Article 43

 

Job Hunt

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Down Skilling

image: jobs

I think it’s great if companies stop complaining that we’re TOO STUPID for the jobs out there, stop INSISTING ON DEGREES to apply for jobs pouring coffee, or insinuate that we’re LAZY BUMS that would rather starve than work.

It BEATS THE USUAL threats of outsourcing, offshoring, REPLACING AMERICAN WORKERS with robots or H1-B visas, or the lie we’ve been hearing for years about a SKILLS MISMATCH.

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Employers Eager to Hire Try a New Policy: No Experience Necessary
Inexperienced job applicants face better odds in the labor market as more companies drop work-history and degree requirements

By Kelsey Gee
Wall Street Journal
July 29, 2018

Americans looking to land a first job or break into a dream career face their best odds of success in years.

Employers say they are abandoning preferences for college degrees and specific skill sets to speed up hiring and broaden the pool of job candidates. Many companies added requirements to job postings after the recession, when millions were out of work and human-resources departments were stacked with resumes.

Across incomes and industries, the lower bar to getting hired is helping self-taught programmers attain software engineering roles at Intel Corp. INTC 0.63% and GitHub Inc., the coding platform, and improving the odds for high-school graduates who aspire to be branch managers at Bank of America Corp. BAC 1.20% and Terminix pest control.

“Candidates have so many options today, said Amy Glaser, senior vice president of Adecco Group, a staffing agency with about 10,000 company clients in search of employees. “If a company requires a degree, two rounds of interviews and a test for hard SKILLS, candidates can go down the street to another employer who will make them an offer that day.”

Ms. Glaser estimates one in four of the agency’s employer clients have made drastic changes to their recruiting process since the start of the year, such as skipping drug tests or criminal background checks, or removing preferences for a higher degree or high-school diploma.

Cutting job-credential requirements is more common in cities such as Dallas and Louisville, where unemployment is lowest, Ms. Glaser said, as well as in recruiting for roles at call centers and warehouses within logistics operations of retailers such as Walmart Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.

In the first half of 2018, the share of job postings requesting a college degree fell to 30% from 32% in 2017, according to an analysis by labor-market research firm Burning Glass Technologies of 15 million ads on websites such as Indeed and Craigslist. Minimum qualifications have been drifting lower since 2012, when companies sought college graduates for 34% of those positions.

Long work-history requirements have also relaxed: Only 23% of entry-level jobs now ask applicants for three or more years of experience, compared with 29% back in 2012, putting an additional 1.2 million jobs in closer reach of more applicants, Burning Glass data show. Through the end of last year, a further one million new jobs were opened up to candidates with no experience necessary,Ӕ making occupations such as e-commerce analyst, purchasing assistant and preschool teacher available to novices and those without a degree.

It all marks a sharp reversal from the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, when employers could be pickier. Economists say job requirements were harder to track then, because many companies didn’t post positions publicly and many resums werent delivered electronically.

Now, recruiters say, the tightest job market in decades has left employers looking to tamp down hiring costs with three options: Offer more money upfront, lower their standards or retrain current staff in coding, procurement or other necessary skills.

Rodney Apple, president of SCM Talent Group LLC in Asheville, N.C., said if companies won’t budge on compensation, experience or education requirements, he walks away.

We tell them,"I’m sorry, but we can’t help you fish for the few underpaid or unaware applicants left out there,” he said. SCM finds workers for dozens of small and midsize companies seeking supply-chain managers and logistics and warehouse operators across the U.S. Mr. Apple said talent shortages are more extreme than he has seen in nearly 20 years of recruiting.

Average wages have climbed steadily in the past year, but rising prices of household goods have made those pay raises less valuable to workers, keeping pressure on employers to increase salaries or re-evaluate their target hire.

To attract more entry-level employees, toy maker Hasbro Inc. HAS -1.20% divided four marketing jobs, which it previously designed for business-school graduates with M.B.A.s, into eight lower-level positions. The new full-time roles included a marketing coordinator, retail-planning analyst and trade merchandiser, all involving more routine activities supporting higher-level staff in the division.

