Being All Things to All People
We're Impressed With Your Background, But...
Employers have become extremely selective. This has been a growing trend, and a rather nauseating one at that. In tech for instance, an employer can ask that you be able to program in computer languages that didn't exist six months ago plus wanting you to be fluent in Swahili while performing an expert scissor dive off the high board.
A person can train to meet extremely selective job requirements, but it takes time, and a mere educational certificate is insufficient. Job descriptions, often written by no-nothing HR clerks, can post for a job where they want someone with two-three years of on-the-job experience programming (for instance) in a version of Java that didn't exist until the last three weeks.
Employers look for instantaneous solutions in their hiring -- not looking either backward or forward. They just want an immediate fix to a hole that exists in their latest initiative, which may (or may not) see the light of day. They are trying so hard to be top dogs in their field that they give no time to long-term strategy.
Everything is project-driven -- thus the high number of short-term contract positions. Business is evolving at such a rate that executives can only think in terms of increments. They themselves do not have an unshakable sense that their line of business will be around in the next four months.
Executives have to act like shaman, or tea leaf readers, making the best guess possible about short- and long-term longevity. For a job seeker, this is pure madness and often a humiliation.
The business world has always been a dark carnival, but today it more closely resembles a freak show, where no one really knows what is happening. Even for the employed there are few who feel secure in their positions -- because their level of expertise can become obsolete overnight.
Many unemployed would rather remain in their private limbo than re-enter this stomach-churning circus. Human beings were not designed for this hyper-level of capitalistic evolution -- and there will be many drawback to the society as a whole because no one is managing the house. We're only getting a glimpse of the environment over the horizon.