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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"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
www.TheTreviGroup.com

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"

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"  |  www.TheTreviGroup.com

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 
www.TheTreviGroup.com 
"Executive Search for Technology Professionals"

BLS Employment Situation Report for May 2018

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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  |  www.TheTreviGroup.com  |  "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  |  www.TheTreviGroup.com  |  "Executive Search for IT Professionals" 

BLS Employment Situation Report - for April 2018

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Nonfarm payrolls in the U.S. added 164,000 jobs in April 2018, according to the latest release of the Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While below expectations of just over 192,000 new jobs, this expansion of the labor force exceeded the previous month's figures, even when accounting for upward revisions bringing the March total to 135,000 new positions as opposed to the original 103,000.

Additionally, the unemployment rate slid to 3.9 percent during April. Reuters reported that this new percentage represents the lowest unemployment figure seen since December 2000.

When unemployment fell to 4.1 percent more than six months ago, that contraction itself represented a near-record low and provided strong evidence of how robust the American job market has been in the last few years. The metric's stability at this level for nearly half a year was arguably even more remarkable. As such, April's added drop in the joblessness rate could back up some economists' predictions that the second quarter of 2018 will feature better performance across multiple economic metrics than what was seen in the year's first quarter.

Professional and business services led the pack in terms of job growth-producing industries, with 54,000 jobs added in April. No other sector even came close to this level of employment gains.

In the runner-up spot, manufacturing saw the creation of 24,000 roles, stemming in no small part from the continued strength of the durable goods production market. Healthcare, which has been the American economy's brightest star almost without interruption for the past two years, also added 24,000 jobs. The mining industry rounded out April 2018's contingent of fields with noteworthy job growth, with the creation of 8,000 positions. No other fields experienced any statistically significant addition or subtraction to their ranks of employed workers.

Feelings among economic analysts and business leaders regarding the overall American economic situation appear generally positive, if tempered by a number of tangential figures and factors. In a note released ahead of the report, Wells Fargo Securities senior economist Sam Bullard expressed this sort of guarded optimism.

"We believe the U.S. labor market remains on solid footing," Bullard stated, according to the news provider. "That said, as labor market conditions continue to tighten and the pool of skilled workers on the sidelines continues to shrink, future monthly hiring gains are likely to slow from the current hiring pace."

Numbers responsible for uncertainties regarding the labor market include the labor force participation rate, in which the BLS identified a slight decline, falling to 62.8 percent. Some economists consider this metric a better barometer of American employment due to its measurement of people who are actively working and its ability to account for individuals who've ceased seeking work in any measurable manner.

Lower than expected wage growth of 0.1 percent may also have contributed to any sense of unease experienced by company leaders, economic experts and workers.

On the other hand, Bloomberg reported that any further drop in the U.S. unemployment rate may prompt the Federal Reserve to view the figure as unsustainable in the long run, thus necessitating further hikes to federal benchmark interest rates - perhaps beyond the increases already expected to occur in 2018. The first of these is tentatively scheduled to take effect sometime in June. Also, expected surges in consumer spending and the possibility of tax cuts provide further hope of continuing overall positive performance across the American economy.

The Trevi Group  |  www.TheTreviGroup.com  |  Executive Search for IT Profressionals

A growing need in the field of cybersecurity engineering

With the rise of cybercrime, which continues to be a rampant threat to government, companies, institutions and individuals, a new role has emerged: cybersecurity engineering. The need for individuals with skills in software and systems engineering, as well as operational security, is growing and as a result, universities and government are being called on to act accordingly.

The need for cybersecurity engineers:
As the Cybersecurity Jobs Report 2018-2021 from Cybersecurity Ventures concluded, within the next three years there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally. The cost of cybercrime has steadily risen from $3 trillion in 2015 to an expected total of $6 trillion by 2021. Leaders in the industry have been unable to keep up with demand, due to a lack of qualified applicants.

"By 2021, cybercrime spend is expected to reach $6 trillion."

The big reason for the lack of skilled workers and available candidates, which is causing the cybersecurity industry to lose out big time, is the booming tech industry, Venture Beat reported. The majority of qualified candidates are skipping further education and training to instead hop on board with innovative startups in Silicon Valley. This leaves the cybersecurity industry with virtually no unemployment and a concerning skills gap.

