Category: The Economy

2016 Workforce Trend Predictions to Impress at the Water Cooler

December 2nd, 2015

2016-workforce-trend-predictions-012016 is an election year. One thing is for certain either party’s candidate is going to be inheriting an economic environment that continues that slow but steady identity that has permeated the last few years.  If you need a new job, you’re in luck! The pendulum has shifted and this is now an employee market. Are you ready to acquire more talent for the business? Expect to invest more resources and to find “sourcing” talent as one your biggest challenges. Job board postings are way up. But their effectiveness continues to shift.

  1. GDP will not boom, expect 2.5-2.8%. Why? Demographics do not support the increase in productivity needed to get there even if the economic environment presents itself!
  2. Unemployment will continue to fall, as low as 4.8% but far from 3.9%.
  3. The year of the millennial in the workforce. They will hold 1 in 4 managerial roles and officially become the largest segment of the U.S. workforce.
  4. 2015 set several records in July and October of this year for the “number of jobs posted online”. Expect 2016 to surpass this consistently due to labor shortages.
  5. Did I mention labor shortages? Expect the average days to fill for skilled or technical positions to continue to go up, is some cases well over 90+ days on average!
  6. Baby Boomers are pulling the great disappearing act, retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day right now. They are retiring earlier than any previous generation due to the wealth creation effect of many two household incomes.
  7. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay. Compliance and reporting are no longer future events but business items that require all businesses to comply!
  8. Interest rates are going up. Because they have too. There are many pundits that some adjustment will be good for business too. Households have lowered their debts since the recession and businesses have taken advantage of cheap borrowing costs.
  9. The War for Talent will reach the 6 o’clock news. Yes, it will not be long until you see reporters at job fairs and news anchors lamenting the challenges that companies are having finding the talent they need to run and grow their business.  Yes, the Talent Challenge is happening right now. BUT, no one is really talking about it unless you’re in the talent field.
  10. 2016 is the year that the number of temporary workers in the U.S. stays over 3 MM throughout the year. It could get as high as 3.5 MM (but I doubt it). Current high water marks each month suggest that more than 25,000 temporary jobs are created some months.

Boiling Down the State of People in the Clinical/Scientific Industry

February 24th, 2014

Jobs and People by the Numbers

BioScience-Job-GrowthBased on the numbers in our infographic below (scroll down to take a look!), we know that the number of jobs in the Clinical/Scientific Industry have been increasing, are predicted to be at 97% of peak levels in 2014, and also are expected to continue to grow through to 2022 by 10%.

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) occupations will continue to remain center stage, with more than one in four employers (26%) planning to create jobs in these areas over the next 12 months.

We also know that clinical/scientific jobs are at the top of the list of skill sets for which employers need help finding qualified potentials. And that 60% of CFOs say it is somewhat or very challenging to find skilled candidates for professional-level positions today.

Finally, when it comes to workers, we know that more professionals are seeking new jobs in 2014 than they have been in prior years since the recession. While various sources present drastically different percentages of workers that will look for a new job this year, they all report the percentage is greater  in 2014 than it has been since the recession. Our sources also note that workers are more optimistic about the outlook of the coming year.

CareerBuilder states that, “A drop in job satisfaction may account for the expected rise in turnover.” The percentage of workers that are satisfied with their jobs dropped from 66% in 2013 to 59% this year; and those that are dissatisfied rose from 15% last year to 18% in 2014. The top reasons cited for dissatisfaction are salary (66%) and not feeling valued (65%).

So, how can we boil all this down?

At the Outside-In® Companies, we see these numbers in action daily while serving our customers in the pharmaceutical and bioscience industries. More companies are hiring so demand is high, which makes recruiting quality candidates more difficult. With this shortage of people, companies have to be creative in their recruiting. So to take advantage of the positive outlook both c-suite executives AND workers have for the coming year, how can employers identify and win over great candidates?

Here are five tips for your company to consider:

Marketing Your Company: Workers may feel optimistic about the coming year, however they won’t take the decision to jump jobs lightly. Your company needs to market itself to potential candidates so they become aware of who you are and what makes you so great. Understand that this is a long-term investment, that changing the market’s perception of you will take time and you won’t see the pay off immediately. In many cases, the market may not know about you, doesn’t know much about you, or they think negative things about you — so focus on increasing your brand’s awareness and generating a positive impression on people so they want to work for you.

