Article 43

 

Workplace

Monday, November 11, 2019

How Many Good Jobs

no jobs

53 Million Americans Drowning in Cycle of Low-Wage Work
Today’s artificial economy isn’t working for everyone.

By Tyler Durden
Zerohedge
November 9, 2019

It’s the “Greatest Economy Ever,” right? Well, it depends on who you ask.

For instance, a new report sheds light on 53 million Americans, or about 44% of all US workers, aged 18 to 64, are considered low-wage and low-skilled.

Many of these folks are stuck in THE GIG ECONOMY, making approximately $10.22 per hour, and they bring home less than $20,000 per year, according to a Brookings Institution report of these folks are stuck in the gig economy, making approximately $10.22 per hour, and they bring home less than $20,000 per year, ACCORDING TO a Brookings Institution report.

An overwhelmingly large percentage of these folks have insurmountable debts in that of student loans, auto loans, and or credit cards. Their wages don’t cover their debt servicing payments as their lives will be left in financial ruin after the next recession.

While the top 10% of Americans are partying like it’s 1999, most of whom own assets - like stocks, bonds, and real estate - are greatly prospering off the Federal Reserves serial asset bubble-blowing scheme and President Trump’s stock market pumping on Twitter.

Today’s artificial economy isn’t working for everyone as the wealth inequality gap swells to crisis levels.

The US is at the 11th hour, one hour till midnight, as the wealth inequality imbalance will correct itself by the eruption of protests on the streets of major metro areas, sort of like whats been happening across the world in Chile, Hong Kong, Lebanon, and Barcelona.

An uprising, a revolution, people are waking up to the fact that unelected officials and governments have ruined the economy and has resulted in their financial misery of low wages and insurmountable debts.

The report shows almost half of all low-wage workers are clustered in ten occupations, such as a retail salesperson, cooks and food preparation, building cleaners, and construction workers (these are some of the jobs that will get wiped out during the next recession).

10 biggest jobs

Shown below, most of these low-wage workers are centered in areas around the North East, Mid-Atlantic, and Rust Belt.

2019 11 jobs by state

As we’ve detailed in past articles, millions of these low-wage and low-skilled jobs will never be replaced after the next recession, that’s due in part to mega corporations swapping out these jobs with automation and artificial intelligence.

The solution by the government and the Federal Reserve, to avoid riots in the streets, will be the implementation of various forms of quantitative easing for the people.

There’s a reason why you already hear the debate of universal income, central banks starting to finance green investments, and other various forms of short/long term stimulus, that is because the global economy is grinding to a halt - and the only solution at the moment is to do more of the same.

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Posted by Elvis on 11/11/19 •
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Sunday, November 03, 2019

500 Hundred Resumes Later

image: the invisible long-term unemployed

[O]ut-of-work Americans have played a critical role in helping the richest one percent recover trillions in financial wealth.
- Why The Rich Love Unemployment

After saying that “the halls of Congress are no joke,” Ocasio-Cortez said that “standing up to corporate power, and established interests is no joke. It’s not just about standing up and saying these things, but behind closed doors, your arm is twisted, the vise pressure of political pressure gets put on you, every trick in the book, psychological, and otherwise is to get us to abandon the working class.”
- Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

[F]or years the government has been taking large numbers of people from the basket known as “officially unemployed” and dumping them into another basket known as “not in the labor force.” Since those that are “not in the labor force” do not count toward the official unemployment rate, they can make things look better than they actually are by moving people into that category.
- There’s no BS like the BLS

THERE’S NO OTHER WAY TO SAY THIS. The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie.

When the media, talking heads, the White House and Wall Street start reporting the truth - the percent of Americans in good jobs; jobs that are full time and real then we will quit wondering why Americans aren’t feeling something that doesn’t remotely reflect the reality in their lives. And we will also quit wondering what hollowed out the middle class.
- Gallup Head Says Unemployment Rate is “A Big Lie.”

This is VERY BAD. These are young men who have given up hope - men who saw no light at the end of the TUNNEL

That’s what happens when all you have is debt and no job prospects.

were all sort of just making time pass until the end. The antidepressants help, but on some level I can’t help feeling like Wellbutrin is only masking a very rational reaction to “modern” life.

Weve created a world so miserable that people prefer death over it.
- Reddit Post

Lots of Job Hunting, but No Job, Despite Low Unemployment
Even with the strongest labor market in half a century, getting work after losing it can still be a challenge.

By Patricia Cohen
NY Times
October 31, 2019

RIVER VALE, N.J.  Laura Ward flipped through the small, lined notebook where she had neatly recorded every job posting she had answered, resume she had sent and application she had completed since being laid off in March 2016.

No. 28 was a job listing for a creative manager at Byre Group posted on the website Indeed.

No. 97 was about a brand marketing administrator job at Benjamin Moore.

No. 109 marketing operations at AMC.

No. 158 an associate project manager at Vitamin Shoppe.

Callbacks were circled in green. Rejections were marked with a red X. Most have neither, signaling no reply one way or the other. Bottled messages dropped in an ocean.

