BLS Employment Summary for November 2017

U.S. employment gains exceeded expectations in November, with the country adding 228,000 total nonfarm positions.

Bloomberg economists had predicted job gains of 195,000.

The unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent in November, with 6.6 million people unemployed. Over the year, the jobless rate has decreased by 0.5 percentage point.


"These are really strong numbers, which is pretty exciting, since this is our first clean read after the volatility associated with the hurricanes," said Josh Wright, chief economist at software firm iCIMS, in an interview with The Washington Post.

The several consecutive months of larger-than-expected job gains and downward trending unemployment rate point to a strengthening economy.

Professional and business services added 46,000 jobs in November. Over the year, the industry has gained 548,000 new positions.

Manufacturing added 31,000 jobs, with largest employment increases in machinery and fabricated metal products.

Healthcare employment grew by 30,000 in November, with 25,000 of the new positions in ambulatory healthcare services. Healthcare has added an average of 24,000 jobs per month in 2017.

Construction saw an increase among specialty trade contractors, adding 23,000 over the month.

Employment in retail trade, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, and leisure and hospitality was little changed in November.

Wages did not increase as much as economists expected in November, with average hourly earnings for all private nonfarm employees increasing $0.05 in November to reach $26.55.

Over the year, earnings increased 2.5 percent, falling short of the anticipated 2.7 percent growth, Bloomberg reported.

However, most economists believe that wage growth will accelerate as the unemployment rate continues to drop, The New York Times explained.

The strong November jobs report makes it likely that the Federal Reserve will vote to raise interest rates next week.

"Not that it was a hurdle to raising rates next week, but the Fed will feel very comfortable with this kind of a jobs report," said Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies LLC, in an interview with Bloomberg.

The vote to raise rates would close out a strong year for the U.S. economy.

The Trevi Group  |

Video: Have you modernized your employee review practices?

Traditional business practices are being shaken up. Many companies are reviewing their long-held traditions in favor of more agile, responsive ways of managing workers. Some of these 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.

Click to watch the video.

One area experiencing a large transformation is performance reviews. For decades, the prevailing wisdom has been that a big 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 work, and managers are responding by making their review practices more flexible and engaging.

If your company hasn't updated its performance review practices, it runs the risk of losing top talent to companies that build feedback into their regular business functions from week to week. Also, you'll miss out on the valuable chance to identify and develop employees' professional skill sets.

According to a recent survey by the Institute for Corporate Productivity, 67 percent of the 244 companies surveyed said that they are rethinking their current performance management practices - and 59 percent of these companies are doing so because of employee feedback.

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

Instead of saving comments for the annual review, find ways to provide feedback and discuss priorities with employees on a regular basis. You could hold 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 them being successful workers, which in turn helps them be 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 learn of 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 employee and 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 team-building. 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 - and companies that update their review processes to match these needs are most likely to retain top talent.

The Trevi Group  |

Computer science skills in demand in fields beyond tech

Computer science knowledge has continued to prove necessary across industries. According to a new report from Burning Glass Technologies and Oracle Academy, 65 percent of sought-after skills in data analysis, programming and information technology, engineering and manufacturing, marketing and design are related to computer science.

Additionally, the skills are more important than education. Of jobs in the five target industries, applicants need a computer science degree for only 18 percent of positions. The study cited demand for hybrid roles that incorporate these skills but focus on other core competencies.

"Living wage jobs in the future will require some level of computer science knowledge," Alison Derbenwick Miller, Oracle Academy vice president, said in a press release. "This shows that computer science education is vital to future earnings, and an important equity issue."

This trend is apparent even among educational institutions that have begun to accommodate the demand for computer science proficiency. Boston University's The Daily Free Press noted job openings requiring such skills are available, and higher education organizations want to help fill the skills gap. Additionally, students know the value of this knowledge. For instance, one computer science course offered at BU filled within two hours of posting.

Design and marketing are among non-tech industries that value skills like coding.

Higher salaries available for computer science
Beyond a need for qualified individuals, earnings potential is high for those who bring computer science competency to a job. The Burning Glass and Oracle Academy data determined that 62 percent of skills that produce the highest pay fall under this umbrella.

With the availability of jobs, job seekers even have a few options to search for more competitive pay. For the 2015-16 school year, 107,000 individuals graduated with bachelor's, master's and Ph.D degrees for computer science, and 108,000 job openings were available to them, according to a New York Times analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics and National Center Education Statistics data. Of course, those with different degrees add to the competition, but the favorable ratio of related graduates to available positions can bode well for all applicants.

