Employment Summary for March 2019

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After a wild divergence in U.S. job growth during the first two months of 2019 - more than 300,000 in January and a mere 20,000 in February - March seemed much more in line with America's average pace of labor-force expansion. According to the latest edition of the Employment Situation Survey issued by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payroll organizations in the U.S. across all industries added 196,000 jobs in March. This figure reasonably outperformed the expectations of economists surveyed by Bloomberg, who had expected the addition of 177,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the country's unemployment rate held steady at 3.8 percent, in line with previous months during this latest period of American expansion.

Bloomberg stated that a number like this could be a solid indicator of what economic experts around the world have debated for at least the past year - namely, just how sustainable the pace of U.S. job growth really is. According to the financial news provider, job gains throughout the near future will likely be more in line with March's number than with the massive swells seen numerous times during 2018 (multiple instances of 250,000 or more jobs added), but still strong enough to help fuel broader economic growth.

The healthcare industry greatly outpaced all other American sectors in terms of roles created during March, with 49,000 new jobs coming onto the payrolls of hospital systems, ambulatory healthcare services and other organizations in the field. Professional and business services came in second with a total of 34,000 new positions, while food service and drinking establishments added 27,000 jobs. Computer systems design and services, a sector that has seen little major expansion or contraction during these past years of American growth, saw a notable uptick of 12,000 jobs.

On the other end of the spectrum, construction added 16,000 jobs this month - not nearly enough to recover from its loss of more than 30,000 workers during February. Additionally, while BLS considered both the manufacturing sector's loss of 6,000 jobs in March and its gain of 1,000 roles in February as equivalent to having "changed little," some may find these figures worth noting due to the major role that manufacturing's growth played in America's economic expansion over the past two years. Any major positive or negative fluctuations in the months to come will likely draw considerable attention.

Average hourly earnings grew 3.2 percent year-over-year in March, slightly below the market's expectations and also down from February's gain of 3.4 percent. However, the overall strength of the labor market should still fuel healthy consumer spending and keep inflation low. The latter is undoubtedly unfavorable to some, but directly in line with the goals of the Federal Reserve, which seeks to monitor the efficacy and substance of American economic strength in the midst of trade tensions and difficulties in numerous global markets.

Subadra Rajappa, head of U.S. rates strategy at Societe Generale SA, elaborated on this during a live interview with Bloomberg Television.

"This a perfect report for the Fed because it actually corroborates what they've been saying all along, which is there are no wage pressures," Rajappa told the news service. "There's very little risk of wage inflation."

Rajappa and many economists in similar positions (both domestically and around the globe) expect the Fed to reduce federal benchmark interest rates in the near future, moderating the rapid pace of rate hikes seen during 2018. Global trade tensions are considered a likely cause of this.

In fact, the relationship between the U.S. under President Donald Trump and various major economies continues to represent the biggest potential hurdle for the American market, which is otherwise strong, in the coming months. After threatening to close the country's border with Mexico in late March due to his concerns about illegal drugs and immigration, Trump changed his mind April 4, according to The Washington Post: Instead, he said he'd impose major economic sanctions on the U.S.'s third-largest trading partner in exactly one year if the Mexican government doesn't address border-security issues to his satisfaction. The president's intensity regarding these matters has created bipartisan concern about a border closing or restriction's effects on trade.

On the other hand, the South China Morning Post reported that negotiations between China and the U.S. to end their trade war are improving. President Trump met Vice-Premier Liu He, China's leading trade negotiator, at the White House April 4 and said a deal that relaxed tariffs on both sides could be finalized within the next four weeks.

The Trevi Group | Executive Search for Technology Professionals | www.TheTreviGroup.com

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Video: How to Craft a Strong Change Narrative for Your Company

When your company is undergoing major change, it can be a tough transition for everyone, especially your organization's employees. After all, they may be wondering how the company's transformations will affect them, their roles, responsibilities, co-workers, leadership and other aspects of their lives in the coming months.

Click to watch the video.

To help dispel any rumors and to ensure everyone is on the same page about your company’s upcoming progress, it’s crucial that you craft a compelling and honest narrative with your leadership team. As a result, you’ll be in a strong position to address any employee issues or disagreements, while at the same time heightening your company’s success for the upcoming months.

Marquis Parker, vice president of business services for MRINetwork, says it’s important to always consider your employees first. “Change is never easy. Make sure you’re making staff a top priority as you put together your change narrative,” he says. “It’s very likely their day-to-day work will be directly impacted by the business transformation, so you want to do everything possible to make the process as painless as possible.”

What does a strong strategic narrative entail? According to Forbes contributor Chris Cancialosi, it involves several things. “A strategic narrative centers on a leader’s ability to articulate a clear and compelling vision and strategy for the future of the organization,” he writes. One can also be useful because it:

  1. Illustrates the change in a positive fashion

  2. Creates an environment for employees to give feedback

  3. Shows that a company values its key stakeholders

Here are three tips to guide you in crafting your own successful strategic narrative:

1. Gather input from the most important individuals at your company

To successfully craft a compelling and trustworthy change narrative for your company, the first thing you want to do is to collect as much information as possible, including input from “key stakeholders,” according to Cancialosi. Patti Sanchez, who wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review and is the Chief Strategy Officer of Duarte, agrees. “A transformation won’t succeed without broad involvement,” she writes.

To do this effectively, you’ll need to tap your trusted advisors and members of your company’s leadership team, to discuss and weigh the story in a truthful and supportive manner. “Try and get as much feedback as you can during this pivotal step in the process,” says Parker. “It will help you craft an even stronger transformation narrative.”

The result of brainstorming the narrative with the individuals who know your business best is that you will be able to present something that will ultimately benefit the transformation you’re aiming to enact over the coming year.

2. Work closely with your team to draft a narrative that exudes empathy

After gathering this crucial input from stakeholders, it’s time to craft a narrative that speaks to the transformation your company is about to undergo and also illustrates empathy. In her HBR article, for example, Sanchez showcases just how important this quality is when presenting organizational change. “If you want to lead a successful transformation, communicating empathetically is critical,” she writes.

However, this won’t be easy. In fact, it’s likely to be a time-intensive process because it also requires a strong vision of the different avenues though which you want to share your transformation. Some options include sending emails to employees, holding meetings to fill people in on the upcoming changes, working with public relations and media teams to share the information publicly, and other strategies.

Once you’ve figured out how to strategically share your change narrative in an empathetic way, you can meet with your leadership team (1) to discuss what must be included in the outline and (2) to ultimately agree upon what channels will serve as the foundation of your transformation communications.

3. Share the narrative with your employees in a confident, composed manner

You’ve spent weeks brainstorming and building out your strategic plan of action for sharing this change narrative, and now it’s time to put the final touches on the communication plan. Once it’s been edited and approved by key members of your team internally, it’s finally time to share this information with your employees as well as any external partners.

During this period, it important that those on your leadership team act confidently when discussing information with others. For instance, a recently published article on Fast Company’s websites states, “Change can breed unexpected developments, and leaders need to show composure to the team looking to them for guidance.” As a result, you’ll help others feel more comfortable about the upcoming transformations.

Another key part of the process: make sure that you allow those affected by these changes and transformations to share their feedback at this juncture (whether it’s positive or negative). Parker agrees that you should keep open lines of communication with employees. “Always be accessible to your workers during these uncertain times,” he says. “They’ll thank you for your honesty and will value transparency from the organization.” You’ll help keep your employees motivated, happy and excited to continue working for you, while also investing in the continued success of your company.

Ultimately, gathering input, crafting a narrative that illustrates continued commitment to employees and sharing information in a thoughtful manner will help your transformation process attain its goals.

The Trevi Group | “Executive Search for Technology Professionals” | www.TheTreviGroup.com

MRINetwork Ranked Among Top Executive Recruiting Firms by Forbes.com in 2019

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For the third consecutive year, Forbes.com, a leading source of reliable business news and analysis, enlisted the services of research firm Statista to identify America's most well-respected recruiting firms. Statista compiled two lists of search firms: "Executive Recruiting," those firms focused on roles with at least $100,000 in annual pay; and "Professional Recruiting," firms specializing almost exclusively in positions of under $100,000 in annual pay.