“I had to keep track somehow,” said Ms. Ward, who has maintained job-hunting diaries since the 1990s.

Even in some of the hottest labor markets in the country - let alone lagging rural regions and former industrial powerhouses - workers, including skilled ones like Ms. Ward, say they cannot find jobs that provide a middle-class income and don’t come with an expiration date.

After more than a decade as production manager at a small advertising agency, Ms. Ward was let go after the firm lost a major account. Over the last three and a half years, she has worked temporary stints, and bolstered her skills by taking a project-management course at a nearby college. But she has not been able to find a steady, full-time job.

So for her, the reports of low unemployment rates and employer complaints of labor shortages are puzzling.

I don’t know what all those jobs out there are, she said from her living room in River Vale, a New Jersey suburb within commuting distance of Manhattan.

The continuing strength of the labor market has been one of the most remarkable economic achievements since the recession petered out. A nine-year string of job gains has coaxed discouraged and disabled Americans back into the work force and raised wages and hours, particularly for those at low end of the pay scale.

Beneath the clear benefits of the economic expansion, however, there is an undertow of anxiety, heightened recently by fears of slowing growth around the globe and in the United States.

“We’re not focusing enough on the people who have continued to be left behind by this recovery,” said Martha Gimbel, a manager of economic research at Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative. “We have not talked enough about the workers who are still stuck even in a labor market that is this competitive.”

Most of these people do not show up in the stunningly low official unemployment rate, which was 3.6 percent in October. Working even one hour during the week when the Labor Department does its employment survey keeps you out of the jobless category.

Many more show up in a broader measure, which includes people who are working part time but would prefer full-time employment, and those who want to work but have given up an active job search. That rate in September was 6.9 percent, some 11 million people.

But there are also many others, like Ms. Ward, who work temporary jobs for months at a time and are not necessarily captured in either measure. And millions of contract workers freelancers, consultants, Lyft drivers ח lack benefits, regular schedules and job security. They have found a foothold, but it rests on loose rock.

A recent survey by Gallup found that a majority of Americans do not consider themselves to be in a good job.Ӕ

Appealing to Americans on the sidelinesӔ and those who had not benefited from the so-called recoveryӔ was a key element of Donald Trumps presidential campaign in 2016. Now, Democratic presidential contenders like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are arguing that American workers have barely shared in the economyҒs gains.

And they have bypassed benchmark statistics like the unemployment rate, and focused instead on the systems fundamental unfairness, highlighting stark income inequality and worker rights.

The political pressures have even registered in penthouse suites. The Business Roundtable, a group of chief executives of some of the nationҒs biggest corporations, issued a new mission statement in August, declaring that companies should promote the interests of their employees as well as their investors.

We know that many Americans are struggling,Ӕ the group said in a release. Too often hard work is not rewarded, and not enough is being done for workers to adjust to the rapid pace of change in the economy.Ӕ

Such pronouncements have yet to produce a tangible change in many Americans daily lives.

One in four workers say they have unpredictable work schedules, which can have insidious effects on family life. One in five adults who are employed say they want to work more hours. Annual wage growth has struggled to reach 3 percent. And nearly 40 percent of Americans, a Federal Reserve report found, are in such a financially precarious state that they say they would have trouble finding $400 for an unexpected expense like a car repair or a medical bill.

Keenan Harton, 45, juggles two jobs, one at a Biscuitville fast-food restaurant that pays $8 an hour, and another at a hospital laundry in Durham, N.C., that pays $10.50 an hour. Often he shows up for work at the fast-food job for an eight-hour shift, only to be sent home after a couple of hours if business is slow.

ғIts real hard to find a full-time job thatҒs actually going to pay over $10 an hour, said Mr. Harton, who has a high school diploma.

Four hundred fifty miles north, in New Jersey, Sonia JohnsonԒs last job was in August, a four-week assignment. But my last full-time direct hire was back in 2009,Ӕ said Ms. Johnson, who worked in the human resources department of a pharmaceutical company until she was laid off. For me, itӒs been all through an agency, working as a contractor.

Ms. Johnson, 55, who has a college degree, said she had kept her skills up to date by using grant money from the stateԒs labor department to take courses. I have really good technical skills,Ӕ she said.

Asked how many jobs she had applied for, Ms. Johnson hesitated. “It’s almost embarrassing,” she said. “At least 500.”

Her impression is that the contract work that enables her to pay the bills may at times hinder her ability to get a full-time job. ԓEmployers are not happy with people with a contract working background, Ms. Johnson said, adding that they are also suspicious of any gaps in a rԩsum.

National averages, of course, can mask distinct geographical differences. Workers may not have the specific skills a particular employer needs, or live where a job opening is. But research also shows that some employers have a negative view of people who have been unemployed for long stretches at a time.

“The longer you are unemployed, the more stigma is attached,” said Carl Van Horn, the founding director of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

African-Americans and older Americans are more likely to find themselves among the long-term unemployed, he said, a group that includes people out of work for more than six months. And age discrimination, particularly against women over 40, has been documented in several studies.

