Demand for high-level candidates remained steady in January across the country, especially in tech and government; however, the unemployment rate remains high. According to the Bright Employment Report, the labor market gained 189,000 net jobs in January 2013. Out of context, this seems like a healthy number, but in fact this level of demand for labor hovers just about at the market’s bare minimum for sustained unemployment levels, or its Mendoza Line.
The “Mendoza Line” began as a baseball expression, named for shortstop Mario Mendoza, whose batting average became shorthand for the definition of incompetent hitting. When a baseball player’s batting average falls under .200 (meaning one hit in every five at bats, on average), the player is said to be “below the Mendoza Line”. Under this bare minimum, it becomes difficult to justify a player’s continued presence in Major League Baseball, regardless of their other abilities.
In general, the expression is frequently used to describe the line between acceptable mediocrity and unacceptable mediocrity. Coincidentally, the labor market’s Mendoza line is also around 200: 200 thousand jobs created per month. Just to keep up with changing population levels and new individuals entering the job market, 200 thousand positions must be created every month. Throughout 2012 (and really since 2010, or the end of the last recession) the number of jobs created per month has hovered around this low-end cutoff. Essentially, the labor market is not growing; it is stagnant.
In fact, Obama recently became the president with the highest unemployment rate to win a second term since FDR. Obama is also the only president since World War II, besides Ronald Reagan, to win re-election with the jobless rate above 6 percent. Although our labor market growth continues to be borderline incompetent, there are signs that change is on the horizon: enter technology.
Demand for technology jobs continues to grow. In large metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), it is well-known that computer science majors are in short supply and in high demand. And, of course, one very real problem area where technology workers are needed to drive innovation is the stagnant job market. How can we make the process of finding and hiring workers move faster and more efficiently? Numerous companies, both old and new, are attempting to solve this problem. Altruism isn’t the only motivator of course, but reducing unemployment is an important end-goal. In a healthy economy, any person who wishes to be gainfully employed can be—and should be—employed. At the very least, the unemployed 7.8% of this country would probably agree.
The Bright Score is our solution to the Mendozian labor market. The Bright Score is a data-driven relevancy algorithm that instantaneously scores and sorts candidates for any given job position based on each candidate’s education, experience, skills, and other qualifications. It eliminates the lengthy and expensive task of finding the right fit between an open position and a qualified candidate. Now, job seekers may apply to jobs where they have the best chance of attracting the attention of hiring managers. Recruiters can locate the most qualified candidates within seconds, reducing the time spent searching for top prospects and sifting through applicants by up to 90%. Over time, this will drastically reduce the expense and time to hire, add efficiency, and decrease cost. The likely result of increased efficiency and decreased cost is increased profit. Increased profit leads to more jobs, and more jobs will elevate the labor market above the line of unacceptable mediocrity.
This change cannot occur overnight. However, the status quo will no longer suffice. Mario Mendoza also had four career home runs; does that make him a power hitter? The trend, evidence, and necessity all point to technology. If technology can enable you to control iTunes from the comfort of your couch, why can’t it also help a job seeker find a decent job, and a recruiter find a qualified candidate?
Will technology find an efficient solution to surface the strongest candidates and finally begin an upward trend in demand? We at Bright firmly believe that it can, and will.