To determine the best recruiting firms, Statista surveyed 25,000 recruiters and 5,000 job candidates and human resources managers who had worked with recruitment agencies over the last three years. Respondents were asked to nominate up to 10 recruiting firms in the executive and professional search categories. Firms could not nominate themselves; last year's findings were considered. More than 17,000 nominations were collected, and firms with the most recommendations ranked highest.

The results are in. Again this year, MRINetwork (identified as Management Recruiters International, Inc.) was ranked as one of the top 20 firms out of 250 in the Executive Recruiting categoryClick here to read the Forbes.com article and see the full rankings list.

This prestigious ranking recognizes the caliber of the talent and the value of relationships that MRINetwork professionals deliver throughout the year. 

The Trevi Group | www.TheTreviGroup.com

Setting up the Change Management Process for Success

Imagine this scenario: your company is preparing for organizational change now or in the coming months. Maybe you need to restructure in order to drive greater productivity and revenue. Or perhaps change management is necessary at your firm to complete a large merger or acquisition, smoothly and effectively. Regardless of the reason(s) for business transformation, it's rarely an easy process.

Click to watch the video.

In fact, the Harvard Business Review reports that there’s still a relatively low success rate for these types of programs. “Corporate transformations still have a miserable success rate, even though scholars and consultants have significantly improved our understanding of how they work,” the source states. “Studies consistently report that about three-quarters of change efforts flop - either they fail to deliver the anticipated benefits, or they are abandoned entirely.”

This of course can lead to a large waste of time for your organization and deeply impact the company’s bottom line. Therefore, it’s crucial to put a strong change management process in place, so your company and its employees complete the change efficiently and with little difficulty.

Marquis Parker, vice president of business services for MRINetwork, adds that an organization needs to always put employees first during any transformation processes to ensure the best results. “If you want to see the changes at your organization occur smoothly and without fault, it’s important that you always consider how your decisions will affect your employees, the heartbeat of your company,” he says.

To help, here are three strategies your business can use to change effectively and achieve your goal easily this year and beyond:

1. Design the change management program for your company’s needs.

The first step in successfully setting up a change management program for your company is to execute a process based on your business’s unique needs. For example, don’t strive for “quick wins” or make other hasty choices that may end up facilitating a faulty plan of attack. Instead, take the time to think through your process, only after having a strong case for change.

You also need to understand three crucial elements of your change management strategy, according to the Harvard Business Review:

  1. The catalyst for transformation

  2. The organization’s underlying quest

  3. The leadership capabilities needed to see it through

Take a step back and ensure that you have a solid understanding of why your organization needs change, which problem(s) change is attempting to solve, and whether you have the leadership resources to be effective. Doing so will greatly enhance your company’s ability to manage a large strategy shift without failing.

2. Communicate with key stakeholders.

As part of any strong, well-organized change management process, you should feel empowered to communicate effectively with your company’s key stakeholders. This is defined as speaking with and proactively alerting leadership, employees, shareholders and others who have a profound impact on your business and who may be affected by these decisions.

In order to communicate with these key stakeholders, you shouldn’t only discuss important change processes with senior staff, according to one Forbes Magazine article about communicating change.

“If you think your company’s strategy conversations should only take place at the most senior level, you could unknowingly be crippling your company’s bottom line,” the source states.

Instead, you need to craft what’s called a strategic narrative. This will serve three purposes: it communicates the upcoming changes, shares the reason behind those changes and discusses the future process for the organization and its key stakeholders.

So, what are strategic narratives? According to Forbes, they are a “form of storytelling, and like all good stories, they need a compelling plot, characters, a climax, and a conclusion. By telling this story, employees and other stakeholders will understand their place in the larger narrative and how they can take an active role in shaping the future of your organization.”

As a result, communicating in this manner will greatly increase the chances of your change management process being a success. It will also position the changes in a clear and concise way, make company leadership appear more humane and create an environment of inclusivity.

“Make sure that you put together a thoughtfully executed communication plan so that key stakeholders feel knowledgeable about the upcoming and already completed transformations at your company,” says Parker. “Let them ask questions too. After all, the last thing you want is someone to feel left out because of a lack of foresight or planning during such a crucial period for your organization.”

3. Identify the resources to lead change effectively.

Along with designing a powerful change process and communicating those changes clearly, you also need to define the resources necessary for success. While this isn’t always easy, it is crucial for the organization’s future.

For example, you need to recognize whether or not you have the human resources function in place to proactively and efficiently implement the decided-upon change management plan, according to Forbes.

“If you do not have the right understanding or team to manage the plan, then you may want to consider an experienced change management consultant, because having the wrong person in this leading role can mean the difference between success and failure in a merger,” the article states.

You should “share financial information, customer feedback, employee satisfaction survey results, industry projections and challenges, and data from processes you measure” to service whether or not any other resources are to implement change, according to an article on thebalancecareers.com.

Once this data has been tabulated and you have a measure of what’s likely to occur as a result, you’ll have a greater understanding of necessary resources. “Spend extra time and energy working with your frontline leader staff and line managers to ensure that they understand, can communicate about, and support the changes,” according to the article. “Their action and communication are critical in molding the opinion of the rest of your workforce.”

By using the above strategies, your company will be ready to manage organizational change in a structured, cohesive and efficient way. “You’ll be thankful that you took the time to brainstorm and draft a comprehensive plan of action, based on these strategies, before enacting any changes,” says Parker. “Your company will be stronger for it.”

The Trevi Group | “Executive Search for Technology Professionals” | www.TheTreviGroup.com

BLS Employment Situation Report: January 2019

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The first month of 2019 picked up where 2018 left off in terms of job growth in the U.S., with the number of nonfarm payroll jobs added by American businesses surpassing the strong figure seen last December: Per data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest Employment Situation Summary, U.S. organizations brought on 304,000 new workers in January. CNBC reported that a Dow Jones survey of economic experts initially expected about 170,000 jobs added.

While this is slightly below the total of 312,000 originally reported for December 2018, the newest report revised that month's gains down to 222,000 and brought November's comparatively modest figure of 170,000 up to 190,000. Although the unemployment rate rose marginally between December and January - from 3.9 to 4 percent - this was attributed to a surge in the number of Americans actively looking for work, rather than any troublesome trend.

Additionally, the partial shutdown of the U.S. federal government turned out to not affect overall employment to any statistically significant degree - beyond an 11 percent jump in the number of underemployed persons (those working part-time out of economic necessity). With that said, it's worth noting that the BLS considered those who worked without pay or had been furloughed during the shutdown to have been fully employed, because their last paycheck came January 12, 2019, which was within the survey week for the report. As such, any full accounting of the shutdown's economic effects (or lack thereof) on the economy remains unknown, and there is still the potential for another shutdown in a few weeks, considering that the bill to reopen the government only included appropriations lasting until February 15.

The leisure and hospitality industry led all other U.S. employment sectors in jobs added during January by a significant margin. Its massive gain of 74,000 positions was fueled not only by food and drink services but also by new opportunities in amusements, gambling and recreation. Construction came in second place with 52,000 new jobs created across all of its employment subcategories, and healthcare was not too far behind with an addition of 42,000 positions.

Several other sectors also experienced notable surges in job creation, such as the dependably strong professional and business services industry, which added 30,000 new positions to its payrolls across the U.S.

Transportation and warehousing increased almost as much with the creation of 27,000 new roles. Rounding out sectors with noteworthy professional additions were retail trade, manufacturing and mining, which brought on 21,000, 13,000 and 7,000 new workers, respectively. No other industries saw their labor forces rise or fall by any empirically significant level.

There were a few less positive indicators found within the latest BLS report. Wage growth, for example, was somewhat slower than expected, with a 3 cent increase in the average American hourly wage representing growth of just 0.1 percent - under the 0.3 percent predicted by various economists. On a year-over-year basis, earnings have grown 3.2 percent between January 2018 and 2019.