“There are very limited remedies in this country to deal with these issues,” Mr. Van Horn said. Cash assistance runs out, and there are few retraining opportunities. He noted that a lot of higher education assistance, like Pell Grants, do not pay for short-term training, which is what many people lacking a particular skill could benefit from.

The Heldrich Center runs the New Start Career Network, a program for the long-term unemployed that provides online job-search resources, job fairs and career coaching.

Both Ms. Ward and Ms. Johnson are members, and that is where they learned about the states grants for training.

“Every morning, I wake up and there’s that one second when I realize I don’t have a job, and its scary and awful,” Ms. Ward said.

Holding her notebook in her lap, Ms. Ward slowly ran her finger along the pages of color-coded entries of job leads.

It’s interesting to watch as time went on, she said. As the weeks, and then months went by, her search criteria shifted. “O.K., a little further away, 35 miles instead of 25,” she recalled. “Maybe a little less money, maybe this title instead of that.”

Her cellphone rang, and she excused herself to answer it.

“I applied to these three jobs yesterday, and I thought maybe they’ll call me,” she said when she did not recognize the number. It turned out to be a nuisance call.

Now that three years have passed since her last training, Ms. Ward is again eligible to receive unemployment insurance while taking up to $4,000 worth of classes. She has signed up for a social-media marketing class and an introductory design course.

“That should buy me till the end of the year,” she said.

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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Ageism

book-im-not-done.jpg a;t=image: book im not done

Is Ageism the Last Socially Acceptable Ism? A New Book Argues Yes

By Nicole Cardos
WTTW
April 25, 2019

As many as 25,000 complaints claiming age discrimination have been filed each year since 2008, according to the U.S. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION.

That’s one of the reasons why PATTI TEMPLE ROCKS, a senior partner and head of client engagement at marketing agency ICF Next, calls ageism the last socially acceptable “ism” in our culture.

“We should talk about it. It’s the one ‘ism that will ultimately affect us all,” she said. “We’re all going to get old, were all going to age.”

Temple Rocks makes the case for increased awareness about ageism and age discrimination in her new book, I’M NOT DONE: IT’S TIME TO TALK ABOUT AGEISM IN THE WORKPLACE

The book details stories of employees in their 40s, 50s and 60s who’ve experienced ageism in the workplace, and tips for business leaders who wish to address it.

Temple Rocks joins us in discussion. 

Below, an excerpt from “I’m Not Done”

Chapter 4: The Dollars & Sense of Ageism in the Workplace

The other type of age discrimination claim turns on wrongful termination. Wrongful termination isn’t always a clearly identifiable firing or layoff. More commonly, its the “make them so miserable they will quit” approach, which I’ve discussed previously. This can take many forms, such as excluding an older worker from some meetings all of a sudden, giving younger workers plum assignments, better sales territories, or better technology, and making an older worker feel forced to accept a role that isn’t a good fit. If there is a pattern of such behavior, it can be interpreted as age discrimination.

Employers take this approach because they don’t want to fire the older worker and hope that either the older worker will solve the problem for them by quitting. Sometimes they use the “miserable job” as a place to put a worker they deem disposable. More often than not, this is an older employee. One gentleman I spoke with had this happen to him; in the back of his mind, he knew the company wanted him to leave for financial reasons, but he needed the job. As such, when he was asked to take the “miserable job,” he said yes. After many months, he asked for a change, and he was told by HR, “Well, you lasted a lot longer than we thought you would!” That was followed by HR telling him there was no other suitable role, so they would accept his resignation.

This type of ageism is often preceded by psychological damage and general diminishment of the person. Back to my ever-so-wise attorney friend Sue Ellen, who observed:

All of sudden, once-valued employees feel less valued they are forced into a role that no longer utilizes their strengths, they aren’t invited to key meetings, they are literally and figuratively being muted if not silenced, and it can become a self-defeating cycle because the natural reaction when this happens is to doubt yourself when in reality nothing has changed about your abilities as much as the organization’s natural inclination to gravitate towards the next shiny thing. And once that starts to happen to someone it can really wear them down, so this idea of leaving either voluntarily or not - starts to sound like a plausible idea.

This is essentially what is meant by the infamous phrase “put out to pasture,” and it happens much more often to older workers. They are just not involved in the way that they used to be involved, so it becomes this self-defeating cycle of yuck. Because if you’re not in the thick of things, your opinions are not going to be as well-informed. Then when you do get the chance to participate or give an opinion, it might not be as savvy or as spot-on as it used to be because you have started to doubt yourself and your ability to deliver value.

As humans, we are at our happiest when we feel involved, valued, and needed. When you no longer feel that in your workplace, particularly as an older worker who has been invested in a career for 30 or 40 years, it feels almost like a loss of identity. It’s almost like the stories you hear of one spouse dying followed quickly by the other. And after interviewing dozens of people, I can confirm that it hurts. A lot. Their hurt was palpable in each and every one of my interviews.