Beef-up Your Employee Referral Program: Your employees already work for you for one reason or another, which makes them some of your best assets! Encourage your people to bring their friends on board — they are likely to have similar interests and similar values that will fit in with your culture. You can encourage employees by simply asking them to refer people they know for current openings, but also consider how you can “pay” people for their efforts. Many companies offer bonuses when employees’ referrals are hired, or when the person sticks around for 6 months. Good employee referral programs are often the top source of hiring!

Perk Up Your Benefits: Sure, people may be considering switching jobs this year, but with salary and “feeling valued” at the top of the list for dissatisfaction, they need to know that they will be getting better benefits in a new job. How does your compensation compare to your competition? How does your culture recognize its people? “Offering frequent recognition, merit bonuses, training programs and clearly defined career paths are important ways to show workers what they mean to the company,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources for CareerBuilder. In this market, the candidates are calling the shots — so what do you have to offer them that is shinier than what they currently have?

Consider Temps and Independent Contractors: The Bureau of Labor Statistics released on February 7th that there were 2.78 million contract and temp workers in the temporary help services industry in the United States. 2.78 million is the largest number of temps in the workforce ever. More workers are pursuing contract work or being independent consultants, so consider bringing quality candidates in as independent contractors. The world is going temp, so this is likely a good option for bringing in the best people for the job.

Location, Location, RELOCATION:
With a shortage of quality applicants and trouble finding the right people, your company might want to consider relocation. By expanding your search outside your geographic region, you can easily increase your candidate pool. You’ll want to look back at tip #3 to help convince people to make such a move to work for you, but it’s probably worth it so you don’t have to keep scratching your head looking at the same resumes over and over again.

Infographic – Presenting the Numbers

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Outside-In® Companies Radio Interview on Jobs in the New year

January 7th, 2014

Chris Barton of the Outside-In® Companies was featured on the WDEL afternoon news on New Years Eve to discuss trends for jobs and the economy in 2014 with host Allan Loudell. Watch this video to hear a recording of his radio spot.

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To listen to more WDEL radio podcasts, visit the WDEL website.

2014 Recruiting and Workforce Trends

December 31st, 2013

As a workforce and work place expert, we’d like to share our view of the 2014 workforce. After reviewing the numbers and statistics from 2013, here are 14 staffing trends to look out for in 2014.

