Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Take this Job and Commoditise it!

Perhaps the reason I hate job hunting so much is that investing in the stock market has raised unreasonable expectations of the labour market. Comparing both with (googled) characteristics of an efficient market:

CharacteristicDescriptionShare MarketLabour Market
Efficient system to facilitate tradingSmooth operation. Buyers and sellers should be able to meet expectations with little delay or difficulty.Yes. You can turnover millions from your smartphone. (Not that you should.) No central exchange. (Lengthy) negotiations between parties only.
Availability of InformationInformation on price, quantity, etc should be freely available.Company and aggregate information/analysis instantly and freely available.Only if you count pap about being 'dynamic' or  'passionate' employers/employees as information. Salaries, turnover - the stats that matter - remain stubbornly confidential.
LiquidityThe ability to trade quickly at known prices.I can enter and exit a position within seconds at roughly the same price. (Again, not that I should.)"I want my old job back. Now. At the same salary." Ha ha. Not going to happen.
Transaction CostBrokerage, cost of trading, and transfer should be minimal.$20 per trade. Boom. Done.Applications, interviews, recruiters. Travel, waiting, callbacks, psychometric tests. Sigh.
Information Processing EfficiencyThe market as a whole swiftly adjusts prices to available information.Refer crashes of 1987, 2000, and 2008.Yes, but contractions express as illiquidity rather than salary decreases.
Numerous participantsNo one seller or producer can affect the market or price.Yes, in countries without central compulsory pension funds, at least.While there are numerous workers and numerous positions. In reality, each worker has to apply separately for each vacancy, skewing the market towards buyers.
Freedom of entry and exitNew buyers or sellers enter and exit without impediment.Buyers: yes. Sellers: public listing does take time, but the rules are fairly straightforward.Could a doctor get a job as a nurse? Could you hire without being an expert on national and state employment law?
Homogeneity of productProducts bought and sold are identical.Yes, in the sense that shares are packaged (commoditised) for easy comparison.Arguably yes! It's money for time. Don't make it any more than it is.
I can only dream of a time when I can pick up a job as quick as I can pick up a lot or two. Perhaps it's not people who need to cater to the labour market, but the labour market itself that needs to reform.

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