It’s a real ego blow to be treated this way. It’s hurtful. These are people who have spent most of their careers being highly valued, and then they all of a sudden get to a place where they start to wonder, when did I become invisible?

I think that’s partly why I opted to move on when I experienced this myself. I got some really good advice from a senior-level recruiter who I’ve known for a long time: he said, “The minute it [staying in the job] starts to erode your self-confidence, you have to get out of there.”

“I’m blessed with a fair degree of self-confidence, and it’s a lot easier for me than I think it is for a lot of people. I was also in a position where I could quitthat’s not true for everyone.”

Age discrimination also takes a heavier toll than other forms of discrimination on the health of victims. Boomers who want to keep working often need the income and health insurance that comes with full-time employment. Taking that away from them places a greater burden on public resources. In a statistic that shocked and horrified me, according to the AARP, those who lose their jobs past age 58 are at the greatest health risk, and on average, lose three years of life expectancy if they dont find another job.

A work study conducted by AARP in 2017 found that age is the leading reason for negative treatment by an employer. Participants were asked: “Thinking about how you are personally treated in the workplace, would you say the following generally caused your employer to treat you better, worse or no differently: age, race/ ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, veteran status? Notably, age was the leading reason, and it was nearly double race and more than double gender. This underscores the negative psychological and physical effects experienced by older workers subject to age discrimination.

SOURCE

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Has the Law Evolved Enough To Combat Pervasive Age Discrimination?
While #MeToo has become a large focus in corporate America, the law surrounding age discrimination and the HURDLES TO LITIGATION are largely ignored.

By Kathryn Barcroft
Law Dot Com
September 11, 2019

Activist organizations have been hard at work studying the pervasiveness of age discrimination in corporate America and have noted the difficult legal standards to prove it, which leave many workers without options in the workplace after a certain age. While #MeToo has become a large focus in corporate America, the law surrounding age discrimination and the hurdles to litigation are largely ignored. The issue is of particular importance as employees are living longer and choose or need to work later in life, rather than having the means to retire with a sizeable pension. The realities of age discrimination are a real concern for all races and genders in the workforce as they plan their careers and are sometimes illegally forced to leave a company due to age discrimination.

Ageism is a worldwide problem that can affect the employment status of older workers. The issue has garnered the attention of the World Health Organization (WHO), an organization that has noted in relation to their upcoming study on ageism that “age discrimination is an incredibly prevalent and insidious problem.” Paula Spain, Ageism: A Prevalent and Insidious Health Threat, New York Times (April 26, 2019). Further, unlike other forms of discrimination - [it] is socially accepted and usually unchallenged, because of its largely implicit and subconscious nature. Alana Officer and VԢnia de la Fuente-Nuez, A global campaign to combat ageism, World Health Organization (March 9, 2018). A full report on WHO’s findings is anticipated in 2020.

SOURCE

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“Astonishing Statistic” In New Workhuman Employee Survey, What Is Driving Discrimination

By Sheila Callaham - Contributor Diversity & Inclusion
Forbes
September 4, 2019

Today the Workhuman Analytics & Research Institute released its 2019 INTERNATIONAL EMPLOYEE SURVEY REPORT on factors contributing to job satisfaction, flight risk and emotional engagement. The institute collaborates with leaders in the human resources industry and global research experts to publish original research on current trends that affect and influence the employee experience, culture management, and leadership. The eleventh deployment since its launch in 2011, feedback was comprised of 3,573 randomly selected fully employed individuals in the U.S., U.K, Canada and Ireland.

While many of the responses were consistent with trending, one new finding is profound. The survey reports that one in four workers (26%) have felt discriminated against over the course of their career. When asked the main reason for feelings of discrimination, more than half (52%) cited age. Other factors included gender identity (30%), race (29%), political views (20%) and sexual orientation (9%).

Ageism and age discrimination have grown over the last five years to take the top spot for discrimination in the workplace. “That is just an astonishing statistic,” said Eric Mosley, CEO and Cofounder of WORKHUMAN (formerly known as Globoforce), whose mission it is to help forward-thinking companies energize their cultures, unlock their employees passion and potential and unite their workforce around a shared purpose.

“We weren’t surprised that workers want meaningful work, compensation and perks and to feel appreciated for their contributions. We weren’t surprised about discrimination in the workplace, especially around gender inequity. But it is alarming to know that age is the number one reason why more than half of those reporting feel discriminated against.”
- Eric Mosley, CEO and Cofounder, Workhuman

Mosley believes that people are more willing to speak about ageism in the workplace now than ever before, which is exactly what is needed to instigate change. “Publicizing ageism is a good thing because getting these issues out into the open and giving them a little bit of oxygen, will hopefully move the ball forward in redressing”, said Mosley.

The report also cites toxic work culture (40%) as the top reason for employees feeling unsafe at work. Mosley suggests distrust, discrimination and negativity create an environment where people don’t trust each other, their managers or their leadership. “Research shows that with increased recognition, appreciation and gratitude, civility increases. And when civility increases, toxicity is reduced.”

