More Men Left Out of Jobs Recovery

While the economy has replaced the jobs lost in the recession, not all members of society have reaped the benefits. According to Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), American men are still 582,000 jobs shy of their pre-recession employment peak.
IWPR said that American women recovered their pre-recession peak employment numbers by September of last year, but men have yet to catch up. Worse, they are continuing to fall behind:
Of the 288,000 jobs gained during June of this year, women gained 158,000 jobs, while men only gained 130,000.
IWPR – citing survey data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics – said that among workers aged 16 and older, 5.9% of women were unemployed in June. For men, the unemployment rate was 6.3%.
While continued strong employment growth should “lift all boats” it is disturbing to see this gender discrepancy in the distribution of jobs. Ideally, no one should be left behind, but clearly some are, and they are disproportionately men.
Work needs to be done to understand why this is, and what can be done about it.

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Job Trends Remain Positive in June

Last week, the Bureau of Labor statistics released a strong employment report for June. This week, a report that serves as a “look ahead” at hiring trends also came in with a strong reading.
The Conference Board said that its Employment Trends Index (ETI) for June was up from May’s reading, and represented a 6.3% gain versus June 2013.
According to the Board, June’s increase was driven by positive contributions from such factors as the Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now, Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales, Industrial Production, Number of Temporary Employees, Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get,” Job Openings, and Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers.
These are all “leading indicators” of where employment is headed in the near future. The Board said that seven of the eight factors it measures increased during June.
What this means is that we could be seeing some strong jobs numbers in the months ahead. Given the very good performance posted in June, that could well result in unemployment and labor participation rates not seen since the “good old days” before the recession.
More importantly, a several months of better-than-expected jobs reports could signal a strong – and durable – economic recovery.

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How Good Was the June Jobs Report?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its employment report for June, and the numbers are mighty impressive. Is it time to break out the bubbly, and declare that a full economic recovery is finally underway? Or should we curb our enthusiasm just a bit?
BLS’ headline numbers were spectacular: total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 288,000 in June, while the unemployment rate declined to 6.1%. These weren’t just good numbers; they we’ve been needing to see consistently in this lengthy post-recession recovery.
Not only were the totals impressive, but a breakdown of the data reveals a broad-based surge in hiring during June: professional services, manufacturing, retail and financial services all saw nice gains in hiring. The construction industry was the big gainer – a fact that signals a healthy recovery in real estate.
The Washington Post – citing a recent Gallup poll – points out that 45% of Americans reported being employed full-time in June. This the highest number seen since the polling firm began tracking this figure in 2010.
It is hard to poke holes this BLS report, or to be anything less than excited by the accelerating recovery that these jobs numbers seem to indicate. Yes, it is that good.
About the only cautionary note we’d sound is to wait through a few more monthly reports before declaring the hard times to be over. Recent data suggests that the economy actually contracted earlier this year – a victim of the harsh winter weather.
Last winter slowed retail sales, auto sales, and consumer confidence — and put the brakes on what had been a strong real estate recovery in 2013. What we’re perhaps seeing in the June data is the result of pent up demand for labor, as hiring plans put on hold for months are finally brought into being. Perhaps.
On the other hand, this could well be the signal of strong recovery that we’ve all been waiting five years to see. Let’s hope this is what the June BLS numbers are telling us, and what future reports will continue to tell. We’ll certainly know if that’s the case by the fall.

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The Boss Needs a Vacation

Your boss really regrets not taking enough time off during his/her last vacation, if the results of a recent survey are any indication. Given how grumpy people get when they’re not well-rested, you may be regretting it, too.

Staffing firm OfficeTeam said it surveyed senior managers to find out how they approached their vacation time. According to the firm, one in three (34%) of the respondents said that taking too little time off was the biggest mistake they made with their last vacation.

One quarter of the senior managers interviewed said they couldn’t relax, or get their minds off of work. This isn’t surprising, since 22% said they made the mistake of checking in with the office too many times while on vacation.

OfficeTeam advises managers to time their vacations to avoid scheduling them during “crunch time” at work. Also they should have their workplace sorted out for their absence, by having people designated who can handle tasks, and make decisions.

Managers should also remember to notify all key people of their impending vacation, and to get important work cleared before departure. Most of all, managers should plan to disconnect from the office as much as possible, and set firm “ground rules” about how much contact to have with work.

If your boss does all of these things — and takes a good, long, relaxing vacation this year — you and your co-workers may all be thankful.


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Job Satisfaction Inches Up, But Is Still Under 50%

A new report finds that, while Americans have higher job satisfaction than they have in years, most are still unhappy with their jobs.

The report, by The Conference Board, is based on a Fall 2013 survey of 5,000 U.S. households. In it, 47.7% of respondents said are satisfied with their jobs — which was up from 47.3 in 2012 and 42.6% in 2010.

In fact, this new survey found the highest levels of job satisfaction shown since the Great Recession, the Board said.

However, the majority of Americans surveyed said they were not satisfied at work. Contrast that with the 1980s and 1990s, when these surveys often found job satisfaction levels in the high-50s.

According to the Board, the last time a majority of Americans surveyed said they were satisfied at work was 2005.

Hopefully, an accelerating economy will push those numbers higher before next year’s survey. It would be nice if we didn’t have to see a full decade of job malaise in the land.


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Have Your Resume Written by a Pro

Career Igniter, a website that’s all about resume writing, said it has added a “professional writer” option to its service offering.

For many of us, putting together a winning resume is a real challenge. Even with online tutorials and professional advice, many of us struggle with the finer points of building a resume that stands out, and gets results.

For one thing, many people have a hard time effectively promoting themselves. Others fall back on clichés and use “blah, blah, blah” jargon to describe their accomplishments and experiences.