  1. In November of 2013 the economy had more temporary jobs than any month but April of 2000. The number of temporaries as a percentage of the total workforce (called the penetration rate rose above Octobers’ number from 2.03 from 2.02 percent of the total workforce. This represents 2,775,900 workers in the temporary field. These numbers reflect the commitment of business to find ways to keep their workforce more flexible and adaptable to economic fluctuations and marketplace changes. You can expect this trend to continue and for 2014 to be the year that more temporaries than ever before are in the workforce.
  2. 2014 will continue to show improvements for college grads. Unemployment rates for college level unemployment fell .4% points to 3.4 from 3.8%.
  3. Unemployment rates will continue to decline. Currently at 7.0% down from 7.6% in May of this year. 2014 will bring the end to the 7’s as we slowly, gradually, almost painfully lower the rate!
  4. Monthly job creation numbers will continue to be above 200k jobs next year. The US created more then 200k jobs just a handful of times in 2013. This will become the norm rather than the highlight reel moment!
  5. You can expect 200,000 to retire per month. The statistics suggest that 10,000 a day/ 300,000 a month is plausible. Even with an improved stock market and stabilizing housing prices, the number is probably adjusting down a little.
  6. The new workers entering workforce have been thought to be balancing or replenishing retired workers. Expect the numbers of retirees to increase and the numbers of workers to be relatively flat. This could further lower unemployment in 2014.
  7. Technical fields will continue to show strong demand. These are good times to be in accounting, finance, IT, engineering or “ist” fields in the sciences (i.e. chemist or biologist).
  8. Organizations will continue to shift their business strategies, thus impacting their people. Look for more firms to focus on meeting the needs of workers that go through a reduction in force (RIF). Studies show that the focus is on getting people jobs first and doing what is right for the firm second. More and more outplacement will be done through virtual/technology driven models that lower costs of services but meet the changing needs of the worker! Office space is no longer important… and updated, contemporary coaching content will never go out of fashion!
  9. Never before in the history of the modern workforce will it be more evident that employees are fully responsible for their own careers as workforce trends confirm the end of the “parental role” big companes used to play.
  10. The Rise of the Coach. Today’s employee uses a coach to lose weight, achieve personal goals, to learn new skills in business as a high performer, and to manage their career. Look for the HR field’s (more likely and entrepreneur!) response to the needs of the workforce and to become their agent in 2014!
  11. Temporary staffing utilization is up over 8% this year. Expect that number to be exceeded in 2014 as more small and mid-market companies get comfortable utilizing a contract workforce!
  12. This is the year the underemployed make a change. The number of people that are chronically underemployed in lesser jobs or in jobs that provide less hours of work then desired see modest improvement. With unemployment being as low as April of 2008, this worker pool will be next in line!
  13. Jobs growth and creation will continue to be frustrating. Some markets and cities will see strong job creation, while others will continue to lose job sectors and industries at an alarming rate. Job growth will not be everywhere, instead you’ll see it in pockets!
  14. Overall, you can expect businesses to modestly increase hiring plans in 2014. But the use of temporaries will continue to rise as the business strategy behind using a contingent workforce continues to have a higher adoption rate.

Here’s to a great year for the workforce!

A Workforce Realignment

March 7th, 2012

With a career dedicated to recruitment and staffing, I am a student of the workplace and workforce. I pay close attention to the realities of the industry as trends emerge and realignments change the way we do things. What do I mean? Workforce realities are the collective impact of globalization, technology, government, demographics and social norms on running a business. And currently, there is a lot of debate about how business is doing workforce planning.

Post-recession thinking has it that business is prone to using a contractual workforce for six months–one year after a recession ends to handle increasing productivity needs. This mild, tenuous recovery followed right along with history, with one big exception! That one year quickly became two, and now three years. So what gives? What happened to the shift where companies stopped using temps and started hiring directly to the payroll? There has been a fundamental realignment in workplace planning thinking.

The business leaders of today know that the range and fluctuation in business can be extreme. Does anyone remember the last recession? Of course we all do. The last recession was akin to that 100 year flood that none of us can imagine happening to our town. But this time around, it was us that lived through it.

We will continue to use temporary workers to be flexible and adaptable to fluctuations in business demand. But the realities of today’s workforce is that we need to get used to it. The social norms still suggest that everyone should go get a good job and work for a great company where they can feel secure. But that security may come from our skills and our focus on building them — more so than where we work. Loyalty may not be completely dead, but almost. No company can make forever employment promises any longer.

Today, we are all responsible for our own career. It is our job to build our skills and to manage our career. And with a shift like this, skill building will come in the form of projects, contract work and temporary assignments.

Are you ready for the shift?

It’s Budget Time — Is Your People Plan Ready?

