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    Entries in chart (75)

    Wednesday
    Apr092014

    CHARTS OF THE DAY: On Increasing Job Openings and Scarce Candidates

    Today's chart(s) of the day come courtesy of Gluskin Sheff + Associates, and the excellent (and filled with charts) report from David Rosenberg titled 'The US Labor Market in Pictures, Tighter Than It Looks!', which provides a fantastic overview and re-set of the macro trends for employment in America.

    Taken from the Gluskin Sheff report, I want to call out two of the report's dozens of charts, the first on the growth in absolute job openings in the USA:

    Job openings continue to rise from the post-recession bottom, and with about 4 million current openings, seem on track to eventually climb to eclipse the pre-recession highs. In fact, if suddenly all 4 million openings were filled from currently (officially) unemployed workers, the unemployment rate would fall to about 4%.

    But of course things are not so simple or neat, and this next chart illustrates the challenges that many employers are reporting trying to fill jobs in a time of rising openings:

    Companies, especially smaller companies, are reporting increases in 'difficult to fill' positions, (a level just off it's five-year highs), and if you dig into the Gluskin Sheff report further, you will see that over 40% of companies are reporting 'few or no qualified applicants' for their openings.

    These trends of rising job openings combined with, at least for many types of jobs in many industries, are having a tightening effect on the labor market overall. I am not smart enough to try and tell you exactly why this is happening right now, it is certainly a complex and debatable set of circumstances that includes the aging workforce, the governmental safety net, firm's inability or unwillingness to invest in training candidates, and the 'fake-or-maybe-it-is-not-fake' shortage of candidates with the needed skills for the modern age.

    But the data seem to show one thing that is clear - the labor market is starting to show signs of tightening, probably making it more difficult for you in the short and medium term to deliver the candidates you need to sustain your business and talent objectives.

    It might be time to start re-thinking all the things that make your shop the place where increasingly scarce candidates want to land.

    Happy Wednesday.

    Thursday
    Apr032014

    CHART OF THE DAY: Better hope you're not a telemarketer

    I'm about to speak a little later this afternoon at the Achievers Aspire event in San Francisco on the topic of Robots in the Workplace (I know, shocking that this was the topic I pitched when the folks at Achievers asked me if I would be interested in participating in the event), and in doing a final review of the slides I am planning on presenting I figured I should share one of the most interesting charts from the deck - so here goes:

    (Source: Business Insider)

    It is probably not a shock to you or anyone that jobs like telemarketing, typists, and retail salespersons are coming under increasing threat from the rise of robots and automation, but take a look at some of the other, more surprising types of jobs that have a high likelihood of being automated away in the next two decades.

    Accountants, technical writers, even commercial pilots - these are not the kinds of jobs we initially think about when we consider the potential impact of robots and automation in workforces.

    I have a feeling my talk this afternoon might be a tough one - I am not at all sure that the HR leaders in this room that are not working at 'obvious' ripe for automation types of industries like manufacturing or call centers are really thinking all that much about robots and automation. But I think, or at least I am going to try and argue, that automation in its many forms, (robots, intelligent software algorithms, wearable devices, machine to machine interaction), are going to be in the forefront of the HR/Talent agenda for just about every organization of any size in any industry.

    It should be a fun talk. I will let you know how it turns out.

    Thursday
    Mar272014

    CHART OF THE DAY: The Falling US Birth Rate

    For today's chart - take a look at the how the USA birth rate has been declining over the last several years, and after the chart, and for no additional costs, I will drop some comments about what, if anything, this might mean for you, the HR/Talent pro:

    What might this mean, or at least suggest?

    1. Your first reaction is that it means nothing. Who cares if there are relatively fewer kids being born right now? This won't impact labor markets for at least another 15 years or so and by then, who cares? A robot will be doing your job by then anyway, right?

    2. But it is not just the sources of candidates/employees that matter or should matter to you. If your business has anything to do with selling products or services to the baby/youth/teen markets, then this trend is going to impact you. And if you think, 'We make industrial products that go into new home construction so this does not affect us', you might want to think again. The declining birth rate shouldn't be considered in a vacuum - their are related trends in marriage rates and ages of first marriage, household formation, and related spending at play here as well. Long story short, Americans are getting married less, are older when and if they do get married, are having fewer children, and are having them at more advanced ages than in the past.

    3. This combination of a decline in birth rate and rise in the average age for both first marriages and having children will, if it has not already, influence your workforce planning processes in a few ways. You might be able to project a decrease or at least a reduction in the rate of increase in your benefits costs for covered dependents in the next few years, as your employees are covering fewer kids than in the past. Your succession planning processes may need to be re-emphasized if later career employees begin leaving (or simply taking leave) for child care reasons. These later career employees, say in their late 30s and up, are likely to have more senior and important roles in your company. Finally, if you are really and truly thinking long-term, say out 10-15 years, larger and wider demographic trends could effect things like expansion plans and ability of organization to move into new markets.

