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    Entries in Jobs (37)


    REMINDER: LinkedIn is still not the real world

    In what has become an annual tradition on the blog, as beloved as the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, the running of the bulls in Pamplona, or me passing out on the sofa in a turkey/stuffing coma each Thanksgiving, I wanted to offer my quick reminder that the world of LinkedIn has only a partial, if not passing, resemblance to the real world of work, workplaces, and the kinds of jobs most people have.

    What prompts this regular reflection and reminder? As in years past, (here is what I wrote about this last winter), LinkedIn has released what they call 'The Top Skills That Can Get You Hired in 2017', based on their data set of member profiles, job posting activity, and their assessment of the candidate skills that were more likely to generate recruiter interest and hiring activity. They publish this list of 'top' skills both globally, and for a selection of countries and more or less the narrative that follows is something along the lines of 'If you want to get hired next year, you should try to acquire one (or more) of these skills.'

    Here is the list of these 'top' skills for the USA for 2017, per LinkedIn:

    As has been the case in the last couple of years, these 'hot' skills are dominated by the latest in IT trends and innovations. Cloud computing, user interface, algorithm design, etc., are all skills (and roles), that have certainly seen an increase in employer demand, and is often reported, can be difficult to find in candidates. So simple supply (which is not enough), and demand, (which continues to increase), for these skills naturally make them 'hot' and the folks that possess them remaining in demand.

    Makes sense. Good to know. Interesting to think about if you are just starting your career and want to have at least some level of comfort about your chances of employment.

    But as I like to point out, and did the last time LinkedIn shared with us what was 'hot',  these skills, or said slightly differently, the kinds of jobs that require these skills, still make up a really, really small percentage of overall employment in the USA, and are not the ones that the vast majority of people are doing.

    Here's the latest data that is available from our pals at the Bureau of Labor Statistics on 'Major Occupational Groups as a Percentage of Employment', (from 2015):

    Did you see the grouping for 'Computer and Mathematical', where the majority of jobs that required most of the 2017 LinkedIn 'hot' skills would typically reside?

    It is down towards the bottom of the graph just after 'Personal care and service' and before 'Healthcare support'. If you go to the actual BLS data, 'Computer and Mathematical' makes up 2.9% of all jobs in the USA, about the same as it has been the last couple of years.

    Even allowing for the fact that some of the 'hot' skills would be in demand in other general employment categories, is still stands to reason that just about all of the jobs where these skills are being sought out for represent, still, a sliver of the US labor market, and do not reflect the jobs that the vast majority of people are actually doing, (and will be doing for some time).

    Sure, it is trendy to think that the LinkedIn skills represent the future of work, and perhaps they probably do, and I would encourage anyone, especially younger folks to think about pursuing them,  but these skills don't really represent the 'present' of work, not in a substantial way anyway.

    LinkedIn is a fantastic business, a staggering success, and not at all like the real world where the overwhelming majority of workers reside.

    Have a fantastic weekend And don't spend so much time on LinkedIn.


    Need to fill a technical job? It helps if you are in one of these four cities

    Some really interesting and detailed data on jobs, job seekers, employment opportunities and the interplay among all the moving parts of the recruiting game in the recently released report from Indeed titled Beyond the Talent Shortage: How Tech Candidates Search for Jobs.

    There is plenty of fascinating information in the report, but the one element I wanted to call out was the really pronounced and increasing preference by tech candidates for only four popular work locations - San Jose, San Francisco, Seattle, and Austin. According to the Indeed report, "In 2013, interest in the 18 software-related jobs we analyzed was 3.3 times greater in San Jose, San Francisco, Seattle, and Austin than in the US on average. In 2015, interest in those cities was 3.6 times greater."

    The below chart from Indeed shows how these job seeker preferences for the 'Big 4' tech hubs compared to the US overall have increased over time:

    So the Indeed data just puts some numbers behind what you have probably known for some time - if you are recruting technical talent and are not located in one of these Big 4 hubs, you're likely entering the competition already in a losing position. The Indeed data shows that while cities all across the US, heck, all over the world, are seeing increases in open technical jobs, that tech candidates are only honing in their efforts more on the Big 4 tech hubs.