Finally, gender inequities continue to pervade organizations with men being twice as likely to be in a senior management or executive role. Moreover, more than half of women in middle and front-line management positions say a manager has taken credit for their work. And one in three women surveyed has experienced some form of discrimination.

On the positive side, the report indicates the most important factor in people’s careers is finding meaningful work. On the downside, certain segments of the workforce feel discriminated against and don’t get the credit they deserve.

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Posted by Elvis on 09/26/19 •
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Monday, August 12, 2019

Team Players

image: union workers

Great Teams Don’t Need Star Players

Linkedin
August 11, 2019

It’s tempting to believe that the very best team efforts come from recruiting the very best talent. But RESEARCH from Carnegie Mellon’s Anita Williams Woolley suggests otherwise. Having talented people on your team helps, but Woolley found that group members SOCIAL SENSITIVITY - the ability to identify and respond to social cues is much more important. What else helps? Groups that encourage equal participation, rather than deferring to one or two dominant players. And one recipe for team failure? Encouraging members to compete with each other.

SOURCE

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Why do teams of talented individuals so often underperform? The emerging science of “collective intelligence” may have the answers.

This is an edited extract from The Intelligence Trap: Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes.

Iceland should never have made it to the Euro 2016 men’s football tournament. Four years previously, they were ranked 131st in the world. Yet they knocked out the Netherlands in the qualifiers, and then as the smallest nation ever to reach the championships, drew with Portugal and Hungary, and then took down Austria. But their biggest scalp was England, a team packed with star names. So how did they do it - and what lessons can be learned from their unexpected success?

Many organisations employ highly intelligent, qualifed people in the assumption that they will automatically combine their collective brainpower to produce magical results. Yet such groups often fail to cash in on their talents, with poor creativity, lost efficiency and sometimes overly risky decision making. And exactly the same dynamics that brought Iceland their victory, and England their defeat, can help us to understand why.

Lets first consider some more general intuitions about group thinking.

One popular idea has been the “wisdom of the crowd” the idea that many brains, working together, can correct for each others errors in judgements; we make each other better.

Some good evidence of this view comes from an analysis of scientists’ journal articles, which nds that collaborative efforts are far more likely to be cited and applied than papers with just one author. Contrary to the notion of a lone genius, conversations and the exchange of ideas bring out the best in the team members; their combined brainpower allows them to see connections that had been invisible previously.

Yet there are also plenty of notorious examples where team thinking fails, sometimes at great cost. Opposing voices point to the phenomenon of “groupthink” - first described in detail by the Yale University psychologist Irving Janis. Inspired by the Bay of Pigs disaster in 1961, he explored the reasons why the Kennedy administration decided to invade Cuba. He concluded that Kennedy[s advisors had been too eager to reach a consensus decision and too anxious about questioning each other’s judgements. Instead, they reinforced their existing biases.

Sceptics of collective reasoning may also point to the many times that groups simply fail to agree on any decision at all, reaching an impasse, or they may overly complicate a problem by incorporating all the points of view. This impasse is really the opposite of the more single-minded groupthink, but it can nonetheless be very damaging for a teams productivity. You want to avoid “design by committee.”

Testing group intelligence

The latest research helps us to reconcile all these views, offering some clever new tools to determine whether or not a group of talented people can tap into their combined ability.

Anita Williams Woolley has been at the forefront of these new findings, with the invention of a “collective intelligence” test that promises to revolutionise our understanding of group dynamics.

Designing the test was a Herculean task. One of the biggest challenges was designing a test that captured the full range of thinking that a group has to engage with: brainstorming, for instance, involves a kind of divergent thinking that is very different from the more restrained, critical thinking you may need to come to a decision.

Her team eventually settled on a five-hour battery of tasks that together tested four different kinds of thinking: generating new ideas; choosing a solution based on sound judgement; negotiating to reach compromise; and finally, general ability at task execution (such as coordinating movements and activities).

Unlike an individual intelligence test, many of the tasks were practical in nature. In a test of negotiation skills, for instance, the groups had to imagine that they were housemates sharing a car on a trip into town, each with a list of groceries - and they had to plan their trip to get the best bargains with the least driving time. In a test of moral reasoning, meanwhile, the subjects played the role of a jury, describing how they would judge a basketball player who had bribed his instructor.

And to test their overall execution, the team members were each sat in front of a separate computer and asked to enter words into a shared online document a deceptively simple challenge that tested how well they could coordinate their activities. The participants were also asked to perform some verbal or abstract reasoning tasks that might be included in a traditional IQ test - but they answered as a group, rather than individually.

The first exciting finding was that each teams score on one of the constituent tasks correlated with its score on the other tasks. In other words, there appeared to be an underlying factor (rather like the underlying brainpower that is meant to be redirected in our general intelligence) that meant that some teams consistently performed better than others.

Crucially, a group’s success appeared to only modestly reflect the members average IQ. Nor could it be strongly linked to the highest IQ within the group. The teams weren’t simply relying on the smartest member to do all the thinking.