Hasbro hiring managers originally sought candidates with a two-year degree for the jobs but ultimately dropped any college requirement, a spokeswoman said. The Pawtucket, R.I. company received more than 100 applications and hired nine people.

The new shift, called down skilling, bolsters a theory articulated by Alicia Modestino, a Northeastern University economist: When more people are looking for work, companies can afford to inflate job requirements to find the best fitand did so as unemployment spiked in 2008.

As college graduates and midcareer professionals raised their hands for jobs as hotel managers and bookkeepers after the recession, hires with more qualifications took a larger share of positions normally filled by the 75 million U.S. workers who lack a college degree.

After the recession, Terminix raised the bar for over 1,000 pest-control branch- and service-manager positions to require a two-year degree or a bachelor’s degree. In January, it reversed course and made degrees “preferred” but not mandatory, said Betsy Vincent, senior director of talent acquisition.

Anthony Whitehead worked for five years as a Terminix branch manager in Florida before he was promoted to regional director in early July. That position now accepts candidates with college degrees or equivalent experience, helping Mr. Whitehead clinch the role despite his earlier decision to enter the military instead of college.

Mr. Whitehead, 35 years old, said his approach to jobs requiring a degree has been apply anyways if I have the right experience, and then have the education conversation “if I need to,” he said, acknowledging his luck in working for companies like Terminix with flexible requirements.

A lot of employers are loosening college requirements even as the proportion of Americans with a bachelors degree continues to rise. Bank of America Corp. currently has 7,500 job openings world-wide and fewer than 10% require a degree, said spokesman Andy Aldridge. Mr. Aldridge said a surprising number of jobs could be filled by nongraduates, including most of the bankԒs tellers and employees handling customer-service and fraud-protection calls from cardholders.

In June, the bank unveiled plans to hire 10,000 more retail workers from low-income neighborhoods over the next five years, with or without degrees, said Chris Payton, head of talent acquisition.

Not every company is relaxing requirements: Economists say positions that require high levels of technical expertise, such as information security, still need advanced knowledge.

The tech industry has been quick to dismiss credentials like a bachelor of arts degree as irrelevant, especially in emerging fields such as data analytics, where demand for talent has risen faster than universities can churn out new graduates.

GitHub, recently acquired by Microsoft Corp., said it hasnt required college degrees for most positions in years. Degrees are optional for many Ғexperienced hire positions at chip maker Intel, which also has a Ӕtech grad job category the company describes as fitting candidates with relevant classroom or work experience from technical programs, such as coding boot camps.

Intel’s career website advertises roles, including a lab employee testing experimental devices in Santa Clara, Calif., and a components researcher improving the semiconductor process in Hillsboro, Ore., as available to candidates with a two-year degree, military training or other nondegree certifications.

Write to Kelsey Gee at kelsey dot gee at wsj dot com

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Posted by Elvis on 07/31/18 •
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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Returnship

image: old fart

I read an uplifting article like this A FEW YEARS AGO.

But I’m a little CAUTIOUS TO START JUMPING FOR JOY because only two long term unemployed/underemployed people I know - found a good job, or recovered financially - since starting this blog 14 years ago.

Everyone else - like me - LOST EVERYTHING.

There’s a thing called SURVIVOR BIAS - a human condition that CAUSES ONE to remember the few who succeeded, and forget the countless others who didn’t.

Whatever glowing report the story below describes, may be a glimmer of hope, and immerse some people in POSITIVE THINKING.

But FOR ME - thousands of resumes - and no job offer YEARS LATER - that’s all it is.

A glimmer.

Nothing more.

Nothing less.

FORTUNATELY OR UNFORTUNATELY - a LITTLE HOPE is all it takes to keep HUMPTY DUMPTY from falling off - or JUMPING OFF - THAT FENCE.

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The Suddenly Hot Job Market For Workers Over 50

By Julie Halpert
CNBC
March 18, 2018

Michele Meagher, age 66, appreciates the way she’s treated as an older worker by her employer, Tufts Health Plan, a nonprofit health insurance organization in Watertown, Massachusetts.

