Study Finds Long-Term Unemployed Equally Qualified For Jobs

Research tracked different aspects of job performance

Unemployment
Alamy
There's still an undeniable stigma to the word "unemployed." Even in this recession-addled era, it still conjures up images of greasy dudes sitting in overstuffed easy chairs, letting their stubble grow and their bellies sag as the working world bustles along indifferently. And while the private sector may be recovering, actually getting a job is still no easy task, and for many unemployment is less an inconvenience than a fact of living. They don't deserve to be stigmatized, and new research, which suggests that the long-term unemployed are just as productive on the job as those with more consistent work histories, proves it.

San Francisco's Evolv Inc. gathered data from almost 20,000 employees, Bloomberg News reported, and found "no statistically significant difference" in the job performances of call center workers who hadn't held a full-time job for at least five years before getting hired, and everyone else.

Evolv measured four different aspects of job performance: the average time for an employee to complete a transaction, customer satisfaction ratings, supervisor evaluations, and the percentage of a given workday actually spent at a desk. In the context of those areas, previously long-term unemployed workers were found to be no worse at their jobs.

"The concern is that the long-term unemployed may remain on the sidelines, ultimately dropping out of the workforce," Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a speech about Americans struggling to find work. "But the data suggest that the long-term unemployed look basically the same as other unemployed people in terms of the occupations, educational attainment, and other characteristics."

Evolv's research goes beyond that, though, and demonstrates that the long-term unemployed can make strong job candidates even compared to the consistently employed. Nevertheless, another study made it clear that the stigma of unemployment still exists, and is hurting otherwise qualified applicants.

"Back when there were enough jobs to go around, more of the people who were out of work were out due to their motivation or their lack of skills to be hired," John Fugazzie, who founded the job search support group Neighbors Helping Neighbors, told AOL Jobs by email. "This is an old stereotype which many have still clung to, and is highly unfair. The research clearly is speaking to the long-term unemployed of today, who are higher-educated and very capable of working."

An experiment conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto, the University of Chicago, and McGill University found participants submitting thousands of fake resumes to about 3,000 jobs. The study found that callbacks for those with eight months of unemployment were about 45 percent lower than those with only one month's downtime between jobs.

Vincent Ramsey, a 56-year-old who lost his security job at Villanova University in 2012, knows a thing or two about that. He told Bloomberg that since then he's applied for about 30 positions a week.

"With all the positive traits that I have, somebody's still finding fault with me," he said. Ramsey has applied mainly in areas where he already has experience, but has yet to find a solid lead. "I don't understand it. Wherever you put me at any job, I connect with people. I've done this successfully everywhere."

Obama summed up the Catch-22 faced by people like Ramsey last January, when he said, "The longer you're employed, the more unemployable you may seem. They just need a chance."

Walmart, Ford, and more than 300 other companies have signed a White House pledge to recruit out-of-work job-seekers, but that--along with the findings from Evolv--are just the beginning of the larger efforts needed to turn around this country's unemployment situation.

"Attitudes have to be changed, and those with improper attitudes do not want to read research," said Fugazzie. "It will take a lot of work to bring this issue to the forefront."

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scottvtm

So why dont the researchers admit that the jobs for higher educated cosistent and reliable workers are not there to be had. This is the reality behind the positive jobs data we keep hearing. For some reason the middle class that we hear about is shrinking and it is getting worse. I HOPE someone can CHANGE this soon.

April 07 2014 at 8:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ken

...study finds that we are so blinded that we need a study for everything under the sun in order to have any clue about things that should be obvious.........................

April 07 2014 at 4:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ken's comment
James

Your "period" key is stuck.

April 07 2014 at 4:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
kevingtwin

Call center jobs? Are you serious? Oh what they might have forgot how to dial or speak or read? Give me a break that study proves less than nothing.

April 07 2014 at 4:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to kevingtwin's comment
James

Are you sure we can't apply the data to neurosurgeons or software developers?