Some business leaders may also find themselves perturbed by the sudden switch to a cautious stance by the Federal Reserve, characterized by Fed Chair Jerome Powell's January 31 statement that the central bank would not raise its key interest rate to start the year. According to NPR, Powell cited factors including the impending upheaval of Brexit and various trade disputes around the globe - including the arguments between the U.S. and China - as motivations for the Fed's decision. Regardless of the Fed’s position, the economic picture for the U.S. at the start of the new year is undoubtedly positive.

The Trevi Group | “Executive Search for Technology Professionals” | www.TheTreviGroup.com

(Video) How leveraging training programs can attract and retain star employees of all ages

While many employees may be comfortable in their current roles, it's probably safe to say that most top talent want to continually advance in their career. Regardless of whether the goal is to be promoted within a company, or simply stay up-to-date on new skills or technologies - high performers of all generational groups want to improve themselves, so they're better tomorrow than they are today.

Click to watch the video.

This reality is great news for businesses, which are increasingly focusing their operations on training. However, it's equally important to make these training opportunities apparent to candidates, as this can encourage them to join your company's ranks should they be extended a job offer.

Training to become a top priority in 2019

Companies have a lot of priorities throughout the year, and at the top of the list is strengthening employee training programs. In fact, 58 percent of employers in the 2018 MRINetwork Performance Management Study said training programs, as well as attracting and retaining top talent are major issues they intend to tackle in the new year.

“Training really isn’t about achieving a quick hit or magical answer,” said Sherry Engel, vice president of learning & talent development for MRINetwork. “It should be part of a strategy to ensure skillsets are aligned with the needs of the business. By strategically focusing development on individuals that contribute to the company’s goals, employers will see improvement in their business outcomes. Not only does this benefit organizations through improved business results, but also leads to higher employee engagement - which ultimately drives retention.”

They're wise to do so, not only because successful training improves work processes, but also because training is something that employees desire. Among candidates in the MRINetwork survey, external training was cited as one of their most preferred incentives for staying with a company.

It's easy to understand why. The job market is extraordinarily competitive and businesses are pulling out all the stops to find the most qualified people. Training gives current workers a leg-up on their competition in the marketplace, while also incentivizing job seekers to apply because of the potential to advance their career.

Workers acknowledge the value of training

Workers today aren’t just competing with other individuals - machines are vying with them as well. Artificial intelligence is used in a variety of industries, in part to reduce labor expenses. Some experts believe that AI will become more commonplace over time, particularly for positions that involve repetitive tasks. However, a recent Gallup poll found that Americans aren't too worried about losing their jobs to robots, especially those with highly specialized skills. This may be because they have faith in the upward mobility that training can spur. In a separate Gallup survey, 43 percent of respondents said they're confident about being able to take advantage of training to improve their skill sets in the event AI puts their job security at risk.

Help workers bridge generational gaps by learning from each other

Regardless of age group, leveraging training makes good business sense. Not only can workers benefit from training that will help them personally in their own career trajectory, but cross-generational training programs, such as mentoring and succession planning, can also help the organization ensure the next generation of employees are being prepped to lead the company into the future. Senior staff can also benefit by learning more efficient processes or technologies from younger workers who may be more adept with these platforms.

“Employers should take a blended approach to training, ensuring specific development programs are aligned with the best delivery approach,” advised Engel. “With a growing number of Baby Boomers retiring, there’s an enormous opportunity to provide formal mentoring and succession planning programs that share the knowledge of years past with the up-and-coming generations. Today’s learner also wants their training to be short, focused and timely, through delivery platforms such a short videos or text tips. The most effective programs incorporate these methods.”

Just as junior staff can learn from those more experienced than them, senior staff can also benefit by learning about more efficient processes or technologies from younger workers, who may be more adept with certain platforms.

Generation Z - those born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s - are particularly interested in training opportunities. According to LinkedIn, Gen Z is on pace to represent 20 percent of the American workforce by as early as 2020. Given their relative newness to the working world, they're ready and willing to learn the ropes. Sixty-two percent of Gen Z respondents in a LinkedIn survey said becoming better at their job was the main reason why they were open to learning, more so than for salary or promotion purposes.

“Gen Z are interested in training on skills that will benefit them in the job they have today, as well as for roles they will have in the future,” Engel said. “Giving them this opportunity can be mutually enriching and rewarding.”

Ultimately, top performers of all generational groups are driven to succeed. The quickest, most effective way of achieving it is through learning, which training provides. Be sure to mention training programs that are available to employees in job postings, interviews and reviews. It's a surefire way to attract and retain star talent.

The Trevi Group | “Executive Search for Technology Professionals” | www.TheTreviGroup.com

Key Employment Trends Poised to Impact Your Business in 2019

The U.S. workforce experienced historic gains in 2018 as more than two million jobs were added, and wage increases began to accelerate, according to the monthly ADP National Employment Report and quarterly Workforce Vitality Report. The unemployment rate stood at 3.7 percent in November, a near 50-year low, which made it difficult for companies to bring in both permanent and short-term, highly-skilled talent. This trend is expected to continue into the new year as the talent pool continues to shrink.

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To stay competitive in today’s marketplace, finding and retaining the right talent is essential. Yet how to do that effectively remains a challenge. “New emerging trends as well as trends that have been identified over the past several years, are forcing companies to embrace new ways of thinking about their workforce and to reevaluate their hiring processes,” says Nancy Halverson, general manager for MRINetwork. “We’ve identified and assessed several significant trends that will most impact them in 2019.”

Transformation and change in the workplace

Business leaders who are actively embracing change recognize that innovation comes from people. As they look toward the future of their business operations, it is this focus on people, that is causing many to prioritize workforce planning and sourcing transformational leaders that can move the company forward. By drawing on the expertise of these change agents, employers will gain new approaches to work and improved company cultures that lead to innovation and increased productivity. “These forward-thinking organizations are driving innovation and gaining momentum by changing the nature of work itself,” says Marquis Parker, vice president of business services for MRINetwork. “They are enabling people to come together and work in a focused, collaborative manner to solve problems and come up with creative approaches to their lines of business. They know that the real value comes from their employees’ creativity, market insights, personal networking, and ability to influence others.”

Predictive analytics

Analytics have the potential to transform the HR function, from recruitment and workforce planning to performance management and employee engagement. Companies are increasingly using predictive analytics to refocus their workforce planning lens from a qualitative one to a quantitative one, enabling them to scientifically unlock and measure the value of people to their organization. This approach views employees as a critical and valuable asset that can be optimized to benefit both individuals and the organization as a whole. It also has the potential to determine which departments and employees are under-performing, allowing managers to create interventions, provide training or move team members around to increase productivity.

According to Deloitte’s 2018 Human Capital Trends Report, although 85 percent of survey respondents acknowledged the importance of people data, only 42 percent indicated that their organizations were ready to implement it fully. Anne Hayden vice president of human resources for MRINetwork believes this will change dramatically in 2019. “The rising use of predictive analytics will be one of the biggest recruiting trends to drive productivity and profitability,” she says. “Collecting early performance data on new hires and matching it against assessments allows for the creation of a feedback loop that automatically updates and continually refines the profile of a successful employee.”

Training

Training will be a critical focal point in 2019. In fact, employers noted in the 2018 MRINetwork Performance Management Study, that it will be one of their top priorities in the new year. “When designing meaningful training programs that have the ability to attract and retain, it’s important to think about the top talent you’ve worked with in the past,” advises Sherry Engel, vice president of learning and talent development for MRINetwork. “Most of them are typically natural learners, with a passion for continuous self-improvement.” Engel also notes that in order to keep these top performers as happy and engaged employees, leaders must create an environment where people have the ability to grow. She asks, “As a leader, are you providing the right culture and environment to attract and nurture those passions?” “It’s not just about checking the box for a learning and development program, but also creating a culture that supports taking chances, and supports the desires of people to take on new responsibilities and try new things. Leaders must be in tune with their employee’s professional desires and provide opportunities to embrace development and growth. Without that, top talent will seek it elsewhere.”