A corporate communications specialist, she was hired when she was 61. She’s able to telecommute three days a week. She participates in a weekly “Fit Over 60” exercise class at the office. Her employer has allowed her to take classes to learn new skills. Meagher said that when she previously worked at a high-tech public relations firm, she was one of the oldest workers. But at Tufts “I see me everywhere. I’m not a minority,” she said.

Indeed, Meagher is part of a fast-growing segment of those remaining in the workplace well into their golden years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FOR THOSE AGES 55 AND OVER is just 3.2 percent as of February 2018. That’s lower than the current unemployment rate of 4.1 percent for the entire U.S. population and a steep 14.4 percent for teens. Now, as the job market lurches back to life while the demographic of aging workers grows, companies in all types of industries from banking and health care to insurance - are wooing the silver set with a variety of programs.

Two decades ago less than a third of people ages 55 and over were employed or looking for work. Today the share is 40 percent, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve, up 10 percent from 1990. “There are a lot of those ages 55 to 70, and each of them is more likely to work now than in previous generations,” said Matt Rutledge, a research economist for The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

He says that many boomers facing longer live expectancies feel they DON’T HAVE ENOUGH SAVINGS YO RETIRE AT AGE 65. That’s in part due to the dwindling number of companies providing defined benefits; lack of pensions have caused many to hang in longer, said Amanda Sonnega, an associate research scientist with the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study. Rutledge says boomers also are better educated and these types of workers tend to stay in the workforce longer because they usually enjoy their jobs.

“In a tight labor market, creating a climate attractive to older workers is essential,” says Lydia Greene, chief human resources officer for Tufts Health Plan. The company’s 401(k) program includes a supplemental match of 3 percent each year on top of the standard 4 percent match for employees contributing 6 percent or more of their income. Individuals ages 50 and over make up 34 percent of the company’s workforce. They’re hired at all levels, from physicians to clinical-care managers and administrative assistants. “They bring so much experience to the table,” Greene said. “They’re very stable and very reliable and help us develop and mentor our younger workers.”

GOLDMAN SACHS’ RETURNSHIP program allows the company access to a new type of talent pool: mature workers, said spokeswoman Leslie Shribman. It provides a 10-week training and mentoring program for those who have taken a career break of more than two years, equipping employees with skills to reenter the workplace. Of the 350 people who have completed the program, roughly half have returned to work at Goldman.

At FCCI, a Sarasota, Florida-based company that provides commercial property and casualty insurance through independent agents, 34 percent of the workforce is age 50 and older. Lisa Krouse, the chief HR officer, said that with the insurance industry losing many of its mature workers over the ensuing years, there’s merit in bringing on older workers. Their seasoned perspective serves the company well in both evaluating risks and building relationships, a fundamental tenant of the insurance business.

She said FCCI fosters a culture of wellness and pays 80 percent of all employees’ health insurance and 100 percent of short- and long-term disability. The company offers its 825 workers technology coaching and hosts sessions on such issues as caregiving for aging parents and Social Security 101 and retirement planning.

Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston regularly recruits from a local organization called Operation A.B.L.E., which provides job opportunities for older individuals. Megan Bradley, the director of recruitment services, said snowbird retirees can pick up work when they return in the spring through a temporary agency owned by the hospital, BulFinch Temporary Services. A retiree medical plan allows eligible employees a more affordable way of paying the cost of medical coverage after retirement. The company provides a small financial subsidy and access to a private Medicare exchange, which has brokers who work individually with employees to find the most affordable Medicare plan that meets their medical needs.

Bradley believes being viewed as age friendly will serve the hospital well as it competes for future workers.

Some organizations are helping boomers wishing to change careers. A survey conducted last year of 2,078 adults by The Workplace Group, a recruitment firm in Florham Park, New Jersey, along with Lyon College and Rutgers University, found that 34 percent of those ages 53 and older defined themselves as being in the early or mid-career stage. “This suggests they’re switching professions or starting new careers, doing something they maybe always wanted to do,” said Steve Lindner, The WorkPlace Group’s executive officer.

