Businesses are increasingly complaining that they want to hire, but that they can't find anybody with the skills they want. The reality is they can't find anybody with the skills they want to do two or three people's jobs at the wage they want to pay.
Human resource specialists say employers who increasingly need multi-skilled employees aren't willing to settle for less. They'd rather wait and hold jobs vacant.
HR specialists even have a nickname for the highly sought but elusive job candidate whose skills and experiences precisely match an employer's needs: the "purple squirrel."
"There are lots of requests for purple squirrels nowadays," said Joe Yesulaitis, chief executive of Aavalar Consulting, an IT staffing firm.
Right now employers are looking for people who are either absolute superstars (who are probably still employed anyway), or people who will devote 120 hours a week to the job and take 40 hours' salary for it (who again, are probably already employed.)
They don't really care about anyone else. Why spend money to hire people when you don't have to? There's no reason for the private sector to do so. If only there were say, a public sector who could put people to work to stimulate the economy and increase aggregate demand...
But of course in 2010, that's impossible. Better to hunt down purple squirrels to keep those massive profit margins and to sit on those big piles of cash, right?