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    Entries in Jobs (32)

    Wednesday
    Apr012015

    In Soviet Russia, (and America), Job Finds You

    For a 'don't believe anything you read on the internet' April Fool's Day, I submit for your consideration a really interesting, (and totally not made up), conclusion about how people in the United States find jobs courtesy of a recently published Economic Letter from our pals at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

    Let's start with the researcher's money line first, then we will try and unpack it a little bit:

    More than three-quarters of workers who switched employers did not report active job search in the previous three months.

    Did you take a second to process that statistic? 

    Of all the 'new hires' that the researchers examined, 77.6% of them had not reported being in an active job search in the previous three months. And we are not talking about internal job transfer types of moves here, these are employer-to-employer job shifts. So the vast majority of job-to-job transitions do not follow the standard interpretation of a labor market that matches workers who are actively seeking out job openings with the positions that are posted by employers.

    So essentially, according to this research, over three-quarters of hiring is coming from direct recruiting/poaching, referrals, and informal networks.

    Probably not a great surprise/finding for experienced HR/Talent pros, but a good reminder for folks who are still out there beating down doors in an active job search. Here's a summary of the data from the research, then one last point before we sign off.


    The researcher's data shows that while 77.6% of hires are coming from employed folks who were not searching for a new job, that still only constitutes about 2% of all employed people. Translated - your recruiting/poaching/referral processes are still only nabbing less than 2% of folks out there, underscoring how hard it can be to identify, engage, convince, and finally hire people out of existing jobs into new ones at your company.

    Net-net: At least according to this research, most jobs find people, not the other way around.

    Have a great April Fool's!

    Friday
    Feb272015

    Job Titles of the Future #12 - Professional Selfie Retoucher

    According to Business Insider, the reality TV personality Kim Kardashian spends upwards of $100K to keep a 'professional selfie retoucher' on call, who stands (or sits more likely) at the ready, poised to edit, smooth, crop, and apply just the right Instagram filter (I am a 'Hudson' fan myself), to her selfies and other photos prior to posting them to her millions of social media followers.

    If it sounds ridiculous, it is because it is ridiculous. But I think at least half of why it is ridiculous is the kind of silly name this job has been bestowed, and the kind of silly protagonist of the story. Kim Kardashian retaining a professional selfie editor to be on call is comical, but what about an author, sports figure, politician, or CEO engaging consulting services to protect, augment, and improve their online personas? Maybe not so silly.

    It must be a really big deal, and a important part of her business strategy, for Kim to be seen in a certain manner in her social media posts and activity. She must have figured out what her fans want and expect, and paying $100K to make sure she delivers on those expectations must be worth it to her in the long run.

    But in some ways it is not just reality TV stars or athletes or actors that rely on social media image and presence as a big part of their business strategy. Lots of 'normal' people do to. We are all, as long as we participate in blogs or on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram, placing some importance (and risk) in how our intelligence, professionalism, and value are interpreted via our posts and pictures and, yes, our selfies.

    And lots of us try to be really careful about what we post. Not just in that 'I better not post that pic of me and the boys doing tequila shots', but also along the lines of 'Does this picture make me look smart/cool/happening/likable/on 'brand'?' You know you think about that. Everyone does. Think about how much you crop and filter and edit those Instagram and Facebook pics before you load them. It isn't just about you wanting to be the next Ansel Adams.

    It's just that you and me and almost everyone else makes these determinations and manipulations of our preferred version of reality for ourselves - it's only people like Kim K. who can dish out $100K to worry about that stuff for her.

    There have been PR agencies and image consultants and even 'personal brand coaches' (that title just made me gag a little), around for awhile, so the idea of a 'professional selfie retoucher' may not be all that new or novel, and just may be the logical extension or modernization of these roles for the social media age.

    But still, something about it, the on-the-nose way it describes the function seems new to me, and thus I officually welcome 'Professional Selfie Retoucher' as Job Title of the Future #12.

    Have a great weekend!

    Tuesday
    Nov182014

    CHART OF THE DAY: Unemployed vs. Job Openings by Industry

    Today's Chart of the Day comes to us courtesy of the Economic Policy Institute from a short post titled The Number of Unemployed Exceeds the Number of Available Jobs Across All Sectors.

    First the eponymous chart, then as you have come to expect (and demand), some comments from me after the data.

    The EPI piece's author uses this data to make an argument that persistently elevated levels of unemployment, that often are, (at least to some extent), attributed to something called 'skills mismatches', where unemployed workers simply do not possess the requisite skills and abilities that employers demand, are in fact not caused by mismatches, and are in fact driven by depressed overall demand for labor.

    The logic behind this argument is pretty straightforward. If there were indeed large levels of skills mismatches driving unemployment, then we should see, at least somewhere in the economy, particular industry sectors where demand (available jobs), surpasses supply, (available workers in that industry). But as the data above show, every industry sector currently has more supply (unemployed workers), than demand/jobs.

    It is a decent argument, if a little simplistic. It does fail to take into account the many thousands of sub-industries and specific types of jobs that fall into broad categories like manufacturing, construction, or services. It also does not adequately account for the very high likelihood that in certain sectors that workers who have identified themselves as being in that sector, truly have not been willing or able, (possibly because they have been out of work), do keep their skills current and adapted to new demands.