The Encore Fellowship offers a six-month to one-year opportunity for those ages 50 and older to work at a nonprofit for $20,000 to $25,000. It’s provided more than 1,600 fellowships to date, including 957 in 2016 and 2017. Roughly half of the fellows go on to work in the nonprofit sector.

Anne Kirwan, the fellowship’s managing director, says nonprofits are under-resourced. Fellowships allow these organizations “to get an experienced person who would [ordinarily] command a high salary but who wants to create meaning and purpose in their work life.” Fellows, in return, learn about the nonprofit world.

After more than two decades working as a top executive for major banks, including J.P. Morgan Chase and Deutsche Bank, Sefi Shliselberg, now 61, wanted to devote her time to a pursuit that contributed more to society. She became a fellow with the Girl Scouts of America in New York in October 2016 as director of business development. “It was a remarkable opportunity to have an impact and really transfer my for-profit skills into a nonprofit in a big way,” she said.

This month she’ll start working at Change For Kids, a nonprofit that provides resources to underserved New York City elementary schools. Katrina Huffman, Change for Kids’ executive director, said Encore fellows “have such an archive and wealth of information that nonprofits like ours can leverage. They can bring those skills to us and avoid pitfalls.”

But there are still obstacles for some older workers. Laurie McCann, senior attorney at AARP Foundation Litigation, which represents low-income older individuals, said that while there are some “enlightened” companies that recognize the value of experience, age discrimination is still rampant. She points to 18,376 age discrimination complaints filed with The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2017. “We haven’t done enough to challenge those stereotypes,” that older people won’t stay long before they want to retire and don’t want to learn new technology. “Until we do, AGE DISCRIMINATION is not going to go away.”

Despite that hurdle, The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that those ages 65 and over will experience the fastest rates of labor force growth by 2024. Meagher expects to be one of those workers. “I love my job. I’m getting better every year, and my writing skills have improved. I could do this well into my seventies.”

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Posted by Elvis on 03/22/18 •
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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Orlando The Next Silicon Valley

image:orlando

People Are Leaving Silicon Valley and Orlando Might Be the Next Hot Spot
Affordability, tech talent pools and access to capital top the list.

By Jeff Barrett, CEO, Barrett Digital
March 8, 2018

It costs $2000 to rent a U-HAUL in SAN FRANCISCO.  Rent one anywhere else and it’s roughly $100. This year the Bay Area will lose more people than any other region in the country. The reason is a variety of factors; affordability, access to opportunity and technology making it increasingly easier to work from anywhere.

The consolidation of TALENT BUBBLE in SILICON VALLEY has burst. It was a great run. Where do people and companies go next?

When you’re considering where to relocate, which I’m in the process of doing myself, access (both to capital and talent) is key. What I look for in a destination city are strong existing companies, a large talent pool and capital that exists but may not be investing in tech yet.

Think Outside of Conventional Tech Hubs

I toured ORLANDO in January. In the last six years the city has grown 16.31 percent. And at first blush you may think theme parks, retirees and tourism. But they have the largest university in the country, based on enrollment, in UCF. Downtown is young. And there’s a pipeline of talent both from universities and strong existing companies like Disney, Lockheed Martin and EA Sports.

Orlando has already seen the Silicon Valley exodus pay dividends, with fast-growing Fattmerchant. The young payment processing company is growing rapidly. Founder Suneera Madhani and her brother Sal Rehmetullah, who worked in Silicon Valley, intentionally chose to plant their flag in Orlando.

“Fattmerchant is where we are today because of the support of the Orlando community,” said Suneera Madhani, CEO, Fattmerchant​. “We are proud to be Orlando born and bred and find that as we expand Orlando continues to have the infrastructure we need to not only achieve our growth but to continue to surpass our goals.”