Workforce agility

As organizations become more agile, they will have a greater reliance on contractors to help bridge the skills gap. Companies across all industries are embracing this trend, with an emphasis on accessing skilled, mission-critical talent. According to Staffing Industry Analysts Workforce Solutions Buyer Survey 2018, respondents report that 22 percent of their staff is currently contingent and project that by 2028 that figure will rise to 30 percent. Factors contributing to this trend include increased turnover and low employee engagement, especially among younger workers. As a result, some businesses are moving away from trying to keep employees around longer and are instead reducing costs associated with turnover and embracing the gig economy. It is particularly prominent in industries that have changing labor demands for different projects - one project, for example, may need 15 people while another may need 150. “Employers need to assess the right mix of traditional fulltime workers and contractors to best meet their business objectives,” says Tim Ozier, senior director of contract staffing sales for MRINetwork.

Blind hiring

Bias in the workforce remains a big issue. To minimize any controversy, companies are being encouraged to make hiring a blind process. In standard screening and interviewing, unconscious bias easily becomes part of the equation by including data that gives away key parts of a candidate’s background: gender, age, race or even alma mater. By stripping away any information that may reveal demographic data, the first wave of screening can be done based purely on abilities and achievements. “This allows for a more diverse workforce built on merit,” says Halverson, “but the problem is trying to achieve this with the proliferation of social media. Using a third-party recruiter is usually necessary to ensure a truly blind process.”

The priorities and challenges inherent in these significant trends are clear, and readiness to respond to them is essential. The ongoing tight labor market means that companies will continue to be challenged with finding and retaining the right employees. “Given the importance that business leaders place on the talent management agenda,” concludes Halverson, “it’s a good time to reflect on what can be done and to take action, focusing on what should be done differently, and what might be improved to move the needle in this critical area.”

 The Trevi Group | “ Executive Search for Technology Professionals” | www.TheTreviGroup.com

Lesser known cities for tech in hiring mode

The tech landscape is richer today than it was when 2018 began, largely thanks to the contributions of professionals within the industry. The sector appears poised to make the most of these gains in the coming year.

From coast to coast, the recruitment hunt is on in information technology. This isn't too much of a surprise in places like Silicon Valley and Seattle, Washington, but comes as a most welcome turn of events in places that aren't as well known for technological innovation. Case in point: the Badger State. As reported by the Green Bay Press Gazette, several Wisconsin companies are eager to hire, recent college graduates as well as industry veterans.

Brian Hicks, learning and development manager for software developer Skyward, told the newspaper that software engineering is burgeoning.

"If you want a job right out of college making a good income, software engineering is the way to go," Hicks explained. "It is absolutely booming."

The Green Bay Packers are on the tech bandwagon as well, having teamed up with Microsoft to develop an innovation center in the eastern portion of the state, the newspaper reported.

It isn't just tech companies that are hiring, either. Businesses that specialize in other goods and services are also providing more opportunities for technology professionals to exercise their talents because tech inhabits virtually everything. Cybersecurity, cloud computing, mobile development and business intelligence are just a few of the positions that businesses are hiring for in 2019 and perhaps beyond.

Tech companies command an ever increasing percentage of cities' land mass, suggesting that the industry shows no signs of slowing. In the first six months of 2017, 42 percent of the country top 100 leases were possessed by technological businesses, according to Cushman & Wakefield. Austin, Texas and Durham, North Carolina are among the cities that have experienced a surge in tech business development.

But Jason Ruckel, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, told the Press Gazette he has no intention of leaving the area when he graduates.

"People need to realize we have businesses here doing the same things they're doing on the coasts - lots of innovation, a startup culture - but closer to home, and the cost of living is lower," Ruckel said.

This suggests that instead of relocating to major metropolitan areas for tech opportunities, professionals may be able to find them in places nearer to where they live. 

The Trevi Group | “ Executive Search for Technology Professionals” | www.TheTreviGroup.com

How to Modernize Your Employee Review Practices

In today’s lean, fast-changing world, traditional business practices are being shaken up. Many companies are reviewing their long-held traditions in favor of more agile, responsive ways of improving the employee experience. They are giving more consideration to the physical environment employees work in as well as the practices, technologies and tools that encourage productivity. Changes include providing employees with flexibility to work from home more often, and leveraging technology like Skype for Business or Yammer to better communicate and share information among team members, and even the entire organization.

The long-standing practice of annually evaluating employees based on their productivity, overall improvement and achievement of goals is one of the areas undergoing a big transformation. For decades, the prevailing wisdom has been that one annual review at the end of the year is enough to let employees know how they're doing. However, this is no longer true - employees are demanding more frequent and detailed feedback on their performance, and managers are responding by making their review practices more flexible and engaging.

According to the 2018 MRINetwork’s Performance Management Study, 54 percent of employers say they are increasing their focus on performance reviews, which indicates that they recognize the need to find better ways to enhance the value of the reviews, as well as their employees’ perception of the process. The same study revealed that 42 percent of candidates disagree or strongly disagree that their company’s review process is useful and productive.

If your company hasn't updated its performance review practices, it runs the risk of losing top talent to competitors that build regular feedback into their business functions. You’re also missing out on valuable opportunities to identify and develop your employees' professional skill sets.

As you begin to focus on business planning and employee goals for the coming year, consider these four ways you can modernize reviews at your company:

1. Make performance an ongoing conversation

The performance review plays an integral role in keeping the line of communication open between manager and employee. It is the chance to offer employees the acknowledgment that they’re looking for, to encourage them to strive for higher levels of achievement, and to nip problems in the bud. Instead of saving comments for the annual review, find ways to provide feedback and discuss priorities with employees on a regular basis. Consider holding biweekly, one-on-one check-ins with employees, discuss goals or accomplishments at the beginning or end of each quarter, or provide opportunities for group discussions at weekly team meetings. Regular check-ins help employees feel that their managers are committed to helping them be successful workers, which in turn means they’re more engaged and motivated to do their best work.

2. Embrace career pathing

Career pathing is a strategy that actively invests in and develops your employees to thrive in their current and future roles. It is an intentional approach as opposed to a reactive one - instead of managers passively learning of an employee's goals at the company, they take a participatory role in professionally developing the individual. Through career pathing, managers and employees sit down and discuss the employee's professional aspirations at the company and then set a tangible plan for helping the employee reach these goals.

3. Create an open culture of feedback

Reviews that benefit both the employee and the employer are based on honest, open communication, and this is only possible when there is a culture of workplace transparency. Employees should feel comfortable expressing their concerns, and criticism should be communicated in a way that is constructive. If employees feel that they are always one misstep away from being fired, or that their managers are not honest with them, reviews are more likely to further cement negative feelings instead of paving the way for constructive performance augmentation. Company leadership can do their part to create an open culture of feedback by keeping employees in the loop on workflow changes, encouraging employees to voice their concerns and recognizing workers who aren't afraid to ask for help.

4. Ensure reviews are fair

Only 29 percent of employees strongly agree that their performance reviews are fair, according to Gallup. The organization found that one main reason for this is reviews that are held just once a year fail to take into account all the changes that can occur in responsibilities, workflows and personal lives over the course of 12 months. Gallup also suggests that when conducting reviews, managers consider the expectations of the role compared to the time and resources employees actually have to fulfill these duties. The benchmarks employees are judged against should be realistic and fair.

Performance reviews are integral to employee success, but expectations have changed in the 21st century. Employees want reviews that are frequent, constructive, authentic and fair. Companies that update their review processes to match these needs are most likely to retain top talent because better performance reviews lead to higher morale, higher efficiency and overall, a better company in which to work.

 The Trevi Group | www.TheTreviGroup.com | Executive Search for Technology Professionals

Employment Summary for October 2018

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Job growth in October 2018 surpassed September's numbers and economists' projections for the month. In its Employment Situation Summary, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Nov. 2 that nonfarm payroll employment rose by 250,000 in October. This is significantly higher than Wall Street analysts' prediction of 195,000, as reported by The New York Times. Michelle Girard, chief U.S. economist at NatWest Markets told The Times, "The underlying fundamentals of the labor market are still really bright, it's really the strongest part of the broader economy at the moment." October 2018 represented the 97th consecutive month of job growth in the U.S.

