BLS Employment Situation Report: January 2019


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” |

(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” |

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.


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 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” |

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” |

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 | | Executive Search for Technology Professionals

Employment Summary for October 2018


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 | | “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 | | “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 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 | | Executive Search for Technology Professionals

BLS Employment Situation Report: September 2018


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 | | “Executive Search for Technology Professionals”


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.


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
”Executive Search for Technology Professionals”


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.


The Trevi Group
“Executive Search for IT Professionals”

BLS Employment Summary for August 2018


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.


The Trevi Group
"Executive Search for Technology Professionals"

BLS Employment Situation Report - for July 2018


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

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, 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.


The Trevi Group
Executive Search For Technology Professionals


Employment Summary for June 2018


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"

IT job creation sizzling this summer

The U.S. economy is in the black in terms of job creation for 92 months in a row, according to The New York Times, and the unemployment rate hovers at lows not witnessed in nearly 20 years. Virtually every industry is in hiring mode, and this is particularly true in the information technology sector - where employers are filling positions at breakneck speed.

With the summer's arrival, approximately 25 percent of business are hiring for their IT departments, according to a newly released survey conducted by The Harris Poll for CareerBuilder. That's tied with customer service and office support for the highest percentage among individual employment sectors. Engineering came in second at 18 percent and manufacturing at 16 percent.

Irina Novoselsky, CareerBuilder president and chief operating officer, noted that given companies are competing with one another to woo an increasingly smaller pool of job-seekers, they're dialing up the incentives.

"Employers are becoming more competitive with pay and offering more long-term employment opportunities to summer workers," Novoselsky explained. "It's a great way for workers to add new skills, build up their resumes and expand their professional network."

Most companies expect seasonal jobs to turn permanent
Although no two hiring environments are the same, the summer is traditionally a hot period for recruitment, both for seasonal help as well as for positions businesses are looking to fill for the long haul. The survey found that 41 percent of employers intend to hire seasonal workers during the summer, with 88 percent expecting these positions to segue into permanent roles by the time late September rolls around. That's up from 79 percent in 2017.

Businesses are looking to shore up their cybersecurity with IT professionals as permanent staff members.

The IT sector is one of the more dynamic out there. Technology is developing rapidly and becoming cheaper for consumers to purchase, making lives more comfortable and easier to manage. At the same time, the internet of things era has led to a dramatic uptick in security breaches, fueled by identity thieves looking to steal consumers' personal information. They're also after the sensitive data of businesses, as seemingly not a week goes by without hearing about a company experiencing a cyberattack.

IT employee demand to outstrip supply within four years
It's these security concerns that have contributed to the uptick in IT-related hiring. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the demand for cybersecurity professionals in outpacing supply. Indeed, by 2022, the U.S. is expected to have 265,000 more data security jobs than skilled workers available to fill them, based on estimates from Frost & Sullivan.

The need is so great that job-seekers don't necessarily need to be specialists. Recruitment expert Ryan Sutton told the Journal that what businesses really want from hired help is superior critical-thinking skills, but a basic knowledge of computer networks and programming are big pluses also.

"There are just not enough certified professionals out there to fulfill the needs," Sutton further stated.

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security has developed an online tool that techies can use to sharpen their skills. The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies offers formal education programs, training utilities and how-to articles that help individuals apply some of their knowledge to managing their data.

In short, if you're looking for work in IT, your dream job may be waiting for you.

The Trevi Group  |  "Executive Search for Technology Professionals"  |

Video: Ensuring Your Company has Strong Leaders, Not Bosses

Are leaders born or made? It's an interesting question that produces a plethora of answers. But here's something that isn't up for debate: People are naturally attracted to leaders.

Click to watch the video.

Leaders possess capabilities that can inspire others to become their best, something that business owners eagerly seek in the people they hire and the individuals they currently employ. When you recognize leadership qualities in your workforce, you can't afford to let them get away. As a result, companies are always looking to identify leadership skills within potential hires to ensure they have a strong base of leaders that can drive the organization forward. These skills include the ability to motivate staff and drive innovation, while doing so with a sense of integrity, transparency and diplomacy.

A great way to gain insight on whether someone is more of a boss or a leader is to do your homework during the hiring process. For example, if you're interviewing an applicant for a management opening, asking them a few questions about how they led various projects or initiatives will tell you a lot about their leadership style.

Additionally, calling one or two of the candidate’s references can give you an idea of whether the person was highly regarded for their leadership capabilities in their previous position. The length of their relationship can also provide insight.

“When candidates portray admirable leadership qualities in the interview process, appointing them to supervisory roles can help motivate your other staff members to perform well or seek to become leaders in their own right,” said Nancy Halverson, general manager for MRINetwork.

For the most part, employees think rather highly of their managers. In fact, a 2016 poll conducted by CareerBuilder, found nearly two-thirds of respondents gave their bosses an "A" or "B." However, in those instances where bosses received an average or failing grade, it frequently led to employee losses. Almost 40 percent of respondents in the poll said they'd left at least one job due to the management style of their bosses.