December 7th, 2011

Wait, maybe it is not that easy! Whether you are in a big company or a small entrepreneurial business, the fourth quarter is a time of planning and forecasting for the year ahead. 2012 is coming, and I am not sure we are all ready. But guess what? 2012 will come whether you plan or not. Why not be as ready as you can? Budget time, yahoo! The largest line item in all of our budgets? People!
You would think that with all of our advancements in IT and software that people planning would be easier. Workforce analytics and executive dashboards have come along way, however there is still a lot of managing to be done for most of us. Let’s look to history for our explanation. Traditions in budgets come into play. Long-range planning used to be much longer, 5 years or more. Business did not change as fast. We did not have as much information. The world moved a little slower. Today, one year can be a long time. Business moves up and down much, much quicker too. When it comes to the workforce, everything was more stable. Most of us stayed with one company a little longer. Companies could afford to be “parental” and careers began in the mail room and ended years later with the gold watch.
Wow, that sure is not true today. Budgeting for headcount did not change much year to year. Just add a few percentage points to last year for cost increases and move on. NOT ANY MORE. I have a good friend and customer who is in manufacturing. Every year they run an extensive process to plan for people within the business. And every year it is completely wrong. Planning how a business will do is one thing, but planning a business and its people needs? We are talking a completely different level of complexity.
The workforce/worker issue today is so complex. Each of us will have 7-10 different careers and many will change paths completely. There are multiple generations in the workforce. Some that remember and miss parental companies and many that know they will never exist again. Why? They grew up in households where their mom/dad/uncle/aunt were caught in down sizing and the realities of today’s world of work. Now there are options for free agency, contingent workers, contractors, temporaries. There is so much for managers to absorb and for the workforce to deal with. And yes, it makes planning for people and budgets harder.
Our managers psyche is forever changed. The economy is still so uncertain in its recovery and slowwww to rebound. We see high employment numbers and assume that people planning can and should be an afterthought. “There is so much available talent, just keep them coming.” My company hears this everyday. So many business plans are finished and then HR is asked to fill the openings. The War for Talent still exists. The War is just taking longer. The War is just different than we thought. Many critical skill sets remain difficult to staff with “A” players. Ask any head of engineering or VP of sales. The right talent is still rare.
Work is different today too. Most work we need done can be project oriented. Jobs and people are rarely perfectly matched. Change happens. People and jobs outgrow one another. This phenomenon has always happened, it is just speeding up! Technology has made most jobs portable — jobs can be done anywhere one has good Internet and telecom. Staff can be and is global.
So what does all this mean for you?

  • The world of work and workers has never been more complex for your business. And our mindsets and tools to manage have not kept pace. We all need to change and evolve.
  • Learn to embrace that the way work is viewed is forever changed. We must become workforce experts as managers of our businesses.
  • Get a rolling forecast going. Yes, build a budget that allows for changes and inevitable surprises. Roll with it.

The Jobs “Act”

September 14th, 2011

American Jobs ActPresident Obama outlined a $447 billion American Jobs Act this week that would cut payroll taxes paid by businesses and offer tax incentives for firms to hire new workers. But is this simply stimulus #2? Can our government really spend our way out of the iffy economy? Can building bridges and other infrastructure projects build long-term sustaining jobs? I am not so sure.
Government is a partner in a successful economic environment. Government’s role is to create an environment that encourages business. If we look to history we can see periods when government was not involved enough — times of monopolies and Robber Barrons. Currently, government’s position on business is uncertain at best. This uncertainty does not bolster confidence. And without confidence, there is no demand.
We cannot legislate our way out of this one. Nor can we spend our way out. Confidence from business leaders will come when they feel government is a willing and equal partner. The Jobs Act reduces employer costs for hiring. Sure, less payroll taxes help, but they do not create demand. If we feel that a reduction in taxes and a change tax code will help the economy then why not change the tax for the long run? The temporary nature of the Act does not instill the long term confidence necessary for leaders to make long term investments in their business. Lack of confidence = less demand.
Speaking of demand, a large percentage of our economy is driven by consumer confidence — as much as 70% of it. Without the commitment from businesses, new jobs will come slower than we need. Which means the real spark that can be ignited by the consumer will be slow to come.
I am just an entrepreneur. I don’t have all of the answers. But it is my sole job to know what my customers want and need to run my business accordingly. I either react and respond, or I don’t. That is really every leader’s job — to know their customers, their employees, their stakeholders. All Leaders have constituents. If business leaders fail to listen, their business fails over time. Government leaders? They get voted out of office.
All of this is about creating confidence as a leader. Demand will follow. Trust me. I live this every day.
For those of you that want some of the factoids on the “Act”, I outlined some key points below from an industry report for the staffing industry. The American Jobs Act would:

    • Cut the 6.2% employers’ portion of the Social Security payroll tax in half on the first $5 million in wages
    • Eliminate the 6.2% payroll taxes for any growth in payroll — whether through new hires, increased wages or both, up to $50 million above the previous year.
    • Provide a $4,000 tax credit to employers that hire workers who have been looking for a job for more than six months
    • Provide tax credits to encourage the hiring of unemployed veterans, both a “Returning Heroes Tax Credit” up to $5,600 and a “Wounded Warriors Tax Credit” of up to $9,600
    • Prohibit employers from discriminating against unemployed workers when hiring
    • Expand a payroll tax cut for workers. The tax cut would equal $1,500 to the typical family earning $50,000 a year.
    • Fund infrastructure projects and other stimulus programs as well as provide for unemployment insurance reform.

