Summary of Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs

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8 Overall

9 Applicability

8 Innovation

8 Style


The media may editorialize about a workforce “skills gap,” but education is not the problem. The hiring process is to blame, says Wharton management professor Peter Cappelli. Contrary to popular wisdom, he says, candidates do have the academic skills they need, but employers’ training and hiring processes need vast improvement. For instance, application screening software creates hurdles few applicants can overcome and eliminates many applicants with relevant skills. Expectations that candidates will arrive with the knowledge they need for a specific job means that only candidates with experience in exactly that job get hired. Capelli parses the myths surrounding the skills gap and addresses misconceptions about today’s workforce. He urges companies to use training to create the best possible employees and to weigh training costs against the financial penalties of job vacancies, which are more expensive than most managers realize. Cappelli concludes his brief but powerful manual with a list of training options and examples of companies that have implemented them successfully. getAbstract recommends his treatise to any managers who hire and all HR directors and officers.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why a “skills gap” isn’t the cause of unemployment,
  • What factors hinder the hiring process and
  • What cost-effective steps companies can take to improve the applicant pool.

About the Author

Management professor Peter Cappelli directs the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School of Business, where he teaches. He writes for The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Businessweek.



The Mythical “Skills Gap”
Common wisdom says job openings stay vacant because candidates don’t meet the minimum qualifications for requisite skills or education. The media reinforce this claim with headlines about a national skills gap in the US workforce. Yet, the 2011 Manpower survey...

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