The Feedback

We hope you’re not jobless. And, if you are, we hope you’re not facing the rising problem of employers who shy away from hiring the long-term unemployed. Last week, we brought up this topic and asked whether such discrimination is always unfair or can sometimes be reasonable, considering that the skills of knowledge workers, in particular, can atrophy quickly.

Reader Maverick18 said it’s unfair, but not unreasonable:

It is simply less problematic to hire someone with a continuous record of employment than someone who has major gaps in their employment record or has been unemployed for an extended period. Unemployment and gaps in employment also hinder loans and security clearances. Is that fair in the moral sense? Probably not, but it’s a fact of life.

Reader Nathan shared similar sentiments:

I believe discrimination against the unemployed simply because they are unemployed is definitely unfair. However, having hired hundreds of people in nonprofit programs for many years, I have learned that people who are frequently unemployed can be a red flag. . . . Some people can’t hold a job because they are poor performers, then claim discrimination.

Reader Richard B Mann PhD suggested that it’s understandable that lawmakers are considering legislation to ban discrimination against the unemployed, but we should remember such remedies come at a price:

No matter what one does, it is almost impossible to hire the best person for a particular job. . . . However, the rules against discrimination for any reason inhibit hiring the best.

And reader Ken S. said that if you’re among the unemployed, perhaps it’s time to try something dramatically new:

I intimately know the feeling many talented people have when out of work for extended periods of time. . . .That said, the long-term unemployed need to throw their shackles off and head in an entirely new direction. I got a new master’s degree—one that works—and just started full-time work in national security. Took four years, but I did it.