In short, as noted in a report by the Society for Human Resource Management, dissatisfied workers don't leave their jobs - they leave their bosses.

How do you ensure you have leaders who inspire instead of bosses who discourage? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Leaders avoid micromanaging and consider others their equals

As discussed in The Muse, even though managers may be authority figures, they shouldn't see themselves as "better than" the workers who are in their charge. The best managers view their relationship as more of a partnership, rather than a one-way street where the manager directs and workers perform. Additionally, leaders give their staff autonomy, adopting a more "hands-off" approach to management. In the 2016 CareerBuilder survey, respondents who gave their managers a high letter grade were more likely to work for leaders who they didn't consider to be a micromanager.

2. Leaders take a genuine interest in their team members

Employees have lives beyond the office, spending their time with family members, friends, projects at home or activities within their community. Leaders aim to get to know their team on an individual basis, forming a more personal relationship while at the same time learning about qualities that can contribute to the growth of the business, like expertise that isn’t currently be utilized, or traits such as patience or perseverance that would lend themselves well on a special project. Knowing someone at an individual fosters trust and encourages people to give it their all.

3. Leaders prioritize relationships and results

Managers in leadership positions are responsible for ensuring work is completed effectively so growth never ceases. Overbearing bosses may still be able to achieve solid results, but it may produce diminishing returns if employees are at their wits' end and ultimately decide to quit in search of greener pastures. Leaders recognize the value of relationships. They prioritize finding solutions to issues that may be troubling workers and ultimately impeding their work output. Leaders also put greater emphasis on results that are achieved through demanding yet, reasonable processes rather than processes that are tedious and unnecessarily taxing.

“Whether it comes naturally or develops over time, leadership is an indispensable asset that can help your business reach its goals,” said Halverson. “Fostering strong leadership and leveraging it to drive the organization forward can be the difference between a run-of-the-mill operation and a truly extraordinary one.”

The Trevi Group 
"Executive Search for Technology Professionals"

BLS Employment Situation Report for May 2018


Considerable spikes in employment characterized the U.S. economy in May - more than enough to offset an April jobs report viewed as underwhelming in numerous respects. According to the latest Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payroll employment in America rose by 223,000 through May. This was nearly 100,000 more than the 159,000 positions created during April (according to revised figures) and ahead of numerous economic analysts surveyed by both Bloomberg and Reuters, who predicted median gains of 190,000 and 188,000 jobs, respectively.

Additionally, the unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent from the previous month, which, at 3.9 percent in April, was the lowest rate seen in almost 20 years. May's figure represents an almost half-century low.

Retail trade, the dependably robust field of healthcare and construction led the way for job increases, respectively gaining 31,000, 29,000 and 25,000 jobs in May.

Professional and technical services added 23,000 positions for the month, transportation and warehousing created 19,000 jobs and manufacturing continued its trend of expansion driven by durable goods production, with 18,000 roles added to its ranks. Mining brought up the rear in terms of statistically significant employment gains for May, creating 6,000 new positions largely in the niche of support services.

Job growth in other industries such as wholesale trade, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government was relatively unchanged.

Other indicators within the May BLS report, such as wage growth, provided stronger evidence of sustainable expansion than what were seen in April. Average hourly earnings increased 8 cents to reach $26.92, representing a 0.3 percent uptick that outshone April's 0.1 percent jump. Additionally, while April's decline in the labor force participation rate - to 62.7 percent from 62.8 - made it clear that some of 2018's earlier unemployment decline came from people who stopped actively looking for work, May had no movement in this metric, indicating that the U.S. gained at least enough positions for labor force participation to break even.

Michael Feroli, the chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co., provided a balanced examination of the employment report's conclusions in an interview with Bloomberg.

"Demand for labor remains pretty vigorous," Feroli told the news provider. "There isn't a whole lot to dislike in this report." He then admitted that the rate of expansion was likely too strong to continue quite as it had, saying, "Job growth is running in excess of the sustainable pace of the demographically determined supply of labor. This report, in and of itself, definitely strengthens the case for four hikes by the [Federal Reserve] this year. The question is, will policymakers have the confidence that global developments won't adversely affect U.S. growth?"

In its direct statements, the Fed remains noncommittal thus far regarding the specific schedule of federal benchmark interest rate hikes, but Feroli's opinion echoes the belief of many on Wall Street and the broader American financial sector who expect three more increases by 2018's end. Current inflation stands just below 2 percent, the desired level for the national bank, according to Reuters.

The White House's controversial imposition of metals tariffs on previously exempt trade partners including Canada, Mexico and the European Union, as well as other global socioeconomic unrest, could be problematic in the near future for the U.S. Yet at present, American domestic labor occupies an undeniably strong position based on the latest numbers.

The Trevi Group  |  |  "Executive Search for IT Professionals"

Video: The Importance of Strong Employer Branding During the Interview Process

In today's competitive hiring landscape, companies need a cohesive and well-defined brand to help them stand out from other businesses that are also hoping to attract top talent.