Enter on the Upswing

“We’ve stayed ahead of the curve by testing and implementing bleeding-edge cleantech solutions, such as floating solar power, electric buses for public transit, and even positioning ourselves as a national research hub for autonomous and connected vehicles,” said Chris Castro, who leads sustainability and smart cities initiatives for the City of Orlando.

If Orlando wants to attract those leaving Silicon Valley it starts with the same things most cities pitched to Amazon for HQ2. Castro anticipated this years ago and has Orlando already prepared.

Donna L. Mackenzie, Executive Director, Canvs, Starter Studio, FireSpring Fund has worked to deliver a similar infrastructure to Silicon Valley in Orlando. Her space offers a variety of education programs that are open to the public, accelerator programs that take founders from idea to a scalable venture, collaborative work spaces, seed funding, and access to angel and venture capital.

Make Sure a City Invests in Education

OTRONICON, Orlando’s annual tech conference, is different than anything I’ve ever attended. It’s for kids, rather than adults. It’s interactive, educational and full of plenty of Esports tournaments.

“It’s a great venue that introduces students to the high-tech world and gives them the opportunity for high-tech careers right here in our community,” said Adam Breed, Engineering Project Manager, Lockheed Martin​. “A software development panel at Otronicon featured a lead Lockheed Martin engineer and opened the eyes of a recent college graduate. He was quickly interviewed and brought into Lockheed Martin within weeks to help develop some of our most advanced simulators.”

Assess the Network

FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY, which prepares people for work in entertainment, has also been paramount in this youth movement. Last year 66 Full Sail graduates worked on 10 Oscar winning films.

Chance Glasco, the co-Founder of Call of Duty is an alum. His latest venture DOGHEAD SIMULATIONS is creating VR meeting space and is partnering with Full Sail University with its HQ on site. Having access to state-of-the-art and graduating talent was key in Glasco’s decision to stay local.

This rise of highly-trained entertainment talent has also translated in to a growing film industry. “Last year, the Orlando region saw a 78 percent increase in commercial productions when compared to the previous year. While Florida currently lacks an Entertainment Industry Financial Incentive Program,” said Sheena Fowler, Orlando Film Commissioner, and also a Full Sail alum.

What to Consider Most

Orlando’s challenge will be migrating real estate investors to startups and high tech. The success of Fattmerchant and the work Donna Mackenzie and others are doing in the incubator space will help.

If I’m a young company that wants to create a longer runway--keep costs low to buy time before success--I would chose Orlando. The young talent is there. There’s an Orlando tech ecosystem already in place that wants you to succeed.

There’s no state income tax, no inflated wages or housing and there’s a growing, young, downtown community.

Orlando is a lot like Bitcoin was five years ago, you should get in while it’s still cheap.

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Posted by Elvis on 03/15/18 •
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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Preying On The Job Seeker 17

Image:

You’re desperate for work.  A recruiter from a big staffing agency calls with an attractive job offer.

But first you have to SIGN A CONTRACT that lets the recruiter’s company share any info they have on you, with whomever they please, while giving up your right to sue them if whatever that is comes back and hurts you.

The recruiter emailed me this:

Authorization & Release: As a registered candidate of Big Staffing Company Inc., I may elect to participate in certain programs, including, but not limited to, training, assessment, and certification programs and courses ("Programs"). As a condition of my participation in the Programs, I authorize Big Staffing Company Inc. to release certain data, including, but not limited to, exam scores, testing data, and personal data related to my participation in the Programs ("Data"). I hereby release Big Staffing Company Inc., its divisions, and their respective employees, agents, and affiliates from any and all liability relating to my participation in the Programs and Big Staffing Company Inc.’s release of Data.

Big Staffing Company Inc. and I mutually agree to resolve by individual arbitration, and only by individual arbitration, all claims, whether or not arising out of my employment (or its termination), that the Company may have against me or that I may have against the Company

All required fields and tags must be completed before you can finish the process.

I figure this is more for things like LABOR LAWS, but still - it could bite you in the ass real bad - eg: testing positive for pot, or failing some techie test - and stay with you forever.

The part about their agents and affiliates could be anybody. 

