Unfortunately, record corporate profits have not translated to lowering our unacceptably high rate of unemployment. Here’s one explanation why: Despite the fact that there are more than 14 million people looking for work (and nearly 7 million who’ve been unemployed for six months or more) , many CEOs contend they can’t find qualified people to fill their open positions. This may seem counterintuitive until you learn that many companies are refusing to consider hiring from the ranks of the unemployed. The mentality is: “If they’re not working, there must be a good reason for it.” Recently, there have been a number of news reports about this phenomenon, and I’m pleased that it’s getting some attention. Rather than complain about a skills gap, CEOs would be smart to take a hard look at the treasure trove of talent currently sitting on the sidelines.
Several years ago, I saw a trailer for a documentary called Lemonade. It’s about individuals who had lost their jobs in the ad agency business during a time of sweeping layoffs aimed more at cutting costs, than keeping talented employees. As a result, people through no fault of their own, lost their jobs and found themselves looking for new opportunities to practice in their chosen field. Now they continue to be penalized because of their former employers’ decisions.
Lemonade is a documentary film about people who would eventually view their layoff not as a pink slip, but as a blank page. Take a moment to meet them as part of this brief 2009 report from CBS News:
While not everyone is an entrepreneur, there are millions of talented people, like the ones featured in the video, who are eager to begin a new chapter in their lives – hoping to bring their talents and experience, along with renewed energy and excitement to your workplace. Today’s CEOs would be wise to make some lemonade of their own and think about the pink slip in a whole new light.