Hurricane Michael, which caused destruction in the northwestern region of Florida, had no recognizable impact on the national employment rates for October. However, jobless claims in Florida and Georgia rose by 10,000 following this storm's landfall.

The unemployment rate did not change from September's 3.7 percent. This number represents the lowest figure since December 1969. This amount, as well as the impressive job growth of the month, may influence American voters going into the upcoming midterm elections.

The largest job growth statistic comes from an industry that suffered in September: leisure and hospitality. The sector rose by 42,000 jobs. This is a dramatic rise in comparison to September's numbers, which were likely impacted by Hurricane Florence. Healthcare took second place in October, with the addition of 36,000 positions. This job growth occurred in a variety of settings, with 14,000 job gains in ambulatory health services, 13,000 in hospitals and 8,000 in nursing and residential care facilities. The professional and business services industry forfeited its previously first place standing when it gained 35,000 in October, a distinguishable drop from its job growth of 54,000 in September. With the fourth largest job growth in October, the manufacturing industry added 32,000 jobs, 10,000 of which occurred in the durable goods sector.

Employment in construction experienced an increase of 30,000 in October, a significant change from its rise of 23,000 in September. Transportation and warehousing displayed a slight expansion in October, with the creation of 25,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the mining industry remained stagnant, with an increase of 5,000 new jobs. Other industries, such as retail trade, wholesale retail, financial activities, government and information did not change significantly in October.

Average hourly earnings of all employees on private payrolls increased by 5 cents, or 0.2 percent, in October, rising to $27.30. This is indicative of a 3.1 percent increase over the past 12 months. It seems to be on-pace with the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, which increased by 2.3 percent from September 2017 to September 2018. The creation of jobs and all-time-low unemployment rate are impressive during this month. Business leaders, job seekers and economists in the U.S. should be pleased with the current state of employment.

As a result of the continually growing economy, interest rates from the Federal Reserve are likely to keep rising. A CNBC report stated, "Powell [Fed chairman] says we're 'a long way' from neutral on interest rates, indicating more hikes are coming." The CME Group provided a 75 percent probability of a rate hike by the end of 2018, likely in December.

The Trevi Group | www.TheTreviGroup.com | “Executive Search for Technology Professionals”

(Video) Attracting Talent in a Tight Candidate Market

In the executive, managerial and professional labor market, unemployment has been hovering around 2 percent, leaving companies across many industries struggling to find top talent. In a survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal and executive advisory group Visage International, University of Michigan economist Richard Curtin discovered that "the biggest challenge confronting firms is their need to expand hiring in an already-tight labor market." As a result of increased competition for high performers, employers are now more willing to make concessions to move their organizations forward.

Click to watch the video.

Here’s some advice that may help your organization with its hiring efforts:

Keep an open mind

When hiring managers look for potential employees, they often only focus immediately on the ideal candidate who has all the desirable qualities for the role. It’s important to recognize that an applicant may not need to possess every single one of those qualities to become a great hire, and rigidly sticking to your list may mean that you lose out on a candidate who could be successful in your organization.

Someone can have exceptional educational and work backgrounds, and still fail at your organization if they aren’t a good cultural fit, or if they don’t share your core values. Think about the type of person who will fit in among your employees - the mentality they’d need to thrive and the interpersonal skills that will help them become part of the team.

After you draft a job description, revisit each requirement to determine if it is absolutely needed. You may find room for negotiation on professional designations or technical skill sets that would be nice to have but aren’t essential to the job. Look beyond your wish list to see who might thrive in your company’s environment even without all your ideal attributes.

Expand your talent pool

If you insist upon finding a candidate you don’t have to train, you could add months to your search for a new hire. You could probably train someone in that amount of time while also benefiting from the value that person may add in other ways as they ramp up. Look for coachable, high potential candidates who have transferable skills that will help them overcome the lack of specific experience.

According to the 2018 MRINetwork Performance Management Study, nearly 80 percent of the employers surveyed agree or strongly agree that finding quality industry-experienced talent is more difficult than ever, and that their companies are more likely to hire people who have transferable skills, but lack industry experience. By considering those with transferable skills, you can significantly expand the number of applicants and focus on more general skills, such as organization, teamwork and communication, which might be just as important for the role, but are much less teachable than specific, technical skills.

Both employers and candidates see poor communication as a problem in this area, according to the study. Companies need to make it clear they are open to candidates who have applicable expertise, despite their lack of industry experience. Candidates need to focus on how they discuss transferable skills during the interview process and demonstrate how those skills can be applied to a different industry.

Offer sign-on perks that attract candidates

The MRINetwork study also indicated that half of the surveyed employers are increasing the rate at which they offer sign-on perks. Among the top perks that organizations are willing to provide are company-paid health insurance, sign-on bonuses and moving expenses. Candidates are on the same page as employers about the desirability of these benefits, with 76 percent citing both sign-on bonuses and health insurance, and 54 percent citing moving expenses as most important to them. A number of employers stated they are willing to offer tuition reimbursement (33 percent) and even help in repaying student loans (23 percent) as incentives.

Employee perks can have a significant impact on your ability to attract desirable candidates and lower employee turnover. Some of the standard benefits packages offered by companies just aren’t cutting it, which is why many firms have decided to augment them in order to stay ahead of their competition for top candidates. As one hiring authority observed, “There are severe shortages of qualified employees in many sectors of the labor market. This makes it an employee’s market and it thus requires incentives (higher pay, bonuses, etc.) to acquire and maintain quality employees.”

An interesting finding of the survey suggested that while employers are boosting sign-on perks, many candidates are unaware of the potential perks they could be leaving on the table. Organizations will need to become more forthcoming about these perks during the hiring process and address the skepticism that some candidates have about sign-on perks. “Companies are willing to pay for one-time extras to get the people who best match or exceed their ideal candidate profile,” said one potential candidate, “but they may not, however, be willing to start at a higher compensation level.”

In a down market, candidates will be less demanding and more flexible with employers. But in today's market, applicants have numerous options, so it is imperative that that the way employers approach them and the advantages that are offered give candidates every reason to want to join a company.

The Trevi Group | www.TheTreviGroup.com | “Executive Search for Technology Professionals”

High demand for smart speakers leading to jump in jobs

When smartphones were first mass produced in manufacturing and distribution centers, millions of Americans said, "I gotta have that." Fast forward to the present, and the vast majority of gadget-crazed consumers own these devices - nearly 80 percent of the country, in fact, according to the Pew Research Center.

Making a strong case for second - if they haven't already caught up - are voice-activated assistant devices, a trend poised to foreshadow an uptick in employment and recruitment in several industries to satisfy buyer demand.

From the iPhone's Siri to Amazon's Alexa, voice-assistant technology is all the rage these days. In fact, approximately 95 percent of respondents in a recent poll conducted by PYMNTS.com and Visa acknowledged owning one or more of these gadgets, which can perform various functions simply by speaking to them.

The uptick in ownership has been particularly notable in recent years. For example, 27 percent of respondents in the survey said they possessed voice-activated speaker systems, up from 14 percent in 2017. Younger millennials - defined as those whose age range between 18 and 29 - are the most likely consumers to be using voice-based tech assistants, more so than so-called "bridge millennials" and early Generation Xers.

"11% of broadband households intend to purchase smart speakers within the next year."

Smart speaker ownership to push higher
Although technologies like Siri and Alexa have been around for several years, it's clear that the novelty factor hasn't worn off. To the contrary, new research suggests that among households with broadband internet connections, 11 percent intend to purchase smart speakers within the next year, according to a separate study from Parks Associates.

"The consumer market first encountered voice control through smartphone-based voice assistants, which consumers report as the preferred method of voice control for smart home devices," said, Dina Abdelrazik, Parks Associates research analyst. "These experiences drive demand for new voice-based experiences."

It comes as no surprise, then, that employment in manufacturing, assembly and distribution centers has risen - a trend that's expected to continue for the foreseeable future. This past summer, Amazon announced its plans to develop a fulfillment center in Eastern Washington, the e-commerce giant's debut in this portion of the Evergreen State. The project is expected to add over 1,500 full-time jobs to the state's economy.