Acquiring one of these positions is worthwhile, with Burning Glass and Oracle finding those in career track jobs that require coding skills can earn an additional $20,000 compared to jobs that don't need this knowledge. Ran Canetti, a computer science professor at BU, said students are aware of the earnings potential, which is one aspect driving them to his classes.

The trend is expected to continue
BU faculty and staff have already forecast a need for more faculty to teach computer science, and other institutions are likely gearing up in the same manner. As the need for such skills in indirectly related jobs becomes more apparent, the courses will need to accommodate more students taking the classes as electives to expand their skills.

Miller said students in any major can benefit from gaining computer science knowledge. Luckily, they can invest their time and money to this education with good odds of finding a job in the hundreds of thousands available.

The Trevi Group  |

IT job growth to arise out of automation

With smart cars and other technologies replacing the need for human workers, some professionals may see the transition to more automation as threatening. While it's clear these innovations will create a shift, a report from the McKinsey Global Institute highlighted the ways in which the proliferation of automation will create jobs across a number of industries.

One of these sectors is information technology. The forecast for global job growth among the IT field as a result of automation is between 20 million and 50 million positions by 2030. That expected rise will come on the back of a 50 percent bump in technology spending as 2030 rolls around. The report did make clear, however, that while these tech jobs will likely be available, many professionals in the sector will face role adjustments to work into the predicted employment growth.

In particular, the report cited positions related to the development and deployment of automation technology as ones ripe for IT professionals. The roles will range in skill levels, including web developers, support specialists and software engineers. 

How IT employment could grow
Like the McKinsey data, a CIO article highlighted job transitions as part of the coming wave of automation. The same change occurred with the proliferation of cloud technology, and the key is to see how existing skills function in the new landscape.

Moreover, automation first aims to target mission-critical but mundane and tedious tasks. With support for these duties, IT professionals can better utilize their skills for more intensive and fulfilling tasks. Such responsibilities will ride on $1.7 trillion to $2 trillion in stimulus for IT by 2030, supporting consulting, outsourcing, hardware and software support, implementation, and internal IT, according to McKinsey.

"A few new technology-centered jobs could stem from the rise in automation."

A few new technology-centered jobs could stem from the rise in automation. For instance, Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work highlighted 21 positions automation could create, with eight relating to technology. These positions include master of edge computing, AI-assisted healthcare technician and data detective. Another cited role was bring your own IT facilitator, which would be instrumental in using automation to manage shadow IT.

Where the jobs will arise
IT facilitators for the proliferation of BYOD environments could have an easy time finding jobs locally, as McKinsey predicted services jobs will have high demand across the board at this level. Meanwhile, software and hardware positions will see growth in bigger countries. These nations include the U.S., Netherlands, India, China and Germany.

These countries could account for more than 50 percent of the IT job growth resulting from automation. Of the maximum 50 million employment opportunities, 19 million could appear in just China and India.

A common thread across locations and roles is the focus on professionals honing current skills and acquiring new ones. McKinsey and CIO noted individuals who examine their value propositions and look out for skills gaps can give themselves a head start on transitioning into a world of more automation.

The Trevi Group  |

BLS Employment Summary for October 2017

The U.S. added 261,000 jobs in October, with many of the new positions replacing those lost due to Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.


While Bloomberg economists estimated the country would gain 313,000 jobs last month, they anticipate that October’s numbers will mark a return to steady hiring increases over the next several months.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.1 percent in October, from 4.2 percent in September. Meanwhile, the underemployment rate dropped to 7.9 percent, which is its lowest level since December 2006, Bloomberg noted.

“There are obviously storm distortions in this report, but the decline in the unemployment rate reflects ongoing improvement in the labor market. November is going to clear a lot of this up,” said Michael Gapen, chief U.S. economist at Barclays Plc.

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls saw little change in October, declining by 1 cent to $26.53. The decrease follows a gain of 12 cents in September. Average hourly earnings have increased by 2.4 percent over the year.

The most significant change in employment industry-wise was the 89,000 jobs gained back in food services and drinking places in October. These positions replace some of the 98,000 jobs in this sector shed in September, which were largely lost due to the hurricanes.