If you’re in that boat, Career Igniter claims to have a solution with its new resume writing service. The service allows you to turn your resume-writing challenge over to professional resume writers, for a fee.

We looked at the Career Igniter site, and found typical fees ranging from $179 for an “entry level” resume to $349 for an “Executive” resume. Cover letters are extra ($79–$99, in these categories) , as are “thank you” letters ($39 for both categories), lists of references and LinkedIn Profiles ($119 for both).

The service also offers options for Professional ($229), Federal ($319) and Military ($289) resumes.

Career Igniter said it offers a 30-day revision policy and “quick order turnaround” at its site. The company also offers its “resume builder” app, which has some free, and some fee-based, options to help you build your own resume.

The app does seem to offer some good features, and received a 3.6 rating on Google play. However, it is a DIY process; if you want to simply hand over the job to pros, you’ll have to pay the big bucks for the new professional resume writing service.

Overall, Career Igniter is worth checking out, since you can access quite a bit of good information – and some useful tools – for free. As for their paid services, one thing to keep in mind is that this company has a “no refund” policy in their Terms of Use. So, make sure you are satisfied with the breadth of services offered before you commit to paying them any money.


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People Seek Honesty in an Employer

Is honesty really the best policy? It is, if you’re a company that wants to recruit and retain the best workers, according to a new study.

HR services firm Randstad has released its 2014 Employer Branding Study, showing that today’s job seekers are almost as interested in the “personality” of a company as they are about the job offer.

For instance, Randstad found that 78% of workers are looking for an employer that is honest. Other employer qualities that appeal to workers are reliability (78%) and security (71%).

Prospective employees also want to work for a company that is well-respected (51%). What they were least interested in was working for a company that was described as daring (6%), robust (6%) or masculine (4%).

Other important considerations included long-term job security (55%), a pleasant working atmosphere (49%) and good work/life balance (43%), Randstad said.

If you’re an employer who wants to hire the best people, keep these things in mind. While salary and benefits are important, today’s employees are looking for the “full package.”

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How Much Do You Contribute to Your 401(k)?

A new study tries to find out what the average worker – in various cities and industries – is contributing to his/her 401(k) plan. See how your contribution stacks up.

HR services provider TriNet said that its TriNet SMBeat is a monthly analysis of small to medium-sized business (SMB) employment and human capital economic indicators.

The May 2014 issue of the report chronicled how big a contribution workers were making to their 401(k)s. What they found, not surprisingly, is that higher income workers tend to contribute more than lower income workers do.

TriNet said that the average employee in its database contributes around 4% of their base salary to 401(k) plans. However, a slim majority (51%) contribute nothing at all. (Experts say that you should save a minimum of 5% of your income toward retirement).

Among TriNet’s worker populations, the 401(k)-contributing champions were found in the San Francisco Bay Area. Employees in the Bay Area were found to contribute an average of $4,700 per year to their plans.

How are your contributions stacking up against these averages?


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These Productivity Killers Make the Workplace a Drag

If you’re finding that not a lot of work is getting done at your workplace, perhaps the following employee behaviors are the culprits.

Online jobs firm CareerBuilder said it conducted a poll, and identified the top ten “productivity killers” that both employers and employees have observed at their workplaces.

According to the firm, the poll took in a representative sample of 2,138 hiring managers and human resource professionals. Also polled were 3,022 full-time, private sector workers.

What were the biggest time-wasters? In descending order, they include cell phone/texting, gossip, the Internet, social media, snack/smoke breaks, noisy co-workers, meetings, mail, co-workers dropping by and co-workers putting calls on speaker phone.

Most of these involve employees treating work as an extension of their social lives, while others simply have to do with poor work habits.

For instance, we’ve probably all worked in an “over meeting-ed” workplace, where every little decision has to be made by committee.

But, for the most part, these productivity killers could be drastically reduced if only people learned to separate the work and the social. After all, the more you get done at work, the more free time you’ll have for your social life.  Unless, of course, you have a boss who needs to have five meetings per day.


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Gen Y Has a Thick Skin, After All

Gen Y has sometimes been labeled as the “praise generation” by jaded Boomers, but some new research reveals that younger people are thicker-skinned than many give them credit for. In fact, they often thrive on negative feedback.

New data from leadership development specialist Zenger Folkman reveals that the Millennial generation is anything but the entitled, instant gratification-craving (read “spoiled”) folk that this 18-34 set is often tagged with being.

The firm said it surveyed more than 3,000 employees, asking the question, “If I had my choice I would rather receive…” The choices were: “Praise or recognition for a job well done;” orSome helpful corrective feedback.”

According to Zenger Folkman, the #1 answer from Gen Y, (with a 66% response rate), was, “Some helpful, corrective feedback.”

When the question got more specific to the boss/employee relationship, as in, “What I appreciate most from my manager is…,” — with the choices being: “Clear, specific critiques of what I could do better;” or “An abundance of recognition and praise” —  Gen Y clearly preferred clear and constructive feedback.

Does this mean that today’s younger workers are more open to criticism than their forebears? The answer is somewhat complicated: as Dr. Joe Folkman, President of Zenger Folkman, points out, the survey reflects the views and wishes of workers who are relatively new to the workplace.

Ambitious young workers have always valued constructive criticism, so these results may not signal a generational shift. However, today’s young worker has grown up in an environment of uncensored opinion and (often) harsh criticism otherwise known as the Internet.

They have been immersed in a culture of criticism in which they and their peers have submitted their ideas, philosophies and images to a worldwide (and often anonymous) audience of critics. Ideas about privacy and polite debate have therefore changed considerably over the past 20 years.

Given this state of affairs, it is perhaps not surprising that members of Gen Y have grown a thicker skin than many expect, or give them credit for: they’ve had to, after all.


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