Jobs in Detroit, But Employers Are Way Too Picky

Detroit companies are looking for analysts focusing on computer systems, network systems and data communications, as well as software engineers, network admins and systems admins. But even though they acknowledge a lot of tech professionals are out there looking for work, they can’t find people to fill these jobs.

One professional told the Detroit News he’s been job hunting for four years. “I’ve been falling into this limbo area,” he said, contending that employers are being too picky. At least one executive on the hiring side agrees. Companies, said Steve Armstrong, a senior vice president at Kelly Services, often lay out unrealistic — or at least difficult to meet — job requirements.

“Sometimes, those gaps are generated by differences in nomenclature or unrealistic goals of how the work needs to be completed,” he said. “Nobody is the perfect candidate. The employers certainly have to change their expectations.”

It’s a tough dynamic for job seekers, which makes the potential of the Michigan job market all the more frustrating. Researcher IDG estimates 12,500 IT jobs couild be added in the Detroit area by 2015. Among them: Quicken Loans needs to fill 300 IT positions, while GalaxE Solutions is looking to add 500 professionals.

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No Responses to “Jobs in Detroit, But Employers Are Way Too Picky”

  1. Proud Paulbot

    Today’s entry-level, minimum-wage hire with little or no experience is, 10 years later, capable of filling the senior position that pays $90k. Companies used to understand that; it was understood that this is just the way businesses operate. They understood that there must be a constant flow of entry-level employees working their way up through the ranks, so that when the senior employees retire there are qualified applicants to take their place.

    Now, entry-level positions have all but vanished. This is a problem in all industries, but may be most acute in tech. Because tech is always changing, there is not only a need to train college greenies, but continuously retrain experienced workers on new technologies. Neither is being done. (Part of me wonders if this is due to many tech companies being run by people with zero business background or business education. They can program like mad, but they have no idea how to run a business, how to hire, fire and be good leaders.)

    By cutting off the pipeline of entry-level workers, employers are screwing themselves later down the line, when they have senior positions to fill.

    • victor

      “It’s a tough dynamic for job seekers, which makes the potential of the Michigan job market all the more frustrating”

      I agree with the statement above 100%, it is very difficult for me as a seasoned professional to switch from on programming language, that’s cooled off, to another that’s white hot. I want to transition from Domino/LotusScrip/Javet to C#/Sharepoint. And although lotusscript/Java and C# are very similar languages and was able to learn them easily, I’m having a very hard time getting even short term contracting positions. No one will give me a chance despite my 17 years of experience in IT.

      • Fred Bosick

        That’s because you are something that’s scarier than any mythical creature found near the edges of medieval maps, US IT headcount! They’d rather hire 3 offshore guys and let the internal customer pull his hair out than suffer some executive to lose his globalization bonus.

  2. Amanda Cockels

    I totally agree with your article regarding zero entry-level jobs. I am in my senior year of college and have 25 years experience in the title/real estate industry and am career transitioning into business administration/management. I have applied for internships and entry level Human resource or recruiting openings and can’t even get an interview without 2-3 years experience. It is so frustrating. The offers I do get are from the title industry to process foreclosures at $13.00 an hour. It amazes me how the employers are not willing to fill any entry level positions. Great article and supports my suspicion.

    • Proud Paulbot

      Here’s a great example of a so-called “internship” in my area. They want a “current student” who possesses a laundry list of skill and experience:

      At least this one, unlike many of the “internships” I’ve seen, pays…$12.00 – $15.00/hour, which means they pay $12.00.

      Let’s be realistic: this isn’t an “internship.” An “internship” provides an opportunity for a newbie to learn something. This company doesn’t want an “intern.” They want a low-paid TEMP who doesn’t need any training at all.

      I feel better about the low-level data entry temp job I worked last fall. It only paid $10.00/hour, but the company’s only expectations were the ability to type, use a computer, pass a drug test, show up on time every day, keep your head down and follow orders. That was it. They paid only $2.00/hour less than this “internship” and required about 1/10 of the skill level.

      This company should just be honest and advertise for a temp instead of an “intern.”