Professional and business services gained 50,000 positions in October, while manufacturing added 24,000 jobs.

Healthcare employment grew by 22,000, with ambulatory health care services responsible for 16,000 of the new positions.

Industries that remained relatively unchanged over the month included construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities and government.

Bloomberg reported that as the U.S. seems to be nearing maximum employment, the Federal Reserve is likely to raise interest rates next month for the third time this year.

The Trevi Group  | 

Video: Finding Right-Fit Candidates through Social Media

It's no secret that employers research job candidates' social media profiles to help them make hiring decisions. In fact, social media presence has become vitally important in the hiring process. According to the MRINetwork 2017 Recruiter Sentiment Study, over 80 percent of employers and 90 percent of recruiters review social media profiles sometimes or all of the time for insight on candidates.

Click to watch the video.

With the advent of social media, companies have more information than ever on job candidates. Hiring managers and HR departments can put together a more comprehensive profile of candidates, beyond what might be seen on a resume or gleaned during interviews. In addition to information about experience and skills, they get a better glimpse into their lifestyle, values and cultural fit.

Vince Webb, vice president of marketing for MRINetwork, notes that social media also provides the opportunity to create a two-way exchange: not only can employers gain insight about candidates, but job seekers can also get a sense of whether the culture and mission of the company is compatible with their expectations. “Candidates are using social media to gain insights, too,” he says. “It’s a powerful communication tool for attracting and hiring top talent.”

Webb offers the following guidelines on what to look for when reviewing the social media presence of potential candidates:

  • Do you see evidence of thought leadership? Often candidates register with networks or groups devoted to particular business sectors that offer market intelligence, and provide a platform for discussing trends and interacting with like-minded professionals. Look at the kind of information they are sharing and their comments on other people’s posts to determine if they possess leadership qualities, or if they are influencers who may have a strong following.
  • How frequently are they engaged in social media? Low frequency, for example, may indicate lack of tech savvy, or the kind of person who prefers one-on-one relationships. A frequent poster may be someone who has a point of view on a variety of topics, is a social butterfly, or simply wants to share experiences with friends and family in the most efficient way. Well-populated profiles on professional sites like LinkedIn typically indicate that candidates are thinking about their careers and keeping abreast of industry trends. Assessing these habits and patterns can help you decide whether a candidate fits the parameters of your position. Their posts and updates can also help you evaluate their critical thinking and writing abilities, which for some positions are essential skills.
  • What special hobbies or interests do they pursue? Although this many not reveal much relevance to their professional abilities, it can give you an idea about other talents they possess, their commitment to helping others, or their involvement with their communities - all of which may be qualities of benefit to your organization.
  • Do any of their posts run counter to the guiding principles of your company? Social media gives you the ability to research candidates before making contact with them, which can help you find employees who are the best suited to your company’s culture and mission. If their posts reflect your values and your goals, you will likely want to delve further into their qualifications for your position.

Many employers, Webb warns, often inaccurately evaluate candidates’ online personas. “Don’t be too quick to dismiss them based solely on a questionable photo or status update without further investigation,” he says. ”Be very selective when using any information obtained from personal social media sites in making a judgment on a jobseeker’s suitability as an employee to ensure that it’s not getting in the way of securing top talent.”

Webb also cautions companies to be careful to manage the risk associated with violating data protection laws or other legislation when using personal social media in the recruitment process. “The best way of resolving concerns that arise as a result of social media is usually through established processes, such as interviewing and assessment,” he advises. “This avoids situations in which candidates feel information is unfairly applied during the recruitment process.”

The bottom line, says Webb is that social media can be helpful in evaluating candidates. “It should not replace or override personal contact, interviews and other established recruitment practices that employers use to assess candidates,” he concludes. “Excessive reliance on social media could lead to overlooking or deterring strong candidates to the detriment of the business, especially in today’s candidate-driven market.”

CAUTION - If you learn of a candidate’s protected characteristic(s) such as (age, sex, race, color, religion, national origin, etc.) 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 anyone involved in the hiring process.

The Trevi Group  |

Is the Midwest the next tech hub?

The Midwest is not known for being a tech hub. Not yet, anyway. While retail, finance, automotive and farming have deep roots in the Midwestern region, technology jobs are often associated with certain areas like Silicon Valley, New York City, Boston, Seattle and Austin. But companies are starting to look toward the Heartland, according to TechRepublic.