Since they published that first paper in Science in 2010, Woolleys team has veriified their test in many different contexts, showing that it can predict the success of many real-world projects. They studied students completing a two-month group project in a university management course, for instance. Sure enough, the collective intelligence score predicted the team’s performance on various assignments. Intriguingly, teams with a higher collective intelligence kept on building on their advantage during this project: not only were they better initially; they also improved the most over the eight weeks.

Woolley has also applied her test in the army, in a bank, in teams of computer programmers, and at a large financial services company, which ironically had one of the lowest collective intelligence scores she had ever come across. Disappointingly, she wasnt asked back; a symptom, perhaps, of their poor groupthink.

Behaviours that help

The test is much more than a diagnostic tool, however. It has also allowed Woolley to investigate the underlying reasons why some teams have higher or lower collective intelligence - and the ways those dynamics might be improved.

One of the most consistent predictors is the team members social sensitivity. To measure this quality, Woolley used a classic measure of emotional perception, in which participants are given photos of an actor’s eyes and asked to determine what emotion that person is supposed to be feeling, with the participants average score strongly predicting how well they would perform on the group tasks.

Woolley has also probed the specific interactions that can elevate or destroy a team’s thinking. Companies may value someone who is willing to take charge when a group lacks a hierarchy, for instance - the kind of person who may think of themselves as a natural leader. Yet when Woolley’s team measured how often each member spoke, they found that the better groups tend to allow each member to participate equally; the worst groups, in contrast, tended to be dominated by just one or two people.

The most destructive dynamic, Woolley has found, is when team members start competing against each other. This was the problem with the financial services company and their broader corporate culture. Each year, the company would only promote a fixed number of individuals based on their performance reviews - meaning that each employee would feel threatened by the others, and group work suffered as a result.

Since Woolley published those first results, her research has garnered particular interest for its insights into sexism in the workplace. The irritating habits of some men to mansplain, interrupt and appropriate women’s ideas has been noted by many commentators in recent years. By shutting down a conversation and preventing women from sharing their knowledge, those are exactly the kinds of behaviours that sabotage group performance.

Sure enough, Woolley has shown that at least in her experiments in the USA - teams with a greater proportion of women have a higher collective intelligence, and that this can be linked to their higher, overall, social sensitivity, compared to groups consisting of a larger proportion of men.

Does self-worth sabotage?

Woolleys work provides good evidence that individual talent may matter far less than the overall group dynamics within a team. To fully understand Iceland’s success and England’s defeat, we also need to explore how an individuals perceptions of their own talent can influence those group dynamics and the overall collective intelligence.

Various studies have found that inflated beliefs of your own competence and power can impair your abilities to cooperate within a team. And this means that groups of high-flying individuals often fail to make good and creative decisions, despite their individual experience and talent.

An analysis of Dutch telecommunications and financial institutions, for instance, examined behaviour in teams across the companies’ hierarchies, finding that the higher up the company you go, the greater the level of conflict reported by the employees.

Crucially, this seemed to depend on the members own understanding of their positions in the pecking order. If the team as a whole agreed on their relative positions, they were more productive, since they avoided constant jockeying for authority. The worst groups were composed of high-status individuals who didn’t know their rank in the pecking order.

The most striking example of these powerplays - and the clearest evidence that too much talent can be counter-productive - comes from a study of star equity analysts in Wall Street banks. Each year, Institutional Investor ranks the top analysts in each sector, offering them a kind of rock-star status among their colleagues.

These people often flock together at the same prestigious firms, but that doesn’t always bring the rewards the company might have hoped.

A study of five years’ data found that teams with more star players do indeed perform better, but only up to a certain point, after which the benefits of additional star talent tailed often. And with more than around 45% of the department fillled with Institutional Investors picks, the departments appeared to become less effective.

We see exactly the same dynamics in many sports. The social psychologist Adam Galinsky, for instance, has examined the performance of football (soccer) teams in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. To determine the countryҒs top talentґ, they calculated how many of its squad were currently on the payroll of one of the top 30 highest-earning clubs. They then compared this value to the countrys ranking in the qualifying rounds.

In line with the study of the Wall Street analysts, Galinsky’s team found a curvilinear relationship; a team benefitted from having a few stars, but the balance seemed to tip at about 60%.

If we look back at Icelands unexpected victory against England, it’s clear that the quality of the individual players was undoubtedly better than it ever had been. But although many worked for international football clubs, just one of them at the time (Sigursson) had a contract in one of the top-30 clubs. England, in contrast, had pulled 21 of its 23 players from these super-rich teams, far above the optimum threshold.

Humble leaders

All this research provides a couple of tips that could be applied to any team to improve performance. The first is in hiring: look for people with that social sensitivity rather than simply employing the person with the best individual performance. For the group as a whole, it may turn out to be far more valuable particularly if you already have lots of high-flying members.

The second is to ensure that the leader displays the kinds of behaviours they expect within the team. Various studies have found that traits like humility can be contagious. If the leader is willing to listen to others more constructively, rather than dominating the conversation, and admit his or her mistakes, the team as a whole can begin to nurture those dynamics that increase the overall collective intelligence.