Competitive compensation and lots of choices:
As eSecurity Planet reported, due to the dire need for skilled workers, active job seekers vying for a shot in the cybersecurity engineering sector can be guaranteed lots of career options and a salary well above that of their peers in other IT industry roles

Though hands-on experience and IT security certifications applicable to cybersecurity are preferred, it is likely that organizations will begin to offer on-site training in an effort to fill quotas. However, it is also worth noting that because cybercrime tactics and threats are continuously changing, skill development will need to evolve on a per-need basis as well. As eSecurity Planet highlighted, skills guaranteed to be useful for aspiring cybersecurity engineers include:

  • Access/identity management
  • Application security development
  • Audit and compliance
  • Firewall/IDS/IPS skills
  • Analytics and intelligence
  • Intrusion detection
  • SIEM management
  • Advanced malware prevention
  • Incident handling and response
  • Cloud computing/virtualization

Those individuals who can meet the needs of these ventures companies that are struggling with a lack of qualified cybersecurity engineers can reap a highly competitive profit. Cybersecurity engineers are in high demand.

Enhancing education to fill the gap:
In March, leaders and cybersecurity experts from across the country gathered at the University of Florida to discuss the latest trends, needs and developments in the field, the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering reported. Moving forward, there was agreement that collaboration between industry, academia and government is essential to the future of the industry.

Understanding that they are losing top candidates to the tech industry, organizations across the cybersecurity sector are turning toward college and university programs, that are actively improving and offering relevant coursework, to develop and hire right-fit employees. Venture Beat was quick to caution, however, that universities are best guided to wait on revamping or creating cybersecurity master's and Ph.D. programs until they have a complete understanding of the industry needs.

The next few years will be indicative of the future of cybersecurity engineering and how the industry will react to the skills gap. One thing is for sure - there are more than enough job openings in the field.

The Trevi Group  |  www.TheTreviGroup.com

How Important is Social Media in the Hiring Process?

Remember when screening a candidate past the interview stage was limited to references and a credit, background or drug test? The growth of social media has introduced another dimension to the hiring process - that while on the surface appears positive, can present challenges in gaining a clear picture of a candidate - both socially and professionally. As social media is increasingly being leveraged to evaluate candidates, employers will need to determine what policies they will put in place to ensure consistency in the hiring process.

According to the 2018 Reputation Management Study conducted by MRINetwork, nearly half (48 percent) of candidates believe their social media presence is important or very important to potential employers. “They are aware that employers can now learn a lot about them prior to meeting with them, or even before contacting them, as they seek out candidates who have the skills and personalities that will be beneficial to their organizations,” says Patrick Convery, marketing manager for MRINetwork. “Consequently, many job seekers are putting more of their social media profiles on private, or even setting up separate professional profiles, so their information can’t be shared with the public.”

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While many employers casually review candidate social media profiles, the survey reveals that 18 percent are formalizing the process, and another 17 percent say they’re considering doing so in the future. But what are they looking for? Although they want to learn something about the candidate's social life or the choices they make - 39 percent of hiring managers say questionable content or behavior is the No. 1 thing they look for - they are also looking to see if the job resume is consistent with the information posted on social media by the candidate. “LinkedIn and Facebook users typically add their place of work, the college they graduated from, their hometown, and where they’re currently living,” observes Convery. “Prospective employers can check this information to be sure that the candidate’s resume is lining up correctly with their profile information.”

The Pitfalls of Overreliance on Social Media in Hiring Decisions

Not everyone updates their social media to their current situation and there are still some candidates who do not yet have a social media presence. As employers check out candidates, they may inadvertently ignore someone who is a perfect fit simply due to their lack of a social media presence or inconsistent updating of their information. “If social network users have their profiles set to private, as is becoming more common after recent breaches in security, this means they don’t want the world seeing what they post, which results in an absence of the kind of data employers are looking for to screen job applicants,” says Convery.

Another risk that employers face when using social media information in the hiring process is a legal one. Employers have to be aware of the types of information they are selecting to use in the hiring process; it can be problematic to assess candidates based on their race or gender since this information is protected legally and cannot be taken into account when hiring, according to the Chicago Tribune.

CAUTION - If you learn of a candidate’s protected characteristic(s) (including age, sex, race, color, religion, and national origin) by reviewing the candidate’s social media sites, you may not allow that to influence your willingness to recruit that candidate. Likewise, you should not share that information with your team.

Creating a Consistent Policy on the Use of Social Media in Hiring

If your company reviews social media profiles, it’s best to establish a policy around the use of candidates’ online information in the hiring process that clearly outlines when online searches should and should not be used. “By identifying positions for which searches are an important element of the process, you can develop a standard approach for how these searches will be conducted and how the information will be used,” says Anne Hayden, vice president of human resources for MRINetwork.