    So while in the past, and especially in times of recession, candidate interest would have been primarily driven by the availability of jobs, the increasing candidate interest in these 4 tech hubs suggests further concentration on the part of job seekers on these locales. 

    What can/should you be doing if indeed, (pardon the pun), you have difficult technical jobs to fill and you are not located in one of the Big 4 tech hubs? The analysis from Indeed offers a few decent suggestions:

    1. Get yourself to one of the Big 4 citiies. This is the 'fish where the fish are' strategy, and of course it is easier said than done. But if these trends continue on their recent trajectory, it is only going to become more challenging to recruit tech talent to non Big 4 locations. It might be worth setting up a small, satellite office in one of these sought-after locations when compared to the opportunity cost of having important roles remain empty.

    2. Let go of your 'Everyone needs to be physically at HQ' policy. Organizations have seemingly gone around and around on the value/importance of having everyone on the team physically co-located versus embracing more flexible work arrangements. And I suspect these conversations and shifts in attitude will continue to go on pretty much forever. But if the talent you need has decided they (mostly) would rather be in Seattle or San Jose and you are in Pennsyltucky then you might have to make some kind of a compromise.

    3. Figure out how to better 'sell' what your location does have to offer to candidates that generally prefer the big Tech hubs. A while back I wrote a post about 'selling' your non-glamourous city to candidates, and the things i touched upon then I think are more or less still true now. The Big 4 cities may have a lot to offer candidates, but (hopefully) your city does too. And it might also be time to take a cue from politics once in a while and go negative - those Big 4 tech hubs are not all wonderful, and your city might have the edge in things like cost of living, open space, even the presence of 'winter', which I am told some people enjoy.

    There is plenty more interesting information in the Indeed report - take some time to look it over if you are at all interested on what their data shows and suggests about the market for technical talent.

    Have a great weekend!


    CHART OF THE DAY: More open jobs today than since... well, since ever

    If the title of this post sounds familiar, well it should because I ran a post with this exact same title back in June. At that point the chart that accompanied the post showed that open jobs in the USA as of the end of April sat at 5.4 million, at that time the most that the Bureau of Labor Statistics JOLTS report had ever reported.

    Fast forward a couple of months and we have yet another record high number of job openings in the USA as reported in the latest JOLTS report, climbing to 5.8 million as of end of July. Check the chart below and then, as you have continually demanded, some FREE comments from me after the numbers.

    Some quick takes....

    1. Wage pressure has to, has to be coming even more than in some of the pockets that we have already seen increasing wages. With this many open jobs, and the labor force participation rate still pretty low by historical standards, rising wages have to be one of the options employers turn to in hopes of filling some of these jobs. You can push 'great culture' and 'summer hours on Fridays' as much as you want, but at the end of the day many, many candidates have many, many more options than ever. 

    2. As I wrote last time I showed this chart, even increasing wages might not be enough in a candidate-scarce market. Are you still telling 37-year-old new hires they start at 10 days vacation, accrued in 4-hour increments every two weeks? Are you still making outside sales people show up at some central office every day when they really have no need to do that? Are you still making and enforcing rules that anyone with options will not tolerate for any longer than they need to?

    3. It could be time when you (finally) push hard for a strategic increase in your internal development initiatives. Certainly some component of the record high in job openings stems from organizations that just can't find people with the right set of skills and experiences. But since the market continues to send messages that it will not suddenly or miraculously begin producing more of these ideal candidates, you have to figure out some other means of filling these gaps. Maybe you have to get more creative with apprenticeships, college and vocational partnerships, and/or upskilling your own employees to fill the roles that the market can't seem to provide.

    I love this chart. I love it when people have options, have opportunity, and hopefully, some leverage in the typically employer-driven recruiting game.

    Good luck out there.