After Iceland’s unexpected success at the Euro 2016 tournament, many commentators highlighted the down-to-earth attitude of Heimir Hallgrmsson, one of the teams two coaches, who still worked part time as a dentist. He was apparently devoted to listening and understanding others풒 points of view, and he tried to cultivate that attitude in all of his players.

Team-building is a must for a country like ours; “we can only beat the big teams by working as one,” he told the sports channel ESPN. If you look at our team, we have guys like Sigurisson at Swansea [Football Club], who is probably our highest-profile player, but hes the hardest worker on the pitch. If that guy works the hardest, who in the team can be lazy?

David Robson is a senior journalist at BBC Future. This article is an extract from his recent book The Intelligence Trap: Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes.

SOURCE

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Reading the Mind in the Eyes or Reading between the Lines?
Theory of Mind Predicts Collective Intelligence Equally Well Online and Face-To-Face

By David Engel, Anita Williams Woolley. Lisa X. Jing, Christopher F. Chabris, Thomas W. Malone
Published: December 16, 2014
Plos One

Abstract

Recent research with face-to-face groups found that a measure of general group effectiveness (called collective intelligence) predicted a groups performance on a wide range of different tasks. The same research also found that collective intelligence was correlated with the individual group members ability to reason about the mental states of others (an ability called Theory of Mind or ToM). Since ToM was measured in this work by a test that requires participants to read the mental states of others from looking at their eyes (the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test), it is uncertain whether the same results would emerge in online groups where these visual cues are not available. Here we find that: (1) a collective intelligence factor characterizes group performance approximately as well for online groups as for face-to-face groups; and (2) surprisingly, the ToM measure is equally predictive of collective intelligence in both face-to-face and online groups, even though the online groups communicate only via text and never see each other at all. This provides strong evidence that ToM abilities are just as important to group performance in online environments with limited nonverbal cues as they are face-to-face. It also suggests that the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test measures a deeper, domain-independent aspect of social reasoning, not merely the ability to recognize facial expressions of mental states.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 08/12/19 •
Section Revelations • Section Dying America • Section Workplace
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Monday, July 01, 2019

Long-Term Unemployment Elimination Act

image: jobs

As the economy approaches full employment, one of the persistent challenges remains finding jobs for those Americans who want to work but have been unemployed for a very long time. 

In May 2019, 1.3 million Americans fell into this category, which means they have been unemployed for more than six months and that does not even include all the people who had been looking for a job and then dropped out of the labor market altogether. Long-term unemployment can lock workers out of the job market, as research shows that employers are less likely to hire applicants with long gaps in their work history.
- Long-Term Unemployment Elimination Act

New Bill Will Get the Labor Market Running on All Cylinders

Mark Paul and Dean Baker
The Hill
June 28, 2019

For years, economists have been saying that were at, or “awfully close” to, full employment. The most recent numbers put the headline unemployment rate at 3.6 percent - the lowest rate we’ve seen in nearly 50 years. This is welcome news.

Relatively low unemployment means there are far fewer people looking for work who can’t find it. But low unemployment doesn’t affect everyone equally. When the unemployment rate dips to low levels, the people who benefit the most are those who have been at the back of the queue - black workers, Hispanic workers, immigrants and other disadvantaged workers in the labor market.

If we go back just five years, when the overall unemployment rate was 6.3 percent, the unemployment rate for blacks was 11.4 percent. Today, it is 6.2 percent, a drop of 5.2 percentage points. While this is still far higher than we should accept, it does represent progress.

The benefits of low unemployment go beyond just allowing more people to get jobs. It also gives more bargaining power to those workers who have jobs. We have seen this impact, as wages have at least modestly outpaced prices for the last four years, allowing workers at the middle and the bottom to see gains in living standards; though its barely putting a dent in the decades of stagnant wages for most workers.

According to the predictions of Federal Reserve officials a few years ago, these levels of unemployment were simply unsustainable. Importantly, this highlights a long and ongoing battle within the Fed over just how low unemployment can go if we are to avoid spiraling inflation.

Historically, the Fed has chosen to prioritize stable prices over full employment, resulting in decades of persistently weak labor markets that force millions of workers to remain idle.

But in this recovery, these economists were beaten back. This was in part due to pressure from groups like the grassroots labor and community coalition Fed Up, and, in part, the result of then-Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s willingness to hold off on rate hikes until there was actual evidence of inflation, which remains below the Feds target.

With these data points in mind, it would be easy to think that the labor market is running on all cylinders. But it’s not. Many groups of workers are still struggling to find employment and decent wages.

Nearly one-in-four unemployed workers have been out of a job for at least 27 weeks. These 1.3 million long-term unemployed workers, plus the millions of other people who have dropped out of the workforce or are underemployed, highlight the failures of the labor market.

Thankfully, some in Washington have been paying attention. Last week, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced the Long-Term Unemployment Elimination Act.

