National

Oct 11, 2010 8:17 AM by Associated Press

Unemployed find old jobs now require more skills

The jobs crisis has brought an unwelcome discovery for many unemployed Americans: Job openings in their old fields exist. Yet they no longer qualify for them.

During the recession, companies became more productive by doing more with fewer workers. Some asked staffers to take on a broader array of duties -- duties that used to be spread among multiple jobs. Now, someone who hopes to get those jobs must meet the new requirements.

Human resources specialists have given the nickname "purple squirrels" to the kinds of employees being sought.

The broader responsibilities mean it's harder to fill many of the jobs that are open these days. It helps explain why many companies complain they can't find qualified people for certain jobs, even with 4.6 unemployed Americans, on average, competing for each opening.

By contrast, only 1.8 people, on average, were vying for each job opening before the recession.

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