Posts Tagged staffing

Takeaways from the August 2016 BLS Jobs Report are back at work after a long Labor Day weekend – though perhaps not as many as economists had predicted. Let’s take a look at the August 2016 BLS jobs report.

 1. Pay didn’t increase as much as predicted. Average hourly wages were only up .12% (3 cents) from last month, whereas last year they were up 2.4% from a year ago. According to the Wall Street Journal, this could have something to do with the fact that the lowest-paying sector – “food services and drinking places” – also added the most jobs of the month. 

 2. Fewer jobs were added. While 270,000 jobs were added in July, only 151,000 jobs were added in August. That’s a sharp decrease, and also less than the consensus, which had been 180,000. Still, that number is considered enough to absorb workforce growth, says

 3. It’s not as bad as it sounds. For some reason, possibly due to school starting, August numbers have often been disappointing. This is why economists say month-by-month reporting isn’t as reliable as year-by-year reporting. Plus, while the numbers aren’t great, they still show steady if slow growth.



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No Shortage of People or Jobs, Just a Shortage of Matches

wpid-recruitment-lead4Despite a sea of open positions and job seekers, news of a skills gap continues, across seas.  In British Columbia, a lack of skilled labor has temporarily halted a multi-billion dollar engineering project.  The Canadian government has recently come under fire from the Canadian Employee Relocation Council for proposing changes to its Temporary Foreign Worker Program in an effort to limit hires from abroad. Canada’s unemployment rate is seven percent.

In Japan, rebuilding after the 2011 tsunami continues, but not as quickly as it might without an understandably over-stretched construction industry and resulting skilled worker shortage.  Japan is expanding their foreign labor use, but training workers for skilled positions can take as many as 10 years.

And all over the world, IT plays a more crucial role in business success than ever.

Employers face fierce competition for tech professionals, and positions go unfilled because employers can’t find – or attract – the right talent. Though according to this article, growing market sensibilities should help alleviate some of the partially self-inflicted IT staffing crunch.

In other news, according to the Labor Department’s February jobs report, professional services, like engineering, grew by 79,000 after two consecutive months of relatively slow hiring.  This category of workers has grown the fastest since the Great Recession ended in mid-2009. One third of those jobs were temporary.

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Get Skilled Workers, During a Skills Gap

We’ve discussed that in 2014, technical skills continue to be in high demand.  What recruiters and staffing agencies as well as hiring companies have known for years, has now become undeniable to the rest of the country, so much so that even Washington feels inclined to task itself with taking steps to mend the gap.

From educators encouraging technologically inclined students to pursue those paths, to human resource professionals tirelessly recruiting those with engineering, accounting, finance, and information technology skills, we’re all doing our best to get these workers to the companies that need them.

In the meantime – what can hiring companies do when skilled workers are hard to find?

According to Execu-Search CEO Ed Fleichman in the company’s 2014 Regional Hiring Outlook Report, as reported by Forbes, companies are doing the following – and you can, too.

1. Offer more.  Forced to compete for scarce talent, the company with the sweetest deal wins.

2. Count soft skills.  When exact fits are like a needle in a haystack, look for evidence of analytical and problem solving, team playing, intrinsic motivation, and communication skills.  A talented candidate with these soft skills can be trained, quickly.

3. Provide training.  Going along with #2, companies are implementing internal programs for training.  This approach is smart because of how rapidly technologies change.  Companies know their needs best, can adjust their training accordingly, and tweak it to suit their exact needs more nimbly than can an educational institution.

This infographic, courtesy of Forbes, provides an interesting snapshot of trends affecting technical professionals as well as temporary staffing.


Forbes - Hiring Trends

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STEMs: A Big Hiring Trend for 2014


With 2013 over and gone, human resources professionals are already off the races with new – and some of the same – challenges they face in 2014.  Although benefits administrators have a lot of work to do to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, the new healthcare law isn’t their only focus.  One of the biggest challenges in 2014?  This one works in your favor, STEMs.  It’s finding job candidates with the science, technological, engineering, or mathematical (STEM) skills to fill jobs.  The shortage of STEM graduates and professionals continues, making those who possess these skills some of the most in-demand workers in 2014.  So while hiring may be slow in other industries, yours is quickly growing.  In fact, according to the Career Builder 2014 U.S. Job Forecast, one in four employers’ plans to create jobs in these areas during 2014.


This means recruiters who specialize in these fields are also in demand.  Since these types of jobs are often project-oriented, and because many candidates in these industries actually prefer contract staffing for its flexibility, work-life balance, and higher hourly rate, contract staffing for STEMS continues to grow as well.


Wisely, educators are encouraging more students with the appropriate strengths to pursue fields in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, but of course their efforts won’t pay off for a few years.