The fulfillment center - projected to span 600,000 square feet - is necessary to keep up with buyer demand, the company stated. Employees at the facility will work in concert with Amazon Robotics to package and prepare orders for customers.

Growth in tech employment
Although consumer technology represents only a portion of what Amazon and other factory settings mass produce for buying customers, it accounts for a sizeable share of annual earnings, evidenced by quarterly sales figures. However, manufacturers and suppliers can only deliver on what tech experts develop. This may explain why employment in the tech industry has proliferated. Through the first six months of 2017, for example, tech companies accounted for nearly half of the square footage office space signings among the leading commercial leases in the U.S. and Canada, according to estimates from Cushman & Wakefield.

Revathi Greenwood, head of research at Cushman & Wakefield, said robust tech employment isn't confined to the general sector itself, but to multiple others, including law firms, media conglomerates and most especially retailers.

What does the future look like voice-assist devices? Thanks to the ingenuity of the people that design them and the employees participating in assembly, vital signs are strong. Amazon, for one, announced added intelligent features in Alexa-enhanced Echo devices in September, including updated email management, video doorbell and step-by-step cooking instructions.

"We've only scratched the surface of A.I.-powered inventions, said Rohit Prasad, head scientist and vice president of Amazon Alexa. "We'll continue to invent ways to make Alexa more useful for our customers."

The Trevi Group | www.TheTreviGroup.com | Executive Search for Technology Professionals

BLS Employment Situation Report: September 2018

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Job creation in September 2018, in terms of raw numbers, did not reach the heights of August or some of the year's other most robust periods. The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that nonfarm payroll businesses in the U.S. brought on 134,000 new workers during the month in its latest edition of the Employment Situation Summary, considerably less than August's 210,000 jobs. Also, the number failed to meet economists' expectations: Bloomberg's survey of economic experts had projected 185,000 new positions created, while The New York Times reported that Wall Street's general estimate was more conservative (168,000) but still greater than the final result.

However, a number of seasonal and situational factors that do not reflect the broader direction of the American economy are the most direct causes of slowed job growth, not least of which is the impact that Hurricane Florence had on several states along the eastern seaboard. Additionally, the BLS noted that the survey periods during which the agency collected its data on employment and unemployment directly coincided with the storm's landfall, which may have adversely affected initial results. Figure adjustments to account for such anomalies, which routinely occur after the initial release of the Employment Situation, may thus reveal more positive numbers.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell in September to reach a new low for the year: 3.7 percent. As noted by the Times, this figure isn't merely a landmark for 2018, but also the lowest jobless percentage on record since 1969. Speaking with Bloomberg, Alan Krueger, former leader of the White House Council of Economic Advisers to President Barack Obama and a noted economics professor at Harvard University, said mitigating factors impacting the numbers should not detract from an ultimately positive conclusion.

"The markets could give this a little bit of a pass because it's not clear what impact the hurricane had at the moment," Krueger told the news provider. "I would view this as a full-employment jobs report."

The industries responsible for the latest round of job growth should come as no surprise, based on trends within the U.S. economy over the past 12 to 18 months: Professional and business services was well ahead of all other fields for the third month in a row, adding 54,000 positions in September and beating its own gains from the month before by 1,000. Healthcare took second place yet again, albeit with 26,000 new jobs - less than half the growth seen in the No. 1 sector.

Meanwhile, transportation and warehousing surged ahead after several months of no statistically significant activity to create 24,000 positions, and construction was right on its heels with 23,000 new jobs. Manufacturing and mining also added staff to their payrolls in September - 18,000 and 6,000, respectively, with the latter mostly dependent on support-services positions for its job growth. No other sector saw any meaningful increases. In terms of losses, a drop of 17,000 workers in leisure and hospitality stood out as the only notable labor decline, and can be attributed at least in part to Hurricane Florence and the transition from summer to autumn that often produces staff cuts.

Average hourly pay increased by 8 cents, or 0.3 percent, from the previous month, per the BLS's figures. This represents a 2.8 percent year-over-year increase, which is still less than what one might expect given the breakneck pace of job growth during that time. Nevertheless, economists and business leaders can find much to be pleased with in the overall picture that this data paints, including reinforcement of hopes that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates one more time before the end of 2018.

The Trevi Group | www.TheTreviGroup.com | “Executive Search for Technology Professionals”

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3 Steps to Sourcing Contract Talent, Even When Going Through an MSP/VMS

A recent NPR/Marist survey reveals that 20 percent of work in the U.S. is fulfilled by contract workers. So, no matter what industry your business serves, chances are you regularly employ contractors to augment your permanent workforce. This reality creates a continual need to source consultants, whether it be through an MSP (Managed Services Provider) / VMS (Vendor Management System) or a boutique staffing firm.

The use of an MSP/VMS has increased dramatically in the last ten years; the threshold for engaging with an MSP used to be approximately $50 million a year in contract staffing spend, but that number has significantly decreased, and many small to medium-sized companies utilize an MSP program. Despite all the benefits of an MSP/VMS, it can present a challenge to internal hiring managers who need to find contractors quickly, with a very specific skill sets.

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Click to enlarge.

"Some companies are much more strict and rigid than others when it comes to MSP utilization," said Tim Ozier, senior director of contract staffing sales for MRINetwork. "Some junior level managers may also be more reluctant to try and work outside the MSP program than their senior colleagues."

Regardless of how your company manages its contingent workforce, Ozier recommends taking the following steps to ensure you have an efficient process for sourcing contractors:

  1. Become very familiar with the MSP/VMS program and its nuances. You might find that the program allows you to attract the contract talent you need, in a timely manner, at the right price. However, many managers have previously established relationships with smaller, boutique recruiting firms with whom they want to continue working.
     

  2. Try to get boutique firms onboarded as a vendor through the MSP program. This can be time consuming and possibly unsuccessful if the smaller firms cannot comply with the vendor requirements. Essentially, you’ll need to justify why it’s critical to bring in highly specialized talent that can’t be sourced through the MSP program. To accomplish this, learn the internal processes and justifications for using non-preferred suppliers. Exceptions can be made and even when the list of preferred vendors are locked down, there is typically a second tier of boutique providers that the MSP can turn to for meeting mission-critical business needs.
     

  3. Utilize the boutique firm for consulting services or SOW projects, rather than staff augmentation since those services frequently fall outside the auspices of the MSP program.

In some cases, it can help the hiring manager make a case for using an outside firm if he/she already has an excellent candidate from the firm. The company will usually have another vehicle outside of the MSP for more strategic or specialized biz needs. Many of those needs can be met by a staffing provider.

“Ultimately, it’s key that managers talk to other internal groups, to gain insight on all the available staffing options,” concluded Ozier. “There are possibilities that are not always made public, and when there is enough pain regarding sourcing contingent talent, these opportunities open up.”

The Trevi Group
www.TheTreviGroup.com
”Executive Search for Technology Professionals”

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Big data could create job opportunities in APAC

For the past decade or so, big data has taken the tech sector - and much of the business world overall - by storm. The possibilities afforded by large-scale business intelligence for automation, high-level analysis and increased business efficiency have proved to be all but endless. Now, as nations throughout the Asia-Pacific region develop their economies at a furious pace, the demand for big data in these countries is taking off considerably.

Citing data from IDC, Forbes stated that business analytics tools will experience a compound annual growth rate of 15.1 percent in the APAC region between 2017 and 2022. Analytics data stores and cognitive/AI software platforms represent the most popular product categories in the overarching field of big data, per IDC's projections, with respective CAGRs of 35.4 percent and 32.4 percent.

While most of the demand for this technology is coming from the largest APAC firms, small and medium-sized businesses are also making investments in it. Additionally, there will be a resulting need for more individuals trained in the specific skill sets necessary to leverage such technologies, which could help create tech jobs in these countries.

As far as the region's broader economy is concerned, projections remain quite positive. The International Monetary Fund's Regional Economic Outlook for APAC nations projects growth of 5.5 percent, two-thirds of the world's overall economic progression for 2018.

