Why there are so many "Ghost Jobs" haunting hiring websites

The Wall Street Journal recently published a piece on the rise of ghost jobs. Sadly, these jobs are nowhere near as fun as they sound; on a purely philosophical level, I'd actually prefer it if poltergeists had found a way to posthumously saddle themselves to the oppressive angst of capitalism than the actual reality of what these "ghost jobs" entail.

As it turns out, these ghost jobs aren't so different from the recent trend of depressing tech layoffs — they're a PR scam to appease capitalist investors at the expense of actual human beings' livelihoods. From WSJ:

Though businesses are keeping job postings up, many roles aren't being filled, recruiters say.

Hiring managers acknowledge as much. In a survey of more than 1,000 hiring managers last summer, 27% reported having job postings up for more than four months. Among those who said they advertised job postings that they weren't actively trying to fill, close to half said they kept the ads up to give the impression the company was growing, according to Clarify Capital, a small-business-loan provider behind the study. One-third of the managers who said they advertised jobs they weren't trying to fill said they kept the listings up to placate overworked employees.

Other reasons for keeping jobs up, the hiring managers said: Stocking a pool of ready applicants if an employee quits, or just in case an "irresistible" candidate applied.

So it's not that "no one wants to work anymore!", it's more that no one wants to hire anymore, because capitalist investment matters more than productivity. Neat!!1

(This also reminds me how, about a year and a half ago, I was being relentlessly pursued by recruiters. I'd tell them upfront what my minimum salary requirements were, they'd say "OK" and then send me through 3 or 4 rounds of interviews … only to inform that there either wasn't a job in place yet, or that the job that did exist paid half of what I was asking.)

Job Listings Abound, but Many Are Fake [Te-Ping Chen / Wall Street Journal]