Perhaps a crook standing on the corner down the street.

Or my x-wife.

Would you sign?

Posted by Elvis on 02/14/18 •
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Monday, February 05, 2018

Can’t Find A Qualified US Worker Redux 8

image: geek guy

Is the problem incompetence or lack of training?

By James DaSilva
Smart Brief
january 28, 2018

One of the COMMMON COMPLAINTS you’ll see today is executives saying how there isn’t enough talent out there, not enough people with the right skills or even the willingness to learn. They say that people—almost always “young people”—are too eager to jump ship.

What are companies to do when there’s not enough talent and what talent there is will just leave?

I can sympathize with this, to an extent. It’s a tight labor market (though maybe not as tight as claimed), and certain jobs are harder to hire for than others. Less glamorous jobs that require computer or technical skills can be especially vexing to manufacturers and other employers. Trucking companies can struggle to find candidates who can pass federal drug-testing guidelines. Rural areas can face obstacles that cities don’t in attracting people.

But another side of this is that employers often expect fully trained, expert employees to show up at their doors. It’s one thing to have an uneducated workforce; IT’S ANOTHER to look at job candidates with potential who need on-the-job training and say, “They aren’t skilled in what we need.”

(Lets put it another way: If your company’s work requires only skills that people should already have, those skills aren’t unique and differentiated, and it’s unlikely your company is, either. If those people have the right skills, they probably have a job already, so why leave that for you?)

Similar to this is the twin problem many organizations have: They churn through employees in certain positions, as no one seems to be able to do the job. Yet, its an open secret that some people, possibly executives, are untouchable even though they seem to lack in talent, results and improvement.

At the risk of oversimplifying, these problems have the same root cause: The organization is not taking responsibility for training people, placing them in a position to succeed and following up by holding everyone to account.

Training is personal

How your organization goes about training is a personal (and personnel) decision. Every company, every industry has its own methods. Onboarding, ongoing development or career pathing can also differ depending on whether we’re talking full-time employees, part-timers, freelancers or contractors.

So, I can’t solve the specifics for you. What I do want to talk about is the mindset you’re starting with. Let’s assume we all want a few basic things out of the people we hire:

They are able to learn and retain.
They are productive and efficient.
They understand how to do their jobs (maybe even innovate).
They understand their expectations and incentives.

That’s just one way the worker’s obligations could be phrased. Now, lets look at some of the employer’s obligations:

Be clear about the job.
Be clear about how the job is done and what is required to do the job well.
Be clear about what the worker must do to meet expectations.
Provide the support, tools and resources necessary.

Im leaving out things about safety, culture and making sure incentives line up with desired behaviors. Those are not unimportant! But let’s pretend, for now, that those can be folded into the above bullet points.

There’s one bullet point missing:

Be clear the worker understands all of the above and is actually properly trained and informed.

If you have a worker who is not doing the job, that’s bad for that person. Its also bad for the boss, the leader, the employer. If you find yourself with an employee who’s not performing, ask yourself:

Have you trained this person?
Have you explained what needs to be done, and why?
Do you have confirmation that the worker understands?
Do they have the resources they need?
Maybe reskilling is what’s needed?

Being thorough from the hiring process through this reflection and remediation is a lot of work. But there are benefits: You gain a skilled employee, who might be more loyal because of the investment of attention, time and resources. And, if there is no progress, you know that for sure rather than through a hunch or from bias.

Moving on

Lets say you’ve gone through this process, maybe more than once, and there remains a disconnect, an unwillingness or inability of the worker to do the job, and no further accomodations can be made. Well, then you know (barring legal hurdles, of course) that you can and should move on.

Indeed, you must move on, or you’ll create a two-tiered culture: people who do their jobs yet are side by side with people who don’t but aren’t held to account.

Don’t blame people for doing bad work when you haven’t done your part to prepare them. But, also, don’t keep people who just wont do what is needed. Either way, assume that it’s on you, the employer or the manager, to make sure the worker has the best possible chance to succeed.

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Posted by Elvis on 02/05/18 •
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