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The Trevi Group
www.TheTreviGroup.com
“Executive Search for IT Professionals”



BLS Employment Summary for August 2018

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August was a strong month for employers across most segments of the U.S. economy, particularly in the wake of a July performance that notably underperformed the expectations of economic analysts, businesses and governments alike. According to the latest Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American nonfarm organizations in both the private and public sectors added 210,000 jobs to their workforces.

This figure stands well above the 147,000 new positions created in July (downwardly revised from an initial estimate of 157,000) and also exceeds the median prediction by Bloomberg-surveyed economists, who expected to see 190,000 jobs added during the month. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate held fast to its July figure of 3.9 percent (about 6.2 million unemployed persons actively looking for work) in August, and this did slightly fall behind the estimate of economic experts Reuters polled, who predicted a drop to 3.8 percent.

Michael Gapen, chief U.S. economist at Barclays, pointed out in an interview with The New York Times that figures such as these indicated some of the fears over international trade wars were, for now at least, somewhat overblown.

"What's worth noting is that even though there still remains a lot of headline noise around politics and protectionism, underneath that, the U.S. economy - and that includes labor markets - is doing quite fine," Gapen told the newspaper.

Professional and business services remained the top performer in terms of employment creation among American industries, adding 53,000 jobs during August. Healthcare came in second, with 33,000 new roles added, while construction and wholesale trade were nearly tied with their respective gains of 23,000 and 22,000 jobs. (By contrast to its wholesale counterpart, retail trade, after a few months of back-and-forth, didn't see any major change in August).

There were some notable differences between the August and July reports in terms of industries showing statistically significant increases or declines. Transportation and warehousing, which has not risen or fallen much throughout 2018, saw a big jump of 22,000 new positions created in August. Mining also added jobs this past month after showing no significant movement in July, although these almost all came from mining support services, as has been the case for many of the previously reported increases within that particular field over the past year.

Some economists will see manufacturing's decline in employment - a loss of 3,000 positions in August - as the biggest surprise in the BLS's latest jobs report. Considering that the field added 37,000 jobs in July and 36,000 in June, as it has for nearly a year starting in 2017 and continuing through to 2018. Any drop counts as a notable negative change in light of a White House administration under President Donald Trump that repeatedly pledged to bring back manufacturing jobs - and also, with good reason, has cited economic gains as its biggest success. This could be attributable to a slight drop in the labor force participation rate, which fell 0.2 percent to reach 62.7 percent.

That said, a loss of 3,000 roles could easily be offset by even a relatively modest jobs gain for September.

The August BLS report also contained other significant positives. Wages grew by 0.4 percent when analyzed by average hourly earnings, rising 10 cents to reach $27.16. When looked at on a year-over-year basis, the gain is even more impressive - 2.9 percent between August 2017 and 2018.

Indications also exist of some trade tensions between the U.S. and other nations beginning to abate somewhat. CNN reported Aug. 28 that President Trump and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto agreed on several adjustments to the North American Free Trade Agreement, most of them meant to ensure both nations were able to maintain strong involvement in auto manufacturing. Peña Nieto expressed hope that Canada would accept the revisions, which would further advance NAFTA renegotiation efforts. However, according to another Reuters report, Canada and America still remain at odds over several industries, most notably dairy, lumber, media and steel.

The Trevi Group
"Executive Search for Technology Professionals"

Video: How to Implement an Effective Contingent Workforce Recruitment Strategy

According to Staffing Industry Analysts’ Workforce Solutions Buyer Survey 2018, respondents report that 22 percent of their staff is currently contingent, and project that by 2028 that figure will rise to 30 percent. As the blended workforce continues to grow, it's becoming increasingly important to perfect your company’s recruitment strategies to consistently hire strong permanent and contract candidates that will drive business growth. No matter what industry you focus on, the ability to implement an effective contingent workforce recruitment strategy that is part of your overarching hiring plans is essential for success in today's competitive job market.

Click to watch the video.

"Many newer companies make the mistake of assuming that coming up with an effective contingent talent acquisition strategy can happen overnight," said Tim Ozier, senior director of contract staffing sales for MRINetwork. "The reality is that identifying hiring needs, searching for right-fit candidates and screening takes extensive time and consideration. Generally, the most successful strategies unfold with the help of staffing companies."

Whether you are running a startup tech company or managing a team of long-time engineers, you and your organization are going to need a strong recruitment strategy, ensuring that you are focused on the talent decisions that will actually affect the organization’s ability to reach its business goals. Consider these methods for executing an effective plan that works for your team:

Strive to maintain balance

No matter how good your retention rate is, changes in employment are expected within any company. New projects, changes in strategy, new market opportunities can all have an impact on the staffing levels and skill requirements of any organization, big or small.

However, it’s key that your organization is always thinking two steps ahead when it comes to your contingent workforce recruitment strategy. While not all exits from the company can be anticipated, workforce planning is most effective when it resolves talent gaps while maintaining a balance of labor surpluses and shortages. This is best accomplished by using predictive analytics to monitor workforce trends inside your business, as well as in the external environment. When a company can accurately forecast future job openings, analyze current demand and talent, and measure predicted resources, it improves talent acquisition. "This ability to look ahead and recognize what your company will need and when, can enhance the success rate of recruitment," said Ozier. “Keep one eye on current challenges - and one eye on future needs that your organization must prepare for.”

Encourage a blended workforce

Today's workforce looks much different than it did even several years ago. With the onset of remote work, the gig economy and the appeal of telecommuting, it's becoming rare to find a company filled completely with full-time, in-office employees. From the top down, organizations and employees can reap the benefits of a mixed workforce but first, your company needs to be on board with this kind of work environment.

One way to do this is by including discussions around the blended workforce during planning sessions with the entire organization. Demonstrating how contingent workers can help drive the organization's bottom line, while cutting costs at the same time is key. In many cases, contingent workers are hired for projects that could not be completed by existing staff. Overall, creating clear means of communication across all sources of workers is beneficial.

Expand expectations of contract workers

In the past, contingent workers were mainly brought on for short-term projects with an official deadline in place. Today, not all of these employees operate on fixed-term contracts. In fact, there are long-term contracts that can last up to several years, or even indefinite contracts with no official end date.

If companies continue to view this pool of candidates as merely temporary, they are largely missing out on the talent that is today's world of extremely skilled top performers. While you may only think of contingent workers as one-time fixers, merely filling a gap in talent while saving on costs, you’re losing out on the wealth of knowledge these highly skilled workers have to offer.

According to figures from a recent study published by Oxford Economics, IT, healthcare, public service agencies, financial services and professional services are among the top sectors using contingent labor as a solution. These organizations that require niche expertise can highly benefit in the long-term by sourcing from this top talent.

"Both organizations and contingent workers benefit greatly from contract staffing," said Ozier. "Many times, the relationship and outcome is so great, these employees are later hired as permanent workers."

Work with a staffing company

Industry focus is key for finalizing your recruitment strategy and the best way to do this is by working with a staffing organization. Not only do these agencies have working relationships with top talent, but they understand the specific skill sets needed in your given industry. When it's the top candidates within your sector you're looking for, staffing organizations can help you find them. Instead of training an inexperienced worker, you gain access to the right candidate for the job at hand. The recruitment firm takes care of all the talent sourcing, background checks, and preliminary interviewing activities to deliver highly qualified workers. For both permanent and contract work, this single-source solution can help you implement the best contingent workforce recruitment strategy.

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The Trevi Group
"Executive Search for Technology Professionals"

BLS Employment Situation Report - for July 2018

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The job gains initially estimated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for June were recalculated from 213,000 to 248,000. As such, some economists consider the total increase in nonfarm payroll employment for July - 157,000 jobs - an even more significant decline from June's numbers. Other analysts see it more as a regression to the mean: a more typical and sustainable pace of healthy job growth than the almost hyper-real gains that long stretches of 2017 and 2018 have seen.