Many companies spend considerable resources developing their corporate website and social media presence to reflect their brand. However, what some organizations don't realize is that a company's employer brand - their reputation as an employer - can be observed as early as the interview process. If your interview process reflects and strengthens your company's brand - instead of detracting from it - you can gain a competitive edge in recruitment.

Click to watch the video.

Here are some ways that companies can strengthen their employer branding through the interview process:

Revamp your careers page

Nearly every company has a careers/jobs page on its website, or even a separate careers site, but few take the time to create one that spotlights their employer brand. Don't miss this important opportunity to reflect your organization's mission and values through the copy, voice and design of the site. This can be further demonstrated by highlighting top performers within the organization, allowing jobs seekers to learn about featured employees' career growth and overall experience working for the company. Ultimately, every element of the careers page/site and its linked job descriptions should mesh with your company's brand.

Your company website and company review sites such as Glassdoor play an increasingly important role in the way candidates assess your organization. The 2018 MRINetwork Reputation Management Studyfound top methods for evaluating an employer brand were employee referrals (59 percent), company website (56 percent), Glassdoor (38 percent) with employee testimonials ranking 4th (at 28 percent). “Your employer and external brands need to be closely aligned in order to present your organization consistently and effectively,” advises Vince Webb, vice president of marketing for MRINetwork. “If there is a disconnect between how you present yourself to the outside world and how your employees view the company, your brand will suffer from a confusing message that fails to attract top candidates.”

Use technology to make scheduling and follow-up easier

If the interview scheduling process is too complicated or it takes a long time for a hiring manager to contact applicants to set up an interview, top candidates can develop a negative perception of your business. To prevent this, some companies are speeding up the process by using technology to make interview scheduling easier.

For example, PricewaterhouseCoopers started using a new online platform that enables candidates to select a time for their interviews, as a LinkedIn Pulse article explained. The platform features a calendar that notes the availability of internal interviewers and then auto-updates after candidates choose their time. Before the process, it took an average of six days to schedule an interview. The online tool, however, has shortened it to just one day.

An efficient, streamlined interview process that engages candidates and keeps them in the loop on the status of their application can also help companies create a more positive applicant experience and, in turn, a more positive employer brand. According to the Reputation Management Study, almost half of candidates (47 percent) feel lack of communication through the interview process is one of the biggest turnoffs during the interview process. “The details of the interview coordination and process reveal volumes about operating priorities and corporate values,” observes an applicant that responded to the Study. Ultimately astute candidates want a hiring experience that’s high-tech, but also high-touch and personal. If they’re left hanging in limbo, they’re likely to move on.

Ask more relevant interview questions

Scrap the cookie-cutter questions during interviews and instead see the conversation as a way to share insight with the candidate on your company's culture. Ask questions that require critical thinking and that relate to your company's mission and values to gain a better sense of whether the candidate is a good fit for the role. For example, you can ask interviewees to describe a time they overcame a work challenge that is relevant to your company's ethics. Or, if collaboration is important to your organization, you can ask them about whether they prefer to solve problems on their own or with the help of others.

It’s also important that everyone involved in the interview process has the same understanding of the position’s requirements. Thirty-six percent of candidates in the Reputation Management Study said that discovering discrepancies among interviewers about job duties was the second biggest turnoff they encountered while interviewing. “Consistency is critical,” said an employer responding to the survey. “The messages that are portrayed during the interview process are such an important piece of the selection process that we’ve hired an HR manager to focus on that aspect in our hiring processes.” Ultimately, the bottom-line requirements of the job should be discussed among the interviewing team in advance, to ensure that candidates will be asked job-related questions built around critical job competencies. Interviewers who have a clear picture of the skills that the candidates need to have in order to be successful are more likely to identify the best person for the position.

Create a positive interview environment

When candidates come into your office to interview, be sure they're entering an environment that's indicative of a positive work culture. Ensure hiring managers or HR professionals start the interview on time, they have already reviewed the candidate's resume and drafted pertinent questions before the interview begins. Leave ample time for the interview to avoid a rushed experience, and be sure to cover issues that are important to sought-after candidates.

Creating a positive interview environment also means selling candidates on the things that make your organization great. Applicants are very clear about the factors that influence their perception of your employer brand. The MRINetwork Study revealed that emphasis on work-life balance and advancement opportunities were highly ranked, at 47 and 40 percent respectively.

“Companies that offer flexible work arrangements and career pathing programs create an employee-centric vibe where staff feel they are a top priority,” says Anne Hayden, vice president of human resources for MRINetwork. “Promoting these types of offerings to candidates, is just one more thing your team can do to leave a lasting impression during interviews.”

The interview process is a critical opportunity for companies to present a strong, unified brand identity. Organizations that fail to recognize the importance of their employer brand and the need to monitor it accordingly, are likely to find themselves losing out on the best talent while companies that have great employer branding and offer an excellent candidate experience have no problem attracting the best and brightest.

The Trevi Group  |  |  "Executive Search for IT Professionals"