Hayden advises that you consider how to incorporate the following components into your policy:

  • Clarity on the rationale for the use of searches
  • Transparency for those using the policy and for candidates who are the subject of searches
  • Consistency in terms of how searches are conducted and who conducts them
  • Openness about what impact the findings will have on candidates

“When done correctly - and legally - looking at a candidate’s personal profile can be a great hiring tool, but you will still gather the best insights from the personal interview,” concludes Hayden. “Asking the right questions and encouraging an honest dialogue can help you get to know a candidate better than their latest post on Instagram and prevent you from passing up a great new employee.”

The Trevi Group  |  www.TheTreviGroup.com

MRINetwork Ranked Among Top Executive Recruiting Firms by Forbes.com in 2018

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For the second 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 30,000 recruiters and 4,500 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 14,500 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 in the top 10 out of 250 firms in the Executive Recruiting category. Click here to read the Forbes.com article and see the full rankings list.

Forbes reporter Vicky Valet noted in her article, that relationships are key to MRINetwork’s top ranking. She interviewed Nancy Halverson who commented, “The best recruiters have life-long relationships with candidates and customers. It’s not uncommon for a superstar recruiter to follow a candidate through their entire career … it’s not a transactional business.”

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

BLS Employment Situation Report for March 2018

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The pace of job growth in the U.S. slowed down somewhat during March 2018, by comparison to the month before. On a general level, indicators for this period continued to exemplify the sustained boom of the American economy. Nevertheless, some concerns exist among business leaders and economic experts regarding what the reduction in pace might signify, particularly for trade in the near future.

According to the latest edition of the Employment Situation Summary released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm businesses in the U.S. added 103,000 jobs. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, remained static at 4.1 percent for the sixth month in a row. This newest figure does represent a drop of some magnitude when placed next to the 326,000 positions (revised from a preliminary total of 313,000) that American companies created in February 2018. Bloomberg reported that it fell short of the median prediction issued by the financial news network's economists, who thought the various industries of the U.S. would add 185,000 jobs.

Industries most responsible for the gains that did occur in March included professional and business services, healthcare, manufacturing and mining. The former led the pack with 33,000 jobs added, continuing on a growth path that has spanned 2018 thus far. Stemming largely from increased employment in the creation of durable goods, manufacturing created 22,000 positions, in another month of recovery for a field on the rise since 2017 after a few years of sluggishness. Healthcare also added 22,000 jobs, and mining rounded up the notable sector-by-sector expansions in employment for March with 9,000 new positions on its payrolls.

Construction and retail trade both experienced drop-offs in their payrolls, with 15,000 and 4,000 jobs lost, respectively. However, because these declines followed up considerable surges in February - the former added 65,000 jobs that month, while the latter created 47,000 - they should bring little to no detriment to either sector in the long run.

Wages for March 2018 went up 2.7 percent on a year-over-year basis, while average hourly earnings rose 8 cents between February and March of this year, BLS figures found. This increase is seen as one of the most positive figures in the latest Employment Situation Summary, as previous months in early 2018 and late 2017 saw static or slow wage rises despite all of the robust additions to companies' labor forces. March also saw the year's first hike of interest rates by the Federal Reserve - one of the initial actions by newly appointed Fed Chair Jerome Powell.

The Washington Post reported that most concerns regarding the American economic picture center around the recent tariffs the White House imposed upon steel and aluminum imported to the U.S., leading to inventory shortfalls and rashes of abrupt materials purchases. The construction and manufacturing industries, which have historically used a considerable amount of foreign steel, could see impedance to their operations based on price fluctuations and other effects of trade disputes regarding these metals. In its latest Report on Business, the Institute for Supply Management cited respondents to its queries for elaboration on these matters:

"Accurate, long-term planning has become incredibly difficult, as distributors that historically held costs for at least 30 days are now, in some cases, committing to only seven days, as prices can change drastically in that time," the ISM report stated.

However, the big picture of the U.S. economy is likely a fairly bright one due to wage gains and increases in figures like the labor force participation rate, which rose to 62.9 percent in March 2018. This increase represents an 0.2 percent uptick from the previous month and another positive step on the path toward pre-recession labor participation figures of 66 percent or greater.

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

Video: How company benefits and incentives can drive employee engagement

Recruiting and retaining top talent has a lot to do with the benefits and incentives offered at your company. Today, it can be difficult to discern what it is that really attracts employees, and then what continues to motivate them once they've been hired. There needs to be a balance between over-the-top perks like unlimited vacation days and a good package of traditional benefits like a 401(k).

Click to watch the video.