    Job Titles of the Future #14 - Cultural Intelligence Agent

    What kind of organization do you think would benefit from someone who could 'Harness industry trends, insights and resources to help fuel an environment of disruptive growth and innovation?'

    Additionally, the person who would excel in this role would also be able to 'Mine the cultural landscape to identify emerging trends and influences in the areas of Music, Gaming, Design, Tech, and Culinary.'

    That all sounds really cool and fun and vaguely hipsterish. I am pretty sure I am not qualified.

    But to go back to the initial question, what king of organization in what type of industry would you guess is right now looking for someone with these skills? 

    Smart guesses would be advertising, media, (especially 'new' media), entertainment, or maybe even old school publishing. How many guesses would you have to make before you arrived at Soft Drinks and Snacks? Because at least in today's specific example, the company that is right now looking for this kind of talent for a role they call a 'Cultural Intelligence Agent' is PepsiCo.

    More details from the PepsiCo job listing:

    PepsiCo is looking for a Cultural Intelligence Agent with a passion for culture and experience working within or across creative industries including Music, Design, Gaming, Tech &/or Culinary. This role will be responsible for leading a team to harness industry trends, insights and resources to help fuel an environment of disruptive growth and innovation. As an Agent in the Creator Culture Catalyst group, you must demonstrate the ability to become a trusted advisor and thought leader to cross-functional business, brand and innovation leaders. The Agent also will drive and manage cross-functional projects that support creative initiatives and foster innovation

    What do knowledge of music, gaming, design, etc. have to do with the ability to create and sell Pepsi?

    Well maybe nothing directly. But indirectly, understanding, interpreting, and responding to cultural trends helps you understand people. And understanding people is pretty much the key to success in any business.

    Cultural Intelligence Agent sounds like a pretty awesome job. Not quite as fun as Relief Pitcher for the Mets, but still pretty sweet. I hope the folks at PepsiCo see this post and let me know how the recruiting for this position turns out. Because the kind of person who will make a great Cultural Intelligence Agent sounds like a really fun person to know.

    What about in your organization? Does understanding culture matter?

    Note: Further reading for anyone interested in how culture impact business: Chief Culture Officer by Grant McCracken.

    Have a great week!


    Where in your job description does it say you're supposed to be happy?

    So I got caught up (again) in one of basic cable TV's ubiquitous Law & Order marathons over the weekend and (again) picked up a great little piece of workplace wisdom that I wanted to pass along. 

    In the episode, the actual details of which really don't make a difference, one of the Assistant District Attorneys laments to the District Attorney (the Boss), about how it was extremely difficult to prosecute a particular defendant, as that defendant was kind of sympathetic, had a tough life, and really didn't have a lot of good life options that culminated in his commission of some pretty serious crimes.

    After securing a 'guilty' verdict against the defendant, the ADA said something to the effect of 'Yes, I think the verdict was the right one, but I have to say that I am not that happy about it.'

    To which the DA, the Boss, replied, 'Get over it. Where in your job description does it say that you're supposed to be happy?' 

    That's a win right there. And a great reminder for anyone, not just folks like DA's or people in Health Care or in social work -but for anyone with any kind of a job, not just the ones where dealing with less than satisfying outcomes is a part of the job. 

    Whether your job is cooking burger, designing bridges, or creating advertising campaigns, (or anything else), there is almost no chance that being 'happy' is a part of your job description. Sure, most employers would like you to be happy in your job, and certainly most workers (and more importantly perhaps, most families and friends of workers), would like you to be happy with your job, but for the most part you actually being 'happy' is not something your boss or her boss or the company customer or shareholders are all that concerned with.

    Your happiness with your job, and probably with just about every other part of your life, is mostly only important to you. That doesn't mean it isn't important, I think it is, but the sooner you realize like the ADA in the TV show had to realize, that the machine isn't (primarily) concerned with your happiness the better.

    Wow, re-reading this and it seems like kind of a downer post. Fitting it is running on a Monday.

    Have a great week! 

    Be happy.....