"It's true that none of the leading eight tech hubs are in the Midwest, and higher-paying tech jobs are increasingly clustered in those tech hubs," Indeed Hiring Lab Chief Economist Jed Kolko told the source. "Still, some Midwest markets — like Ann Arbor, Chicago, and Milwaukee — offer some of the cutting-edge jobs that you find in Silicon Valley. Others, like Dayton and Kansas City, are seeing more tech job openings."

Rust Belt reimagined
Companies like Duo Security, TD Ameritrade, Ford Motor Company, Walgreens, Expedia and JPMorgan Chase are just some of the many businesses hoping to bring tech workers to the Rust Belt region, creating new frontiers for old factory towns. Each needs help desk professionals, network engineers and cloud computing buffs as well as specialists who are well-versed in health care and finance. 

Unlike the more well-known tech hubs around the U.S., the Midwest offers something unique: A lower cost of living. Kolko wrote on Indeed's Occupation Spotlight blog that it should not come as a surprise that the most tech-heavy cities in America are also some of the most expensive places to live. However, many companies are looking to expand their workforce outside of the more economically stratified cities. CompTIA found that the highest rate of technology employment growth took place in San Antonio, Kansas City, MO., Memphis, and Detroit, according to its 2017 Cyberstates report. Its 2016 study showed that Utah, North Carolina, Michigan, Washington and Montana were states that saw the fastest-growing tech employment rates.

Follow the money
The technology sector grew by about 3 percent in 2016, with almost 7 million tech workers employed across the spectrum of U.S. jobs, according to CompTIA. That makes up an estimated 8 percent of the total U.S. economic activity, which accounts for over $1.3 trillion. On average, CompTIA found that tech workers made about $108,900 in 2016, which is more than double the national wage average. 

"Tech sector employment outpaces other notable segments of the economy, including construction, finance and insurance, transportation and warehousing, and arts, entertainment and recreation,"  Senior Vice President of Research and Market Intelligence Tim Herbert said in CompTIA's tech sector employment report. According to Herbert, 60 percent of job gains in 2016 happened within IT and custom software services. 

A tech worker in Cincinnati, St. Louis or Cleveland may take home more money each year than the same job in Silicon Valley could offer. Indeed echoed CompTIA's findings by average annual salary for all tech jobs listed on its site between August 2016 and July 2017 in the top 25 large-market tech areas, factoring average cost of living, and found that the salaries offered in San Francisco don't go as far as they seem.

"That $100,000 tech job will get you more bedrooms, avocado toasts, and climbing-gym memberships in central Texas than in coastal California," Kolko wrote on Indeed's blog.

While Illinois and Michigan were the only two Midwestern states to crack CompTIA's top 10 states for tech employment in 2016, the future of the Midwest looks bright given the continued tech sector growth.

The Trevi Group|

Fitting into digital transformation as an IT or engineering contractor

Working as a successful contractor in the world of IT and engineering means adapting to the dynamic digital transformation within these fields. Skills in digitization are a top priority on an employer's list of prospective candidate talents, which means that contractors must be nimble and confident in their ability to deliver in a rapidly changing environment.

"Digital transformation continues to be a driving force," said Tim Herbert, senior vice president of research and marketing at CompTIA in a press release addressing the continued growth of the tech sector in 2016. "Organizations of all sizes are embracing cloud-based technology solutions, expanding their mobile presence, fortifying cyber defenses and driving decision-making through advanced data analysis."

For IT and engineering contract candidates to differentiate themselves from the pack, they must be able to demonstrate the ability to seamlessly adapt to new digital systems and platforms, and be able to explain these changes to staff members who may only have a pedestrian knowledge of the tech world.

Here are three ways to determine where IT or engineering contractors fit into digital transformation:

1. Competence and communication are key
Companies are in need of capable contractors to remain competitive. Hiring managers are looking for candidates who can bridge the gaps between the staff's knowledge and new frontier of multiple digital platforms that they may not be familiar with. According to, successful contract candidates must be a step ahead of the trends and impending shifts within a variety of industries as well as strong communicators who are able to bring an entire company up to speed to reach its goals. 

2. Simplifying supply and demand
Businesses that hire a highly skilled contractor are opening the door to new educational exposure for their teams. For a job-seeking contractor, it's essential to remember that some fields have had an easier time digitizing than others. A report from Digitalist Magazine showed that certain industries like construction have been slow to digitize projects and suffered as a result. Issues and complications ranging from rounding up supplies and materials to coordinating project oversight create a litany of cost overruns. Having the most up-to-date delivery strategies from multiple suppliers means having the ability to streamline and simplify in-house project management.