Isn’t Every Job Temporary?

September 7th, 2011

Sometimes seeing and acknowledging workforce and workplace change happens very slowly. For the past fifteen years there have been predictions that almost 50% of our total workforce will be contingent workers. To be specific, contingent means temporary, contractual labor, even seasonal and part-time workers.
We are not close to 50% yet, however, it seems with each economic business cycle the numbers edge upward. And you know what? I am beginning to wonder what ‘temporary’ means when it comes to jobs. But I will get back to that premise in a minute. First, let’s talk about the business side of the workforce.
Smart businesses have learned to manage their labor costs. Much attention and press has been given to our slow moving economy and the minimal job growth. Companies survived through the recession by trimming their “core” jobs and by reducing their contingent workers. In fact, from 2007 through mid-2009, the temporary workforce dove by 33.7% while the total private workforce dropped by just 5.8%, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data in The Atlantic.
For years the staffing industry has been espousing the benefits of a “contingent workforce strategy.” The numbers from 2007-2009 are evidence that businesses could reduce their costs and were able to do so quickly. In other words, the plan worked. Typically cost comes into play, simply put, there are less employee benefit costs. And for most, cost is a driver for using “temps.” However, the real benefit has been flexibility. The flexibility to lower labor costs quickly. The flexibility to change your workforce overnight. The ability to NOT have to build a permanent Human Resources department to screen, qualify, hire and fire. And finally, the ability and flexibility to add skills and competencies for project work.
And the numbers support that. In 2010, employment in temporary help services rose by about 300,000 to 2.21 million, according to the BLS. “By 2012, contingent employment will have returned to 2008 levels,” says Dana Shaw, senior vice president for strategy and solutions at Staffing Industry Analysts in Mountain View, Calif.
Growth and decline and temporary jobs will happen as a part of smart business. But isn’t every job temporary anyway? Have you ever looked at the average tenure of leaders of public companies? Some studies support that they average a little over year. I know some contract work that is longer than that! Besides, think about your job. Yes, the one you are in right now. Think about how much project work there is with a beginning and an end. Think about how frequently you are challenged to do things that aren’t written in your job description. Businesses demand both productivity and a growth in skills from its workers.
Burkhard theory suggests that most people are congruent or right for their jobs just a few times a year. Companies change fast. Jobs evolve. We grow in interest and in skill, and our job might not. Or the job changes around us and we might not be capable or even interested in how it evolves. If you’re in a fast-growing company, skills and work experience will change faster than people can settle in. If your business is shrinking? Many employees become too experienced for their role.
It seems like just yesterday that we all wanted was to work for parental companies and retire with the gold watch after thirty years. Many of us lived through the “age of free agency” in the workforce and perhaps scoffed at it for our own careers. Change comes slowly. However, change does come. And perhaps we are beginning to realize that every job is in fact “temporary.”

Leave Your Recession Mindset Behind

May 11th, 2011

Over the past few years we have all gotten quite used to operating in down times. As leaders we were looking for ways to reduce our overall costs, delay investments, or find ways to focus on being more efficient in our business. It took a while for most of us to fall in line and practice this form of tough love, but once we started it became what we know and do. And evidently, recession style leadership practices have helped many companies build cash and improve their balance sheet while streamlining their operations for future growth.
Unfortunately, this recession mindset impacted the “people side” of our business. It was hard to stop hiring at first, than BAM, everyone went cold turkey! Then the media continued to report rising unemployment and that the masses could not find meaningful work. At the height of the recession, there were seven unemployed for every job. I believe this perspective has seeped into our consciousness; we expect to have talent galore lining up for the few openings we have. And our people practices began to shift — we believed that:

    We had unlimited choices to fill our open jobs.
    We should slow down our hiring practices and bring in more candidates.
    We could scoop up a potential bargain at real value and that people would appreciate having any job!
    We should not have to compromise, negotiate or move off of our perfect candidate because of the perception of available talent.

