Recruiters must convince employers to examine and amend their perceptions of people who have been made redundant as “the junk bonds of the workplace”, a leading US human resources consultant has urged.
In US investment jargon, ‘junk bonds’ are the investment of last resort. Ron Katz believes that the potential value of people who have lost their jobs is misunderstood and significantly underestimated.
Speaking to Recruiter recently in San Diego, US, Katz emphasised that agency and in-house recruiters alike have a responsibility to organisations, nations, economies and the world to hire people who have lost their jobs to “reduce turnover, have loyal employees and have overqualified or fully qualified employees. You can get incredible talent for lower cost”.
Katz is founder of Penguin Human Resource Consulting and an adjunct professor at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. “I heard the long-term unemployed referred to as ‘the junk bonds of the workplace’,” he said. “First of all, ‘junk bond’ is a colloquial name. What they really are is high-risk investment vehicles, unless you’re trying to sell them. Then you call them high-yield investment vehicles. And that’s what we want from employees — high yield. People without jobs are not junk.”
He went on to debunk the myth, which he referred to as the “iPhone approach”, that people who have been jobless for six months or more are no longer at the cutting edge of technology. Because jobless people can often access subsidised training or will volunteer at organisations where they can use their skills, “they haven’t fallen behind”, he said. “That’s a myth. They’re keeping current.”