No matter which direction your company chooses to take, benefits and incentives can help drive employee engagement. Here's how:

Encourage work - life balance

Citing data from the Corporate Executive Board, covering the majority of Fortune 500 companies, Inc. reported that workers who feel good about their work-life balance generally work 21 percent harder than their counterparts who don't feel fulfilled in this area. Research has shown that work-life balance can lower absenteeism and reduce stress among employees.

There are a number of incentives you can offer employees that help to encourage work-life balance and drive engagement and productivity, many of which won't cost you a dime. Consider allowing a work-from-home policy that grants employees one to two days per week or one Friday per month. As Inc. explained, job satisfaction and output increase among those working remotely. Similarly, encourage employees to choose their own office hours, within certain parameters. This provides the opportunity for staff to work out in the morning if they prefer, or get their kids to daycare on time.

“Once a novelty, flexible and remote work options have become the norm in many workplaces,” Anne Hayden, vice president of human resources for MRINetwork explained. “Data has demonstrated that providing the means to create a positive work-life balance can increase engagement as well as output.”

Additionally, opportunities and incentives that promote work-life balance have been found to improve retention, thus, reducing time and costs spent on recruiting and training. As a report from the Center for American Progress highlighted, turnover can amount to more than one fifth of the annual pay of your employee. Additional cost-friendly options include providing work flexibility or more time off. Other incentives that encourage work-life balance may be things like gym memberships, wellness days or time off to volunteer.

Establish incentive programs

Ultimately, one of the main things that employees want is for their hard work to be recognized. As the American Marketing Association explained, recognizing the productivity, innovation and time commitment of employees can help to drive engagement. Praising great results and success in the field should be always be done, as it can encourage employees to continue their hard work. Implementing monetary programs for a job well done on both an individual and team level can help increase motivation and productivity as well.

“When praise is organic and genuine, employees are much more likely to feel connected to the work that they do and thus, continue to remain engaged,” said Hayden. “Going beyond verbal recognition, other forms of compensation for hard work can help drive success.”

The AMA added that competitive compensation can keep your employees on their toes and increase performance. The combination of encouragement and monetary incentives can go a long way.

Leverage 'bonus' perks

Many companies see perks such as catered lunches on Wednesdays, office happy hours on Fridays and free fitness classes as replacements of more traditional benefits. If you're worried these incentives will break the bank, distract employees from their work or aren't necessary because of the well-rounded benefits package your company offers, think again. If you want to drive engagement and see lots of smiling faces in your office hallways on a regular basis, consider implementing low-cost 'bonus' perks.

These can include things like flexible hours, fresh fruit and snacks in the kitchen and even an in-office shower and towel service to promote work-life balance, The StartUp explained. Other tactics such as nap areas, game rooms and office bars can drive social connections among different teams.

"Employee perks can at first appear to be bait on the hook - purely there to catch the biggest fish," wrote Alex Holderness in The StartUp. "But the truth is that a well-designed employee perk package can help the employer day-to-day as well."

Happy employees, who actually have fun at the office, are more likely to feel connected to a company, its goals and its mission. Even small, inexpensive gestures like donuts in the middle of the week can go a long way in helping employees feel valued, which translates to engagement and productivity.

Moreover, driven employees who are passionate about the brand, can be great ambassadors who promote the company culture and your employer brand. An office filled with satisfied workers is apparent immediately, just as a space filled with unmotivated, unhappy employees is as well.

“By implementing strategies that promote work-life balance, offer incentives for hard work and improve the office perks offered, you can create an environment of highly engaged, motivated employees,” concludes Hayden. “Big changes start with small adjustments. Start improving your day-to-day workplace policies today.”

The Trevi Group  |  www.TheTreviGroup.com

Employment Summary for February 2018

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The rate of job growth in the U.S. has been robust over the past several months as 2017 transitioned into 2018. Yet the expansion seen during February 2018 defeated expectations by a considerable margin. According to the latest edition of the Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm businesses in America's private sector added 313,000 positions during the month. This figure was far ahead of estimates from a Bloomberg survey of prominent economists, who had predicted a gain of 205,000 jobs - strong, but still considerably less than the final tally.

Meanwhile, unemployment held steady at approximately 4.1 percent. February 2018 marks the fifth straight month during which U.S. unemployment has come in at that low of a figure. Additionally, an uptick in the rate of labor-force participation of 0.3 percent could indicate that not only is the growth of recent years strong, but it could also be sustainable for months to come.

For the most part, the industries responsible for the latest job gains were those that had boosted growth for much of the past year: healthcare, manufacturing, retail, construction and professional services. Construction led the pack among these in terms of positions created during February, with 61,000 new roles added, while retail trade saw 50,000 new jobs join its payrolls - a figure identical to that seen in the field of professional and business services during the same period. Manufacturing, for its part, added 31,000 jobs, and healthcare came in with 19,000 new roles for February 2018, a figure less than that of previous months but still indicative of that sector's overall strength as a job creator.