3. Work smarter, not harder
Technology is rapidly closing the gap between the digital and physical world. From 3-D printers to virtual reality simulators, digital distribution and display methods are transitioning from ideas out of science fiction stories to essential elements of the modern business environment. Engineers and IT contractors will continue to be the building blocks of companies looking to compete in the future marketplace, according to reports from Digitalist Magazine. Virtual reality, cloud services, smartphones and artificial intelligence are all pushing the boundaries of possibility as well as customer demands and expectations. It is vital for contractors to immerse themselves in as much of the evolving information available if they want to be able to market themselves in the rapid growth of digital transformation.

The Trevi Group|

Employment Summary for September 2017

Employment Summary for
September 2017


U.S. nonfarm businesses lost 33,000 positions in September, according to the monthly employment report released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Over the past year, the country has added an average of 172,000 jobs per month.

This is the first time payrolls have registered a decline since 2010. The BLS attributed much of the decline to the impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. Economists had estimated job gains of 80,000 for September, Bloomberg reported.

"I don't think this is indicative of problems in the labor market - it's because of the hurricanes," said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group, in an interview with the source. "The economy is in decent shape, the labor market continues to improve and we'll bounce back to job growth in the final three months of 2017."

The unemployment rate dropped to 4.2 percent in September, falling 0.2 percentage points from August. Also, the number of unemployed persons decreased by 331,000 to settle at 6.8 million for September.

Average hourly wages for private nonfarm employees increased by 12 cents in September to reach $26.55. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 2.9 percent.

The Federal Reserve has indicated that it is looking for wage growth as a signal to raise interest rates, which, last month, it said it would increase one more time by the end of this year, according to Bloomberg. Economists expect the rate hike to come in December.

Food services and drinking places employment was most affected by the impacts of the hurricanes, shedding 105,000 jobs in September. Over the past year, the industry has gained 24,000 positions per month, on average.

Healthcare added 23,000 jobs. Ambulatory care gained 25,000 positions, though employment at nursing care facilities declined by 9,000.

Transportation and warehousing added 22,000 jobs in September, while financial services gained 10,000 positions. Professional and business services added 13,000 jobs. Insurance carriers and related activities added 11,000 jobs during the month, with much of that sector's employment gain due to hurricane recovery efforts, the BLS noted.

Manufacturing employment was essentially unchanged in September.

The Trevi Group|

Video: Preparedness for Impending Boomer Retirements

Nine years ago, the first of 78 million Baby Boomers turned 60, and 2008 was supposed to see a huge number of retirements. When the first Baby Boomers began to draw benefits, the Social Security Administration dubbed it the start of “America's silver tsunami,” but then the economy faltered, housing values plummeted, retirement portfolios shrank, and seniors who thought they had planned for financial security decided to postpone retirement for a few years. Now the economy is strong once again, candidates are in the driver’s seat, and statistics are coming in from a variety of industries saying that large numbers of their senior management will be retiring soon.

Click to watch the video.

For most employers, the first priority is still hiring for open positions and retaining high performers. They are aware of the challenges ahead of them, according to the MRINetwork 2017 Recruiter Sentiment Survey, with over 70 percent of recruiters and employers indicating that they are somewhat to extremely concerned about replacing Baby Boomers who are reaching retirement. While companies indicate concern, the vast majority have not proactively addressed it, indicating in the survey that they are largely unprepared to deal with a surge in retirements or a millennial-dominated workforce. Top areas of concern include feeling ill-equipped to develop programs to retain Baby Boomers, and lack of knowledge about how to accommodate the work-life balance demands of the younger generations.

“It is critical that companies begin to address retirements with more focus on succession planning and career pathing, advises Nancy Halverson, general manager, franchise operations for MRINetwork. “Instead of treating retirements as an afterthought,” she says, “their inevitability should be woven into recruitment and retention plans. Companies that craft a long-term comprehensive strategy now will not only survive the wave of baby boomer retirements, but will have the potential to ride its crest.”

