Job Experience and Training

Earn while you learnA quick survey of any corporate job board will establish that the vast majority of available positions require several years of experience for the candidate to be considered for the job. While there is the age old conundrum of how exactly one is supposed to get experience if all the available jobs already require experience, my own view is that this trend is a sign of the negative state of the American economy.

In simpler and more prosperous times, companies could afford to pay for their employees' training. However, it is cheaper for a company to hold out for someone who already has the requisite skills for the job in question than to spend money to train someone on the job due to training's status as non-productive (i.e. non-revenue-producing) payroll hours.

But in today's questionable economy, such on the job training is as passé as employee pension plans. The net result is that today's job-seeker has an increased personal responsibility to provide his or her own training and to acquire the skills needed to fill whatever narrow niche the desired job satisfies in the overall corporate jigsaw puzzle.

Do you have any experience with this experience trend in the corporate world? Please share your experiences (no pun intended) and thoughts in the comments section.


frugal zeitgeist said...

I couldn't disagree more. The level of skills required depends on the competencies needed to succeed in the role (in other words, an English major won't really be too valuable in a job where the employer is looking for a C++ programmer), and the level of expected experience correlates to the type and grade of job (e.g. a new college graduate can't walk through the door and expect to be a senior director right away). Many large Fortune 500 companies hire en masse from colleges with the stipulation that the new hires go directly into a training program that can last for six to twelve months before they're let loose to actually work. Large, corporate employers are pretty realistic about what they can reasonably expect from entry level professional hires in terms of skills and experience, but they do want to see evidence of creative thinking, intelligence, and ambition. Internships are a great way (but by no means the only way) to demonstrate those qualities.

Since you asked about personal experience, my employer has an annual training budget for each employee and will sponsor graduate study if the degree program will make the employee more valuable. They have sponsored training for advanced certification in my area of expertise (I had to do plenty of studying in my own time), and they pay for all of the courses and renewal fees I need to keep my certification.

Anonymous said...

I'm in my mid-50s and have a low-wage menial job...and a liberal arts degree with a minor in comp sci.

I wasn't able to keep my IT skills current as I had no money for continuing education, and now I cannot get financial aid.

So is there any hope for me?

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