Every day, my company coaches leaders on hiring around the shifting and changing realities. People are getting jobs more quickly, they have more choices and they are receiving raises again — not big ones, but compensation is beginning to increase. The reality is, despite the labor stats you may read, there are not as many talented people to go around. Having a recession mindset is dangerous because we don’t know when to change our behavior or trust that now is the time to hire or take risks again.
Perhaps you have been thinking that these thoughts are not your reality. I know my customers in the “ist” (scientists, biologists) and engineer category know that regardless of the reality of the total job market, some talent never went “on sale”. So as things change, we must all adapt. So how do you go about changing your recession mindset?

    Gathering information and observing your company and its behaviors are good steps to start with. After all, observing and coaching people is what leaders do, right?
    Think about the way you and your organization hire. What is your team’s mindset? Perhaps it is time to have some training on the shifting workforce and workplace realities and trends?
    Are you starting to lose talent through your hiring process? Are you moving through the process with pace? Or does your company think it has “a recession time line” to make its decisions?
    Is recruitment in your company not working well? At CBI Group we see issues with recruitment processes every day. A recruitment organization that was built structurally to hire less and more slowly will not compete with today’s faster pace, higher volume recruitment world.

Bottom line — what got you here, won’t get you there! The survival instincts that got you through the recession must now shift. Are you ready to leave your recession mindset behind?

Wait, how do I hire?

April 6th, 2011

In talking with our customers and prospects, it has become all too common to hear the phrase, “My company has forgotten how to hire.” The economic meltdown impacted hiring in some interesting ways. Of course it slowed it down or, in many cases, stopped altogether. Things became easier for employers due to the increase in job-seekers with limited choices, who were often willing to work for less. Now that times are improving, there is a very new reality; organizations have generally lost the organizational competency it takes to hire, even for “normal” hiring volumes.
One of our large customers had moved all of their recruitment staff into other projects and few wanted to return to recruiting. A small business customer was ready to hire sales staff again and their management team needed several sessions to get reacquainted with their hiring process. Companies are still cautious, yet ready to hire when necessary. Businesses are once again launching new products, which requires new staff. Positions that were downsized are now being replaced and companies need new talent. The why is somewhat obvious; the point is companies are hiring again and have forgotten how.
I’d like to help. If you are responsible for hiring again, consider the following:
Hiring challenges are systemic.
Human Resources has their hands full and their problems will take time to fix. Applicant tracking systems sit unused. Hiring managers don’t remember how to interview and forget to debrief afterwards. There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle, so take the time to remember how they connect.
How much is enough for now?
Workforce planning is a strategic competency that many firms struggled with even when they had the resources to hire fast. Hiring needs have changed primarily because leaders don’t know how long they will need to sustain a certain hiring output. Today there are so many good options to get the hiring done. Temp firms, recruitment outsourcing firms, research and recruitment companies exist to augment and complement a strong strategic recruitment game plan.
Hiring is a true team sport.
Hiring managers and Human Resources staff must work together, know each others’ role and understand both the process and the possible outcomes. Attracting talent and evaluating talent are done at the same time, sort of like slow dancing and fast dancing simultaneously. This is hard to do! Making hiring an organizational strength takes real time – just like any team sport.
Keep it simple.
There is a tendency to over-engineer your recruitment strategy because you have been given the chance to start over! Don’t. This is the time for simplicity, teamwork and education across the business. Be careful about adding too much too soon to your process!
I don’t have enough volume yet.
Business is now hiring. Energy is building and the pace is quickening. Yet most find themselves in-between sizes. There is not enough hiring volume to justify additional recruitment staff. Or hiring needs are difficult skill sets that are beyond the level in volume and difficulty of the current recruitment team. Now is the time to build flexibility and scalability into your model.
If you can relate to any of these issues, know you’re not alone. Hiring the right people isn’t simply matching a resume to a job description. People matters will never be that black & white. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to help.

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