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Breaking Down the Labor Shortage and Entry-Level Hiring Requirements

The Labor Shortage and Hiring Requirements for Entry-level Job Seekers

The job market has been in a state of flux for some time now. With economic downturns, the rise of automation, and the COVID-19 pandemic, the job market has been unpredictable, to say the least.

However, one consistent issue that has persisted in recent years is the labor shortage, which is partly due to work experience requirements for entry-level job seekers. This article will discuss the labor shortage and its impact on entry-level job seekers, focusing on work-experience requirements.

A Growing Labor Shortage

The labor shortage is a well-known phenomenon, as employers are struggling to fill positions that require specific skill sets. The shortage is not limited to a single industry, but rather impacts many different sectors.

For instance, the construction industry has been struggling with the labor shortage for several years. A report by the Associated General Contractors of America showed that 81% of construction companies have trouble hiring qualified trade workers.

This is particularly troublesome for the construction industry, which has yet to rebound from the 2008 recession fully. Other industries are also experiencing labor shortages, such as healthcare, manufacturing, and information technology.

The healthcare industry is facing shortages of nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals due to an aging population and a lack of training programs. The manufacturing industry is facing a shortage of skilled workers due to a shrinking interest in technology-based education.

Lastly, the information technology industry is facing a shortage of employees due to a lack of qualified professionals with STEM backgrounds. The job market has not recovered fully since these economic issues began to develop.

However, the labor shortage is also a result of work-experience requirements, limiting the pool of eligible candidates for entry-level positions.

Work-Experience Requirements for Entry-Level Jobs

Entry-level jobs are typically the first jobs that individuals take after completing a degree or an apprenticeship. However, entry-level jobs are becoming increasingly difficult to acquire, not because of their skill requirements, but because of employers’ work-experience requirements.

A survey by ZipRecruiter showed that 73% of employer postings require work experience for entry-level jobs. This means that 73% of job postings for entry-level jobs require candidates to have at least one year of professional work experience or more.

This requirement is puzzling as entry-level jobs are intended to be entry points into a company or an industry. The expectation for entry-level job seekers to have prior work experience can be partially attributed to the rising tide of experience inflation.

Experience Inflation

Experience inflation is a phenomenon where employers require more experience for a particular position than what is necessary. This can be problematic for job seekers, particularly those who belong to marginalized groups or recent graduates who have not had the opportunity to acquire work experience in their field.

Experience inflation has consequences on job seekers, resulting in the reduction of entry-level job opportunities available for candidates. Also, experience inflation has led to the devaluation of degrees and certifications as employers now demand more experience than degrees.

However, it’s not just about experience devaluation- experience inflation can also have significant consequences for employers. Employers who require unreasonable levels of experience for the job roles they offer may end up with fewer qualified applicants.

It’s essential to set realistic requirements for job roles if employers hope to attract the ideal talent for those roles. How Can Companies Attract More Entry-Level Job Applicants?

Hiring managers and recruiters must provide an equal opportunity for all candidates. While previous work experience can indicate a candidate’s potential, it should not impede entry-level job seekers from acquiring the knowledge and experience that the company seeks.

Therefore, employers must build creative sourcing strategies to find appropriate candidates, such as the utilization of apprenticeships, internships, and training programs. These programs are beneficial in creating an opportunity for entry-level job seekers to acquire work experience while being paid.

Furthermore, employers should recruit candidates from a broader demographic range and remove specific requirements that may hinder candidates’ capability to apply for the company. For instance, consider replacing the work experience requirement in favor of explicit skillsets or personality requirements to guarantee diversity in the workforce.


The labor shortage has impacted many industries, including construction, healthcare, manufacturing, and information technology. Furthermore, work-experience requirements have been a significant barrier for entry-level job seekers who are trying to get their foot in the door of a company or an industry.

Experience inflation only exacerbates the problem by making hiring requirements for entry-level job seekers more challenging. Employers must change their approach to hiring entry-level job seekers, including being more flexible in requirements and enabling entry-level job seekers the opportunities needed to acquire sufficient work experience.