  3. I often wonder what the HR departments have to say about this trend. Just about every tech worker I’ve met has run into the same issues. I’m starting to think that universities should start offering degrees in job hunting. I’m not sure about how others out there feel about this, but in my 12yrs in this field, I have easily spend hundreds of hours reading resume writing guides, re-writing cover letters, wordsmithing my emails and so on. It’s a very time consuming process.

    I have applied to many jobs in the past where my qualifications definitely match what is being advertised and have not gotten any response. Strangely enough though, I have gotten jobs through recruiters with job descriptions that I absolutely do not even come close to qualifying for. perhaps 20% of my skills match their requirements. However, once I actually land the job I find that yes, indeed I do have the skills. However, I never would have applied to it given their complex description.

  4. Yeah, I’ve seen requirements a mile long, and then you look at the salary, and its peanuts. (One) is offering 32 bucks an hour to contractors. Good luck getting any to take that rate. Plus companies are their own worst enemies, by not allowing potential employees to know everything and not allowing them to learn you have an ever shrinking audience of capable employees.

    • Proud Paulbot

      Good luck getting anyone to take that kind of money? I’d give anything to make that kind of money. But I will never make $32.00/hour. I will never even approach that type of salary.

      My peak–at a really good marketing contracting job–was about $20.00/hour. And I was devastated when that job ended (through no fault of my own; the work just dried up). My entire life would have been changed if it had kept going, even just for awhile.

    • David K

      I’d love any IT position that would pay me $18/hr… maybe less. I might even entertain $15/hr! My last position was for $25/hr. But, so what?! I’ll go back down. I’m not proud. But, I can’t find an IT position. I’ve been in IT for 10 years as Network Admin, HelpDesk/Desktop Support, and IT Network Consultant. I have setup whole networks, busted the nastiest virus outbreaks, fixed Exchange routing loops that was filling mailboxes like an endless line of mail trucks. I’ve setup VPN connections, and fixed them. I’ve done Disaster Recovery Planning for numerous companies, setup backup schedules, monitored backups, tested backups, lined up replacement PCs, setup offsite backups, done risk assessments, secondary location assessments in case of natural distasters. I’ve recovered all the data for US Military manufacturer from a hard drive that had major head crash in it. I can do soo much! But no calls!
      I don’t want a fish given to me! I know how to fish! I have a pickup truck bed full of fishin poles, but NO water hole to drop a hook in! PLEASE! IT worker SHORTAGE! WHERE? I’ll go fishing there!

  5. Carlo

    No doubt. The job descriptions (never mind the salaries) are simply ridiculous. Employers are consolidating positions, they want you to be a programmer, system administrator, web designer and provide end user technical support all for the price of one. And then they have the audacity of offering $15 an hour to do all of it.

    I have been out of a job for four years (I was in network security for a Fortune 100 making nearly 100K) and now I can’t even get interviews or jobs at $15 an hour doing tech support.

    People with skills are out there, but employers know they have the upper hand and are looking for peons that will lick their boots and thank them for the privilege!

  6. Margaret

    Wake up and smell the coffee. These ads with the laundry list of skill sets and the peanuts pay are there to justify the hiring of H1B workers. There are companies set up to strongly promote the foreign workers – promising these skills and forcing the foreign workers to accept sub-par pay. These companies are cozied up to the HR departments. The workers arrive and their resumes say they have the skills – then the happiness ends – they can’t afford decent living conditions and that list of skill sets, well that was more of a guideline because they don’t all really exist, at least not at the levels needed. What we need are cut-throat recruiters working for the locals.

    • I think the H 1B thing is way overblown, and in this case is kind of beside the point. My point here is very narrow: To take your best shot at either finding a job or finding a candidate — whichever side of the equation you’re on — you have to understand the dynamics that are out there may not be the dynamics you want. But you still have to deal with them.

      • Margaret

        Yes, you’re on point there – but, as unpopular an idea as it is, if the HR dept is looking to bring in that foreign staff at that rate, these ads guarantee they can justify to the state dept. that there are no local staff available for the positions. The local workers are at a huge disadvantage here.