April 07 2014 at 4:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kim272727

I think the reason why this stigma exists is because so many people aren't even looking for work. It's easier to say "there are no jobs" and simply live off the government. And perhaps a call center position isn't the best way to gauge this study. There a so many industries where if you aren't working in it consistently, you are going to be behind the times and no longer as qualified as someone who is consistently working. It's like technology.. Always changing. And if you don't keep up, you will have a really hard time understanding whats going on.

April 07 2014 at 2:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Larry

One thing that is not being mentioned here. Sure the long term unemployed can do the job as good or better than the norm but most are victims of downsizing and near retirement age which keeps employers from hiring them. This has been the case even before the latest recession and the ACA aka Obamacare. Employers don't want to hire older employees that are going to be ready for retirement in 10 years and are in reclining health that would make their insurance premiums increase. There is and there should not be a law forcing employers to hire them but there should be a program to help them if they cannot find work because of age. There is an age discrimination law but it's so difficult to prove it to be the reason the person is being turned down for employment.

April 07 2014 at 1:37 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Larry's comment
James

I'm in reclining health. I think I'll get up in a little while, crack open a beer, and go back to my recliner.

April 07 2014 at 4:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
werhere7

Why are there no workers? Why are the rich getting richer? Why are people so lazy? Why are there no jobs? Government is too big! Government is not big enough! People are getting too old and taking the few jobs away from the young! People all start at minimum wages but always should quickly get to the point where they should become CEOs, Doctors, Lawyers, etc. Meanwhile both those on the Left and those on the Right (Congress) collect their checks and walk back and forth and up and down the stairs of Washington DC. They all talk a good talk for enough of their respective Base to keep them employed since they never find solutions by working together. Too busy hating everyone else and being totally proud of themselves for what they are.

April 07 2014 at 1:10 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
frankevero

Sad but true ! Some years back when I was bought out by my partners at the age of 52 I became one of your articles statistics. My entire business career was of high achievement rising up the ranks the old fashioned way,hard work and high achievements. (However), now I was too old,too high up in title and too high earnings. After all those years, I was now both unemployed worse yet to many in my industry, "unemployable" ! I recovered and went on yet I will never forget the stigma and often sense of rejection that I was delt. Hay, to all of you out there, don't quit and keep yourself in front of those people who can be both helpful and influential for possable employment. GOOD LUCK !

April 07 2014 at 1:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
timalways

Twenty Five to Five hundred applicants for each job, while 99% don't hear back from the company.

April 07 2014 at 1:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to timalways's comment
Iselin007

Supposedly alot of applicants data is scanned and rejected by computers automatically,

I have witnessed discrimination of applicants.

April 07 2014 at 1:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wongtpa

The long termed unemployed are both qualified and content in their status. If not, they would take any work available to support their needs. Jobs are available but unemployed will not take work that does not pay more than they receive sitting at home. The system promotes long term unemployed. Remember, giving them the fish rather than the fishing pole has proven not to work but government continues to promote failed programs to ensure governments' future. Small government, not big government is what we need.

April 07 2014 at 1:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bthunderstrom

"San Francisco's Evolv Inc. gathered data from almost 20,000 employees, Bloomberg News reported, and found "no statistically significant difference" in the job performances of call center workers..."

Call center workers? And they are claiming this "finding" can be extended to all jobs across all professions? No offense to call center workers, but I don't want the guy removing my appendix to be shaking off four years or even six weeks of "rust" when he cuts me open. Sounds like the study authors are desperately pursuing an agenda.

Now I I have committed the cardinal sin of disagreeing with their political opinions, I need to brace myself for an avalanche of personal attacks from the most hate-filled group of people on the planet - liberals.

April 07 2014 at 12:46 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bthunderstrom's comment
James

Six weeks of "rust" sounds a lot better to me than an overworked surgeon who hasn't slept in 72 hours.

April 07 2014 at 4:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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