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The Next Big Thing

Is-This-the-Next-Big-ThingThe “next big” defining characteristic of society today?  That we’re always looking for the “next big thing.” Consumers, technologists, entrepreneurs, and investors…we’re all looking ahead to try and predict the new “it.”  It’s a tough job, since technology today is changing at exponentially greater and greater speeds – far greater than in any time in human history.

It’s exciting!…or exhausting.  Depending on how you look at it.

What if you’re the next big thing?

With much of the focus on often meaningless or trivial pursuits, there’s one way to focus your attention and efforts that is sure to pay off – for the rest of your life.  It’s you.

Spend a little time and energy grooming yourself to become a new you.  Form new habits to stick with you for a lifetime, allowing you to constantly reinvent yourself in little ways to stay relevant to employers and the times, while also – importantly – staying true to you.  Ultimately, it’s up to you how you want to become the “new you.”  But here are a few places to start.

Upgrade yourself.

Do it now.  Whatever project you’ve been putting off until someday, understand that it likely won’t ever happen unless you carve out time for it today.  You’ll have to weigh its importance, decide if you’re okay with it never happening, then act accordingly.  Either carve out time, or don’t.

 Never stop learning. Take a few minutes each day to read up on new technology and apply them to your work. You’ll be helping yourself, your company, and your work stay on the cutting edge.

Surround yourself with mentors.  Mentors possess the qualities you envision yourself having.  They’ll teach you how to become the person you want to be.  Spend time with them, and you’ll notice a change in yourself – one you’re going to like.

Be kind.  A little kindness and understanding truly do go such a long way. You’ll create a ripple effect that will surely come back to you.

The best part about upgrading yourself? Unlike the latest piece of technology or hot new toy, you’ve got staying power. And the new habits you create will not only make you relevant to today’s society – they’ll make you invaluable.

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The Prized Purple Squirrel

Purple-SquirrelPurple Squirrels are very sneaky, skilled, and rare creatures.  They keep themselves hidden to avoid a barrage of questions like “Why are you purple?” and “Can you fly too?”  They have poachers and are aggressive in a lot of cases.  I like to call them “Staffarazzi.”  These individuals can make a great deal of money if they find these elusive creatures, so they continue to hunt and search until they can uncover these Purple Squirrels to send to their clients.

I am of course talking about niche skill sets in hard to find market sectors.  As a recruiter, you understand that certain skill sets are just flat-out hard to find.  If you don’t believe that, take a look for an Alfresco Developer…for less than $100k.  That just isn’t out there.  So, for one, why do clients need Purple Squirrel candidates, and two, why do they have to engage a staffing firm to find them?

Why do you need Purple Squirrels?

For the most part, people have no idea this is what the industry calls these orders.  Say you are a hiring manager, and you have a software system in-house that was created by one of your employees.  That employee didn’t know that skill BEFORE they came to the company.  That means they had to learn it on site.  This employee, for whatever reason, leaves your company.  You are now frantic, trying to figure out what that employee did to create this now essential piece to your organization.  This leaves you with a void that will be very hard to fill.  Now, depending on the technology used, it may be easier than we think.  But not if your budget is still the same for this role to be backfilled…

Why does the budget matter here?  Well, let’s put this in perspective:  If you had the employee before, I wonder how long he has been there.  Let’s say 5 years.  When he came in, market conditions were different.  The size of the company was different.  Unemployment was different.  A whole host of things are different now.  This skill your employee created for him/herself was something that he/she knows is important.  It is worth money.  So, they went and found another role that will pay for that skill directly.  This is how it works every day…

So, when we want to find someone to fill this role, what other tasks did this person perform?  Can we expect to find everything that person was, plus this rare skill, for the same price?

Why do they have to engage us?

You are now asking for something that is extremely rare, in a price range that isn’t indicative of the role.  So, what do you do?…Post it to a job board!  Great idea!  Several days go by without any submittals.  Should I ask around the office?  Yes!  Let’s see who may know someone.  Then nothing again.  Let’s chat with HR and see what they have come up.  Several weeks go by with no luck.  Why can you not find someone?

Staffing firms typically identify these types of needs on a regular basis.  We do this so that we are prepared for our clients in their time of need, such as in this scenario.  We know what is hard to find because we spend hours upon hours working with clients, like you, to find these Purple Squirrel candidates.   We create relationships with these individuals and make sure we stay in front of them so we know what they are up to.  When your need comes in, we may just have the right person for you.  If not, we have the resources, time, and talent to find these people, wherever they may be.

If you need help, let a staffing agency help you.  An urgent need is what we are here to help you with and a complicated one gives me some more excitement in my day.  We can also consult with you to tell you about market conditions, best sources of candidates for the role, and what kind of budget makes sense.

Think you are a Purple Squirrel?  Send me your resume…

Looking for a Purple Squirrel?  Let’s talk about it…

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