    But taken in aggregate there is a decent argument to be made that if current labor market challenges were the result of skills shortages or mismatches, that there would be at least some specific sectors where there are more unemployed workers than job openings, and others where there are more job openings than unemployed workers. But that is, as yet, not the case and still unemployed workers exceed jobs openings across the board.

    Whether or not there exists widespread skills shortages or mismatches is usually more of a concern for governments or the largest employers. And the nationwide conditions don't really mean much to the small or mid-sized firm that just wants to get its positions filled. But while all HR/Recruiting is local, (to some extent), no firm no matter how small operates in a vacuum. 

    So while these macro-labor market conditions might not move the needle on today's open reqs, they can and likely will impact tomorrow's and next year's and the one after that.

    And that is why I find this data interesting and why it rates for this installment of Chart of the Day.

    Tuesday
    Apr292014

    Job Titles of the Future #10 - Robot Counselor

    There is a very cool and interesting list of some potential 'Job Titles of the Future' over at The Canadian Scholarship Trust site that you should definitely take a few minutes and check out. They took a time horizon looking out to 2030, (which seems like a really long time from now but is only about 15 years), and came up with some fascinating titles like Nostalgist, Rewilder, and Garbage Designer among others.

    But the one (naturally), that caught my eye and I wanted to highlight here was Robot Counselor. What, exactly, is a Robot Counselor? Will flash forward to 2030 - a time when robots are in more and more homes, performing assorted domestic tasks, including helping to care for elderly, sick, or even acting as children's caregivers.

    By the year 2030, having a full-time robot domestic assistant will be pretty common, and it will be important for people and families to choose the 'right' robot for their needs and personalities. That is where the Robot Counselor comes in. The Robot Counselor will firstly be a knowledgable resource and purchase advisor to help families pick the right robot. The counselor will observe how family dynamics and relationships work to help identify their needs and lifestyle so that they can make the best decision about the type of robot would suit their specific needs. Finally, if the robot isn’t fitting in in the home, or if family conflicts arise due to the new house robot, the robot counselor can then recommend alternate options and provide ongoing service and support to the family.

    What skills or backgrounds would the Robot Counselor need?

    Certainly a deep understanding of currently available and future trends in robot technology, particularly robots being designed for and deployed in domestic settings. The Robot Counselor will also need some psychology and sociology knowledge to better assess and interpret the signs and signals from a family's relationships with each other (and their robots). Finally, the Robot Counselor will have to be able to think quickly, make recommendations about technology, and be comfortable serving as a kind of trusted family advisor.

    It kind of sounds like a cool job, and as such, Robot Counselor officially joins the list of SFB-approved Job Titles of the Future.

    Tuesday
    Mar112014

    Job Titles of the Future #9 - Chocolate Foresight Activator

    I caught this Job Title of the Future from a recent piece on The Atlantic, describing the Hershey Company's quest to find, what the Atlantic called a 'Chocolate Futurist', or what Hershey refers to in their still-posted job ad, a 'Senior Manager, Foresight Activation.'

    I think The Atlantic wins points for the jazzier job title.

    Just what does a 'Chocolate Futurist/Foresight Activator' have to do?

    Straight from the Hershey job listing:

    Supports the activation of existing foresight (trends, forecasts, scenarios) into strategic opportunities (SOs) and platforms with commercial value for Hershey, mining existing foresight content for highest potential business impact opportunities or threats.  Performs ongoing monitoring of the external environment for new insights and trends approaching tipping points.  Partners with external agencies to identify new trends that can inform and accelerate foresight activation.  Collaborates with Corporate Strategy, R&D, Global Knowledge & Insights and Silicon Valley Advance Team as well as other business and functional teams to flesh out opportunity assessment and business case.  Shapes new initiatives in the front of funnel and drives to successful completion through Gates A, B and C.

    What kind of background or education do you need in order to activate foresight and drive to successful completion through Gates A, B, and C, (what the heck does that even mean, btw?)

    Education: MBA in Marketing or Masters in related field required

    Experience: Minimum of 8+ year’s relevant experience.  Multi-disciplinary background (Marketing, Corporate Strategy, R&D, Management Consulting).   User design or consulting experience a plus.  Solid front-end innovation capability including the identification of insights and translation to business growth strategy.

    Experience with a major innovation consultancy (i.e. What If? IDEO, Doblin, Innosight, Prophet, Jump Associates, Eureka Ranch, New & Improved) supporting multiple clients to accomplish the same.

    Progression of successful accomplishments in identification and commercialization of new business opportunities. Experience with a top-tier consumer packaged goods company preferred.  International and technical experience desirable but not required

    So, in order to 'activate foresight' it probably would help if you had a solid, cross-functional background, had a fair bit of customer-facing experience, and new something about product development and management.

    But, at least according to the posting copy, in order to be qualified to be a Chocolate Futurist/Foresight Activator, you don't necessarily have to know anything much about chocolate. In fact the word chocolate doesn't show up anywhere in the listing.

    Which in a way is kind of cool. The future might not be all that chocolat-y, who knows?

    Maybe the foresight activator for a chocolate company should be someone that doesn't view the world through cocoa-tinted lenses.

    Maybe Hershey is actually showing some foresight themselves in looking outside their normal frames of reference to find someone to help them 'form presentations that create a tangible vision of what the future might look like that business partners can grasp.'

    Sounds like a cool gig. And one that earns official SFB designation as a 'Job Title of the Future.'