Two industries that had not seen significant positive traction but remained static for much of last year saw significant increases in their payrolls during the last month. Financial activities added 28,000 jobs, largely due to the subcategories of credit intermediation and insurance. Mining, which saw considerable declines in its labor force during 2016, has since added 69,000 jobs, with the latest 9,000 of these created during February 2018.

Average hourly wage gains experienced a slight slowdown in February after a strong January, increasing by only 4 cents as opposed to the previous month's growth of 7 cents. However, Ryan Moody, an economist at Moody's Analytics, explained in an interview with Bloomberg that stronger, more sustained wage growth would soon be possible. "All the ingredients are in place for wages to accelerate, but it's going to take time," Moody told the news provider. "There could still be some shadow slack. As the unemployment rate goes lower, wage pressures are going to build."

In sentiments that haven't changed over the past several months, Bloomberg reported that economists and business leaders expect the Federal Reserve to implement the first of at least three increases to federal benchmark interest rates during its meeting that begins March 20.

Finally, The New York Times noted that the strength of February's job gains could put a damper on the White House's plans to implement a variety of restrictions on foreign trade, most recently tariffs on steel and aluminum. Construction and manufacturing, both of which contributed significantly to the month's expanded job growth, depend on both of those materials to considerable degrees, sometimes in specialized varieties that are not available in the U.S.

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

Video: How Managers Can Best Motivate Top-Performers

Top-performing employees are a critical force at your company, capable of 400 percent greater productivity than the average worker, according to research published in Personnel Psychology. Beyond their personal output, top talent inspire and motivate other employees to do their best work.

Click to watch the video.

Despite their production and leadership capabilities, top performers need to be motivated too, and this is largely the responsibility of the manager. As the Harvard Business Review notes, top talent at an organization are often defined as such in part because they have the technical skills and interpersonal adeptness to do their managers' jobs. This in turn makes them more sensitive to areas where management falls short. “High-performing employees are also motivated by different types of recognition, incentives and management styles than other workers,” said Anne Hayden, vice president of human resources for MRINetwork. “As a result, supervisors need to make a constant, conscious effort to engage top-performing employees in the specific ways that appeal to them most.”

Hayden recommends four ways managers can increase motivation among top-performing talent:

1. Give regular feedback

Top performers are engaged in continuous learning, constantly looking for ways to sharpen their abilities, expand their skill sets and take on new responsibilities. If top talent have to wait around until their annual performance review to hear feedback, they're going to feel that their professional development is being stymied. Conversely, regular communication helps top-performing employees feel that their managers are invested in helping them succeed.

2. Practice career pathing

A major reason top performers leave their jobs is because they feel like there's no room for them to grow. However, helping them develop, and then follow a road map to where they want to be in the company can quell this frustration and unleash their motivation level: This is career pathing in a nutshell. By working together to help a top-performer advance, employees feel greater ownership over their careers and managers can align the individual's professional goals with the strategic goals of the company, thereby simultaneously boosting employee engagement levels and improving succession planning.

3. Encourage mentoring

Mentoring goes along with career pathing, as it is an effective way to develop top-performers for upper-level roles. A study by the American Society for Training & Development found that 71 percent of Fortune 500 companies use internal mentoring programs to train top performers with high potential. Mentors share valuable insights with mentees, not only on business knowledge, but also on important soft skills like how to effectively communicate with a range of stakeholders or efficiently manage teams. These relationships help top performers develop a more robust understanding of their company, its workforce and its industry. Mentorship motivates top-performers by demonstrating that the company is committed to their success.

4. Don't micromanage

Most employees don't want to be micromanaged, but top performers are especially sensitive to it as they consistently show that they not only excel in their job duties but also regularly go above and beyond what's expected of them. Instead of interfering with top talent's day-to-day work, take a step back and learn from them, advises Jeff Miller in a blog for HR services company Insperity. Top performers often have created novel workflows and unique processes that save time, increase output or improve performance. Smart managers are open to change and feel excited, not threatened by, ambitious employees with new ideas. They're genuinely curiously about how top performers work and are eager to have conversations with them about how to adopt their ideas on a larger scale. This recognition makes top performers feel appreciated and motivates them to continue innovating.

“Top-performing employees are vital to your company's success, and managers play a big role in influencing whether they'll want to stick around,” concluded Hayden. “With these tips, supervisors can help top talent flourish, instead of holding them back.”

The Trevi Group  |  www.TheTreviGroup.com