    Perhaps I am stretching credibility by suggesting that you should really be worried about a probably caused by the 2007-2008 recession down trend in the birth rate when you have much more immediate and pressing concerns.

    But I still find this kind of data fascinating, and even if you can't find an immediate or even medium-term impact of these bigger trends, I think they are worth recognizing. If nothing else you will at least know why the local school board wants to consolidate your elementary schools in the next few years.

    Happy Thursday.

    Wednesday
    Mar122014

    CHART OF THE DAY: Do you trust this chart?

    ...if you are say about 25 or 30 years of age, you probably don't.

    This week's installment in CHART OF THE DAY comes courtesy of the recently released Pew Research Report titled Millennials in Adulthood: Detached from Institutions, Networked with Friends, a look at how the Millennial generation is transition into adulthood.

    One of the more interesting findings is that, at least according to this report, the Millennials are much less trusting than the other, older generations. Take a look at the chart from the Pew report, then as you have come to expect, I will have a couple of comments about the data.

    My thoughts on the chart:

    1. There exists a pretty vocal cadre of people that think that all of these kind of generational differences research reports are silly, and that people are all individually distinct, and thus making broad conclusions and generalizations about entire generations is a wasted effort. These people are also wrong.

    2. Could this lower relative level of 'trust' be a factor of the Millennial generation's observance of their parents experience with work and workplaces, which to at least some degree involved the breakdown of things like the employer-employee trust relationship, the ongoing decrease in organized labor, and the gradual phasing out of defined benefit pension programs? Do Millennials 'trust' less because their parents trusted their employers too much?

    3. It could be that the lower 'trust' levels are also a reflection of Millennials own economic challenges. Facing a tough job market in the last several years, feeling the pressure of (for many), significant student loan debt levels, and seeing their friends and themselves having to take jobs outside of their fields, and often in the service industry where low wages, limited benefits, and lack of stability prevail. 'Trust' could be a function of vulnerability. The more vulnerable you are economically, the more wary you become.

    Anyway, have a look at the entire Pew Research report, it offers some interesting data on how this important generation is transitioning into adulthood and what their attitudes suggest for the future of work, workplaces, and the society at large.

    Happy Wednesday. 

    Wednesday
    Feb262014

    CHART OF THE DAY: The Return of the Quit

    Since many of us in the USA have been a little preoccupied with the relentlessness of global warming that has cleverly disguised itself in the form of the coldest, snowiest, most miserable winter ever, you'd be excused if you didn't notice a little phenomenon or trend developing in your workforce reports and analyses.

    Employees are quitting again. 

    Well, to be fair, employees always quit, even in bad economic times. But take a look at today's Chart of the Day, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics year-end JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) report which suggests that the 'quit rate', i.e. the voluntary separations as your HRIS probably calls them, is trending higher and higher.

    Here's the chart, and then (of course), some FREE commentary from me:

    Source - BLS Jolts report Dec 2013

    Some thoughts:

    1. 'Quits' are a function of several factors, (personal circumstances, the magnitude of the jerkitude of your managers, people self-selecting out as not being in the right job, etc.), but most observers of the Quit rate on a macro level ascribe movements in the rate to worker's confidence in their ability to find another, and what they think will be a likely 'better', job.  The rate moving up, to a level that is approaching the pre-recession level, is a signal that overall job market confidence is rising.

    2. So while you and many other HR/Talent pros are lamenting about 'hard-to-fill' jobs, simultaneously more of the workforce are thinking of themselves as 'easy-to-place'. I'm not sure how that apparent paradox will work out, (probably very differently depending on location, skills, etc.), but it is kind of interesting and amusing at the same time.

    3. How you are thinking about and reacting to news of a good employee quitting is probably changing too. In 2008 or 2009, you might have reacted by thinking, 'What is she crazy? Where is she going to find another job with as good pay/benefits/cupcake Friday like we have here?'. Now? Probably you'd think more along the lines of 'Hmm... She's going to XYZ Corp? I wonder if she could bring me over there too.'

    4. Last, while the Quit rate increasing kind of feels like it is a good thing, there is certainly some warning signs as well. For one, those recent quitters might find that their skills and experience are not in as high a demand as they figured, and thus end up spiking the unemployment rate in the short term, (as well as having to take a boatload of grief from people questioning their sanity for quitting a perfectly good job). They might find, even today, that keeping a job is much easier than finding a job. And increasing worker confidence might put pressure on companies to increase wages, which can also have a detrimental effect on growth and profits.

    So take a look at the JOLTS report if you are interested in this kind of data, I think it gives a little more color and depth to the more widely reported headline of the total rate of unemployment.

    Are you seeing an increase in 'quits' in your shop?

    Ready to quit yourself?

    Have a great Wednesday!