The bills aim is simple: Put an end to long-term unemployment. Importantly, the bill would provide much-needed funding to generate real job opportunities for the long-term unemployed through new mandatory federal funding to local workforce development boards and community-based organizations.

The jobs, which would last a year on average, will not only provide non-poverty wages to workers but will also provide the necessary wrap-around services to ensure success. This will help workers overcome some barriers to employment including transportation and childcare costs.

Targeted job creation, rather than tax cuts, which are the oft-proposed Republicans’ answer to such economic challenges, has a proven track record. First, instead of relying on the myth of trickle-down economics, programs such as these provide funding to employ all workers affected by long-term unemployment.

Importantly, the legislation also includes the millions who have been out of work for at least 27 weeks but aren’t counted in the official unemployment statistics.

Many will argue that now is not the time for such measures. After all, the economy is running hot. But they’re missing the big picture.

First, by putting in place the Long-Term Unemployment Act during a relatively strong labor market, the program will have a bit of time to get up and running. Second, by scaling up the program now, itll be ready to quickly ramp up when the next recession comes, which it inevitably will.

Democrats can decry Trump and the Republican party all day, but they need to take concrete steps to show workers that they can offer an economy that works for all.

As 2020 presidential candidates start offering their economic messages, we’ve seen many of them get behind the idea of a job guarantee. This program is no job guarantee, but it takes important steps toward ridding our economy of unnecessary unemployment that is costing not only economic output, but peoples lives.

Mark Paul is an assistant professor of economics at New College of Florida and a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. Dean Baker is senior economist and co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

SOURCE

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Long-Term Unemployment Elimination Act

By Senator Chris Van Hollen
June 2019

Long-Term Unemployment Elimination Act

There is no question that we have made important progress in rebuilding our economy since the Great Recession of 2008. But instead of helping forgotten men and women, President Trump and the Republican Congress have trained their sights on helping the biggest corporations and the very wealthy above all else. Senator Van Hollen believes there is a critical group being left behind: over one million Americans who are long-term unemployed. He is teaming up with Senator Wyden to introduce an innovative federal program that would generate real job opportunities for people who have been unemployed for six months or more, getting them back on their feet and into the workforce. 

The Problem: Too Many Men and Women Left Behind by the Economic Recovery

As the economy approaches full employment, one of the persistent challenges remains finding jobs for those Americans who want to work but have been unemployed for a very long time.  In May 2019, 1.3 million Americans fell into this category, which means they have been unemployed for more than six months and that does not even include all the people who had been looking for a job and then dropped out of the labor market altogether. Long-term unemployment can lock workers out of the job market, as research shows that employers are less likely to hire applicants with long gaps in their work history. 

This group of jobseekers cuts across all communities, ages, ethnicities, and occupations. In 2018, for example, 56 percent of long-term unemployed workers were younger than age 45, while the remaining 44 percent were 45 and older. Long-term unemployment is linked to lower wages for workers - even years after they do find a job and it reduces the economic potential of the entire U.S. economy.

Because of the normal churn in the economy, there will always be some unemployment. But the long-term unemployment rate should be near zero. This plan takes direct action to achieve that goal.

The Solution: Focused Funding to Create Jobs and Support Workers The Long-Term Unemployment Elimination Act recognizes the transformational power of work. It would provide targeted funding to local areas to generate work opportunities and get these Americans back into the workforce.

- The jobs would generally exist for one year. This would provide enough time to accomplish valuable work and build solid experience, and could be extended for an additional year to support apprenticeships and other on-the-job training. The jobs could be at a private business, a non-profit, or a government agency.

- With mandatory federal funding, the program can grow large unemployed and wants to participate. The plan is designed to address long-term unemployment under all economic conditions - the program will expand during periods of high unemployment.

The legislation provides supports to help people overcome the barriers keeping them out of the workforce such as transportation, childcare, job readiness training, substance abuse treatment, or assistance finding a permanent job - and training programs that build skills to sustain permanent employment.  Instead of the work requirements being pushed by Republicans which strip access to health care, food, and housing without creating a single job - this project would match the people who are looking for work with a job. 

The bill also provides competitive grants to local areas to support innovation and investment in areas hit hardest by high poverty and chronic joblessness, which would give additional flexibility and support in the places where it is needed most. These grants would support locally-driven development, worker-owned enterprises, and other strategies to ensure that area residents are part of the process and benefit from the results.

The Pay-For: Eliminating Tax Breaks for Shipping Jobs Overseas

The new Republican tax law creates incentives for corporations to locate production abroad and ship jobs overseas. By imposing a true minimum tax on foreign profits, we can keep jobs right here at home and fully fund this plan to tackle long-term unemployment.

Senator Van Hollen has joined with Senator Whitehouse to introduce the NO TAX BREAKS FOR OUTSOURCING ACT, and joined with Senators Klobuchar and Duckworth to introduce the REMOVING INCENTIVES FOR OUTSOURCING ACT. President Obama’s minimum tax proposal is a third option, and this policy would have raised roughly $300 billion over 10 years.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 07/01/19 •
Section Dying America • Section Workplace
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