That said, the July figure is considerably less than what some experts predicted: Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected a mean increase of 193,000 jobs, while a similar questionnaire from Reuters came up with an average prediction of 190,000 new positions. The unemployment rate, by contrast, was widely expected to fall from June's 4.0 percent - which it did, to reach 3.9 percent in July. The labor force participation rate held steady at 62.9 percent.

Many of the industries that saw notable increases in positions added were the same between June and July: Professional and business services once again took the No. 1 spot, with 51,000 new positions created, while manufacturing took second place with 37,000 jobs added. Both of these sectors also saw a month-to-month uptick of exactly 1,000 jobs from June to July. Healthcare came in third again this July, but with stronger numbers than what was seen in June - 34,000 new roles created as opposed to 26,000 the month prior.

Food services and drinking places was a new addition to the list of statistically significant job gains, with 26,000 new workers added to its payrolls. Seasonal factors likely drove this, given the tendency of July and August to serve as primary vacation time. Construction and retail trade were the last two sectors to see any notable uptick in employment, with 19,000 and 7,000 jobs added, respectively.

No broad sector of the American economy experienced significant labor force decline, though retail's gain would've been much greater if not for a loss of 32,000 positions in sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores. Clothing, general merchandise and food and beverage stores offset that drop with healthy job growth.

Speaking with Reuters, Omair Sharif, senior U.S. economist at the New York branch of the multinational bank Societe Generale, expressed a sentiment common among various experts: slight disappointment, tempered by broader optimism.

"The story is pretty much the same," Sharif said to the news provider. "Job growth is still very strong. It's still a disappointment on wages still with the unemployment rate this low. We are still fluctuating between 2.5 percent and 2.8 percent in year-over-year wage growth. The labor story hasn't changed very much. Everything else looks pretty solid. We are just waiting for wages to accelerate. We can't seem to budge out of this range."

BLS figures show that wage growth increased from June to July, jumping from 5 to 7 cents in terms of additions to average hourly earnings - a 0.3 percent jump, as predicted by the economists Bloomberg surveyed. Measured year-over -year, it's not quite as positive, with a 2.7 percent increase between July 2017 and 2018, identical to June's year-on-year wage gain.

The Federal Reserve increased federal benchmark interest rates in July, as expected, with many predicting another rate hike in September. Sharif cautioned against assuming this was "a done deal," however, noting that the Fed will examine "more than just the labor market to determine further hikes."

In big-picture terms, the U.S. economy remains considerably solvent, but this could change somewhat if trade tensions with other nations - especially China - become more intense.

The Trevi Group
Executive Search For Technology Professionals
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Video: 4 Ways to Plan the Growth of Your Company in the Instant Information Era

Today’s senior business managers face not only traditional business planning tasks when driving growth within their organization, but also the need to understand new marketing challenges and opportunities presented by technologies that were not taught in business schools even five or ten years ago.

Click to watch the video.

Key among those business planning elements are marketing and public relations planning that leverages the latest technologies to communicate your company’s mission, focus and differentiated, competitive advantages. Leaders also need to plan digital defenses against issues that can arise virtually overnight even as they deploy new marketing tools and techniques.

Here are four ways you can promote your business more effectively using the latest marketing and public relations techniques:

1. Stick to the 1 in 7 posting principle

A spin on the "Rule of Seven," which stipulates that a buyer should hear a marketing message at least seven times before buying, the 1 in 7 rule relates to social media. As noted by American Express, whenever you post something on Facebook, Twitter or other social media website, one out of every seven of the posts should promote your business. The other posts should be some piece of content that your customers will consider interesting or valuable. This balance helps your customers view your business as an industry thought leader.

2. Target your audience with search engine optimization

What are your customers searching for when they log on? What websites are they going to for information? Search engine optimization can help you decipher the type of questions your customers want answered and what key search terms they're using to find them.

"Find out who's talking about what, where they're talking about it, and then start listening there," Amy Vernon, marketing consultant at Predictable.ly, told Fast Company.

3. Form a crisis management team

How would your company respond if an employee mistake or a cyber security attack tarnished the organization’s image? Time is of the essence in today's digital world where word travels fast, and the immediate strategy you employ determines how you'll bounce back. You may want to appoint some of your existing employees to serve as crisis managers. The team should consist of individuals who have a knack for staying cool under pressure and thrive at problem-solving in a digital environment. Once the team is assembled, map out a process that can be followed, should a crisis arise.

4. Connect with influencers

Influencers are the people who move the needle and whose endorsement of your product - or contribution to your blog - elicits more clicks. That’s the social media component of leveraging influencers. However, your association with influencers goes far beyond the online world. Connecting with industry influencers can lead to additional marketing opportunities, such as guest speaking at your corporate conferences or appearances in promotional content.

“From guest blog posts to interviews to podcasts, influencers can legitimize your organization and significantly raise the company’s profile,” explained Vince Webb, vice president of marketing for MRINetwork. “Influencers allow you to reach target audiences, as well as those that you might never have expected, through a vast assortment of interactive mediums.”

Establishing a solid brand and spreading the word about your company has never been easier, thanks to cost-effective measures like social media, digital marketing and public relations. The key is striking the right balance between traditional and new marketing and public relations techniques that can propel your business to new heights.

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The Trevi Group
Executive Search For Technology Professionals
www.TheTreviGroup.com

 

Employment Summary for June 2018

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The U.S. saw yet another considerable monthly surge in the size of its labor force in June 2018. According to the Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payroll across all American industries added 213,000 jobs during the month.

This is slightly less than May's tally of 223,000 new positions, but a strong number exceeding the median figure projected by a Bloomberg survey of economic experts, who expected approximately 195,000 jobs added.

Although the unemployment rate rose from May to June - coming in at 4 percent after May's remarkably low figure of 3.8 percent - many are attributing this to growth in the labor force participation rate, which most recently jumped 0.2 percent to reach 62.9 percent. This indicates an uptick in jobless individuals actively seeking work, particularly among prime-age workers (Americans between the ages of 25 and 54). Brookings Institution senior fellow Gary Burtless confirmed as much in an interview with The Washington Post.

"This trend has been well underway," Burtless told the news provider. "We had a very, very long recovery from an extremely deep recession. It wasn’t spectacularly fast, but it has been spectacularly long.”

The field of professional and business services stood well above other sectors of the U.S. economy in terms of increased employment for the month, adding a total of 50,000 jobs. Manufacturing saw the second largest gains, creating 36,000 new positions once again on the back of durable goods manufacturing. This smaller category of the field has reaped major overall benefits for the American manufacturing industry, in terms of both revenue and employment.

Healthcare - another consistent performer on the U.S. job market and general economy over the past few years - added 25,000 new positions to its labor force in June. Meanwhile, construction rounded out the group of sectors with five-figure job gains due to the 13,000 new roles it created, and mining was the only other industry with statistically significant employment growth for the month, adding 5,000 jobs altogether.

The only notable drop in total jobs for June occurred within the sector of retail trade - a loss of 22,000 positions. However, because this field of the American labor force added 25,000 jobs during May, any impact on the businesses within it would be minimal. Additionally, seasonal labor shifts, which are common in retail, are almost undoubtedly responsible for some of June's job losses. This reduces the likelihood that the drop-off is the beginning of any alarming trend - though it's too early to know all of the exact causes.

Speaking with Bloomberg, Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co., offered a largely positive but nuanced take on the newest numbers from the BLS.

"This is a good job-creation number, but on the other hand we see still continued soft wage growth," Feroli said. "It's positive in the sense that we still have some capacity to grow above trend without triggering too much inflation worry." He added that the Federal Reserve could interpret these indicators as reasons to maintain its current schedule of increases to federal benchmark interest rates, rather than expanding to four rate hikes for 2018 as many economists have anticipated.

Growth in average hourly earnings did slow somewhat during June, with the month's 5 cent increase representing a 0.2 percent decline from May's wage gains. Also, concerns persist among some American businesses regarding potential adverse effects of the recent U.S. tariffs on numerous imports, including $34 billion in new levies placed on goods from China as of July 6, 2018. Yet the full effect of those measures remains to be seen, and in the meantime, the American economy is in a positive place, as it has generally been for the past several years.

The Trevi Group
"Executive Search for Technology Professionals"