Employers should also recognize and acknowledge the importance of utilizing apprenticeships, internships, and training programs for developing entry-level job seekers into future qualified employees. By restructuring its approach to hiring and recruiting, employers can attract more entry-level candidates, improve diversity in the workforce, and fight the labor shortage.

The Disconnect between Job Seekers and Hiring Managers: Addressing Work-Experience Requirements

Work experience requirements for job seekers have been a source of frustration for employers and job seekers alike. While employers use work experience to gauge a candidate’s suitability for a job, job seekers feel that work experience requirements are too high, limiting their opportunities.

The issue is compounded by the disconnect between job seekers and hiring managers’ perspectives on work-experience requirements. This article will examine the disconnect between job seekers and hiring managers concerning work-experience requirements and how addressing this issue can benefit both parties.

Job Seekers vs. Hiring Managers

Job seekers often feel that work-experience requirements for entry-level jobs are overly burdensome, preventing them from securing employment.

Research has shown that job seekers, especially those who are fresh out of college, often have unrealistic expectations for their first jobs. Many believe they will land a well-paying job and take on meaningful work from day one, despite lacking the necessary experience for the position.

On the other hand, hiring managers believe that work experience is essential in determining a candidate’s ability to perform in a particular role. They argue that work experience is necessary to assess a candidate’s potential to learn and how quickly they can adapt to a new work environment.

Discrepancy in Perspectives

The discrepancy in perspectives between job seekers and hiring managers regarding work-experience requirements is a significant barrier to entry-level job seekers. Entry-level job seekers are frustrated by how employers often expect them to have work experience for an entry-level position.

For instance, a job posting for a marketing coordinator role may require a candidate to have two to three years of experience while presenting it as an entry-level position. The disparity in perspectives on entry-level positions is why implementing an effective hiring process is essential.

Hiring managers should make it a priority to remove all unnecessary barriers to entry. They should also consider additional strategies for job seekers to access entry-level roles such as offering training and educational opportunities.

How Addressing Work-Experience Requirements Can Benefit Both Parties

One way hiring managers can address work-experience requirements is by providing a clear explanation of what they’re looking for in a candidate. Doing so will make it easier for job seekers to understand the requirements before applying.

Such transparency may reduce the number of applications from underqualified candidates and attract qualified candidates. Another solution is for hiring managers to focus their recruitment efforts on alternative sources of talent.

One way to do this is to partner with educational institutions and industry organizations. Coordinating with industry-based organizations can enable entry-level job seekers to secure desired placements and internship programs.

Such programs can help candidates gain relevant work experience, thereby increasing the pool of qualified applicants for entry-level jobs.

Entry-Level Job Seeker Frustrations and How to Address Them

Apart from work-experience requirements, job seekers face other frustrations when seeking employment. A study conducted by TalentWorks found that job seekers’ top frustrations include job experience requirements, compensation, inflexibility in schedules, the interview process, and ghosting.

Job Experience Requirements

Job experience requirements are a significant frustration for job seekers. This is because many entry-level positions require higher qualifications despite being classified as entry-level.

A possible solution to address this frustration is to emphasize skills relevant to the job rather than experience. Employers should also provide entry-level training and on-the-job experience opportunities to candidates.


Compensation is another issue that frustrates many job seekers. While employers may feel they are paying competitively, job seekers may feel otherwise.

Employers should consider reviewing and adjusting the compensation package to make it more attractive to entry-level candidates.

Inflexibility in Schedules

Many job seekers are discouraged by employers’ inflexibility when it comes to scheduling. One solution to this problem is to adopt flexible scheduling options such as remote work or flexible work hours to improve the work-life balance of employees.

The Interview Process

The interview process is the gateway to many jobs, and Job seekers often feel frustrated by the process, particularly the long waits or lack of feedback from the employer. Hiring managers should provide job seekers with timely feedback and set a reasonable timeline for them to expect to hear from them.


Lastly, job seekers feel frustrated by the lack of communication and feedback from employers, commonly known as ghosting.

Ghosting can be detrimental to the job seeker’s morale and job prospects since it shows a lack of respect towards the candidate.

Employers should communicate post-interview regarding candidate status rather than leave the candidate hanging.


