Hard Times for Job Seekers: Employer Stigma Against the Unemployed


Unemployment in the United States is uncontroversial. Sure there is a huge amount of controversy surrounding who is to blame for the 8.3% unemployment rate and even greater contention on what should be done to remedy the problem, but there isn’t exactly more than one school of thought on unemployment its self.

It’s no good. Bad. Hulk Smash Unemployment.

With the discourse of the political arena veering ever closer to outright Populism, nobody (and I mean nobody) wants to be seen as a major contributor to this problem that so many have postured as one of those “this is what’s wrong with our country” issues. People blame foreign outsourcing, immigrant labor, LIBOR, Wall Street, The Government, Corporations, Democrats, Republicans, Taxes, Tariffs, the global economy and just about anything that isn’t connected to whoever is currently pointing their finger.

However, a large factor in why the unemployment rate remains so high is a lot more simple than exchange rate manipulation. New research out of UCLA suggests that there is a high level of stigma against the unemployed from employers. In the study, a series of nearly identical resumes were scored by dozens hiring professionals.

The detail that made the series “nearly identical” was that half of the candidates were “currently employed” and the other half were “had been out of work for a month”. Can you guess which group scored higher for “competence and hireability” across the board? Yep, it was the “currently employed” demographic.

Here at Accolo, we are committed to finding our clients the best possible candidates no matter what their current employment status is. This article from the Huffington Post details the broader results of the study as well as potential government action against discrimination toward the unemployed.

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