trade' has been all about bposting profits by dropping wages.  Perot and others warned about what would happen.  The Western Democracies destroyed their jobs base - and democracy.  

BOTH political parties in the US push free trade.  The TPP will be the death knell.

Listen to James Goldsmith on Charlie Rose in 1994 on GATT

rocker's picture

Think of it this way. Koch Bros own most of America's jobs. They just bought MOLX a little while back. Electrical Connector manufacturer who had 37,000 empolyees and paid 7.2 Billion in Cash for Molex. If I worked for them I would have shit myself on the news. Does Koch Industries need the money. Not !!!

Why, Because they have so much Cash and money they will spend about 900 BILLION Dollars to high jack US Elections in 2016.

Oligarchy is what they are. They care not about Elephants or Donkeys. They care about themseles. They are the Rulers of America now. 

Binko's picture

That's 900 MILLIOn dollars. Still a huge amount and your primary point is valid.

It would take 18 x Bill Gates to come up with 900 Billion bucks and they'd have to cash out every asset they have.

ZerOhead's picture

That is a great interview.

Might as well finish the job by having digital courtrooms and outsource our lawyers to India for $10 per hour rather than the current $300+.

Perhaps we could even give special visas to Chinese doctors to work here to get medical costs down by 80% or so.

Somehow I think that the AMA and the ABA would raise whatever it takes to buy the politicians and keep their 1%ers safe from the kind of neoliberal competition that the rest of us slugs have to contend with.

Call it a hunch...

Bossman1967's picture

sounds like it's time to leave this country as my grandparents left Italy under mucalleni mispelled but... an Obama bush clinton made America oh yes let the good times roll

TeethVillage88s's picture

Jez-zus. Talk about "Gaslighting". Wow.


"You know what they want to pay a skilled CNC operator who can run a 3 axis machine and do any of the programming required? Little more than Minimum Wage. "