The disconnect between job seekers and hiring managers on work-experience requirements is a considerable obstacle for entry-level job seekers. Employers can address this issue by focusing on transparent communications, offering alternative sources to talent, focusing recruitment efforts on relevant skills rather than irrelevant work experience and offering industry-related training and exposure.

Furthermore, employers can address individual sources of frustration among job seekers, including; inflexibility in scheduling, low compensation, and ghosting. Employers who address these issues will make hiring more accessible for job seekers, improve the pool of qualified candidates and develop a motivated workforce.

Worsening of Experience Requirements: Has Entry-Level Become a Misnomer? In recent years, the job market has evolved and changed significantly, with one of the most pronounced changes being the worsening of experience requirements for entry-level positions.

Employers’ expectations of entry-level applicants have shifted, presenting a barrier to job seekers, particularly fresh graduates. This article discusses recent findings on the worsening of experience requirements for entry-level positions and the implications of such a trend.

LinkedIn Study on Entry-Level Listings

A study by LinkedIn analyzed over 26 million job postings across several industries to assess how hiring practices have changed over time. The study found that many entry-level jobs have evolved into positions that require experience levels higher than what is expected from fresh graduates.

According to the research, in 2012, 25% of entry-level job postings require at least three years of experience. However, in 2020, the figure rose to 41%, with many employers requiring three or more years of work experience for entry-level roles.

Particularly, the tech industry has experienced a more notable shift, with entry-level positions often demanding up to five years of experience. The study shows that entry-level positions are progressively more challenging to obtain.

The emergence of this trend is partly due to the assumption that candidates with more work experience require less training time and, as a result, may perform better in a particular role.

Impact of Worsening Experience Requirements on Job Seekers

The worsening of experience requirements for entry-level jobs has a considerable impact on job seekers. It affects not only fresh graduates but also those from non-traditional educational backgrounds, people who have taken a break in employment due to life events such as starting a family, and those transitioning into a new career.

Higher entry-level demands can limit the number of qualified candidates available, with some of the most qualified being compelled to apply for jobs that they are overqualified for. It also makes it challenging for entry-level job seekers to gain a foothold in a specific industry.

In essence, entry-level positions may no longer serve the original purpose of creating a pathway to progress in a field or industry.

Retirement and the Labor Shortage

A study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College focused specifically on the impact of the retirement of baby boomers on the labor force. The study found that approximately 4 million people were leaving the workforce every year, further exacerbating the labor shortage.

Additionally, more baby boomers have been retiring sooner due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has also led to increased concerns about health risks in the workplace, leading to some older employees more hesitant about working or considering early retirement.

The study suggests that, for the labor market to be viable, the workforce will need to increase participation rates, particularly among working-age men and women. Moreover, the retirement of baby boomers has created a skills gap, putting companies under pressure to fill positions where the expertise will be lost.

The demand for replacement workers to fill those positions has resulted in more competition for skilled workers among industries. The situation has led to employers having to pay high salaries to attract and retain workers, leading to increased costs for the companies.

Moreover, employees who retire may not return to the workforce, or there could be a skills gap in the positions they leave behind. As a result, some industries have developed workforce training programs to address the labor shortage, accelerating the development of new hires’ knowledge and expertise.


The detrimental trend of worsening entry-level experience requirements and the labor shortage due to the retirement of baby boomers present significant challenges for the job market. Addressing these issues requires employers to adjust their recruiting strategies by being more flexible in their requirements and implementing initiatives such as training programs, internships, and apprenticeships.

Additionally, the pandemic has highlighted the need for more workforce diversity among age demographics and more remote working opportunities. Ultimately, a more diverse and flexible workforce is essential for future-proofing the job market and ensuring that employers can fill positions.

The article discusses several critical issues facing the job market, including the labor shortage, disconnect between job seekers and hiring managers, experience inflation, worsened experience requirements for entry-level positions, and retirement’s impact on the labor shortage. Employers must address these challenges by rethinking recruitment strategies, being transparent, and offering training programs and alternative sources of talent.

Additionally, employers must be more flexible and focus recruitment on relevant skills rather than irrelevant work experience. A more diverse and flexible workforce with varied experience levels, coupled with innovative talent acquisition strategies, will help employers secure top talent and set businesses up for enduring growth and success.

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