Halverson suggests exploring the following questions to understand the immediacy of the baby boomer exit and to thoughtfully prepare for it:

  • What are your company’s demographics (age, gender, position, years in position)?
  • Does your succession plan identify people in your organization who are ready to assume leadership positions? Do you need to create new positions now in order to develop the bench strength you need in the years ahead?
  • What mechanisms and programs must be put in place to capture the key competencies and critical work knowledge of employees who will be retiring?
  • Are you ready to customize your current programs to provide what each group needs and wants, particularly in terms of career pathing? Your workforce will likely be comprised of both young workers and older workers, who have different learning needs.
  • Are you prepared to implement flexible work arrangements, such as working part-time or from home, that will both encourage Baby Boomers to continue working and satisfy Millennials’ need for better work-life balance?
  • Is your organization positioned to meet the needs of your over-65 customer segment when your Baby Boomers leave? What new skills and competencies will your younger employees need to service this segment?

“Most people don’t want to work forever,” concludes Halverson. “They may have decided to stay around for a few extra years to ride out the financial crisis, or perhaps even have come back as consultants, but planning on people to remain in the loop after retirement isn’t a succession plan. The only way to reduce the effect of lost leadership is through a strong succession planning program that identifies and fosters the next generation of leaders through mentoring, training and stretch assignments, so they are ready to take the helm when the time comes.”

The Trevi Group|


Tech consulting firm to hire 500 employees in Chicago

Technology and management consulting firm West Monroe Partners plans to hire 500 new employeesin Chicago, Crain's Chicago Business reported. 

The bulk of the hiring will be for technology-related positions, with the company intending to hire 350 to 400 new people in this area. The new hires represent a larger plan to bring on 1,000 new employees across the country, the source noted. 

The hiring in Chicago is set to take place over the next five years, with CEO Kevin McCarty noting that the company intends to recruit about 100 new employees each year. West Monroe Partners also plans to expand its office space in Chicago by 35,000 square feet in January. 

Some 43,000 people work in management consulting in Chicago's Cook County, a 17 percent increase from 2012. 

Professional and technical services employment across the U.S. continued to increase in August, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Employment Situation Summary released today. The sector added 22,000 jobs during the month, bringing the total number of jobs gained over the last year to 262,000. Some 8,000 jobs were added in computer systems design and related services. 

The Trevi Group |

JavaScript most important coding language for programmers to learn, according to ranking

A poll of 500 software developers by analytics firm CAST found that JavaScript and Java are the two most important languages for programmers to learn, TechRepublic reported. 

C++, Python and SQL were found to be the next-most-important computing languages. 

"Within the IT world, Java still accounts for the lion's share of development, and when you look at something like HTML5 development, that's all JavaScript," said Lev Lesokhin, EVP of strategy and analytics at CAST. 

However, COBOL, a programming language from 1959, did not appear in the ranking. Though dated, Lesokhin was suprised that it was not included. 

"If you want a high-paid job for life, you just need to learn COBOL. Something like half of the applications in financial services are still COBOL."

Another tech ranking that recently made headlines was LearnVest writer Drew Howard's list of the most in-demand jobs in the industry, based on reviews of activity on LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Indeed. 

Howard found that the No. 1 in-demand job was data scientist, which had an average base salary of $129,938. Second was dev ops engineer, with an average base salary of $123,165, and cloud engineer, with an average base salary of $118,878. 

The Trevi Group  |

BLS Employment Situation Report: August 2017


The August Employment Situation Summary released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed a slowdown from 209,000 jobs added during July, to 156,000 nonfarm payroll positions created. According to The Washington Post, August's number notably undercut federal economists' expectation that about 200,000 jobs would be added to employers' payrolls. However, some private-sector analysts, like Chief Economist Jed Kolko, noted that this reduction in growth may be somewhat deceptive.

"Growth was slower in August, but that's because there were fewer gains in growing industries, not because we're seeing more losses in shrinking industries," Kolko told the Post in an interview. "We're actually at a point of unusual stability."

Additionally, although the unemployment rate rose to 4.4 percent from July's figure of 4.3 percent, the latter is a 16-year low, and because the Post reported that the uptick is considered small enough to remain within a reasonable margin of error, it is unlikely to worry public- and private-sector economists. CNBC noted that within a year, unemployment in the U.S. could easily fall below 4 percent.

On a sector-by-sector basis, manufacturing, construction, and professional and technical services saw the largest gains in August, with 36,000, 28,000 and 22,000 jobs added, respectively. The jumps in manufacturing and construction employment are particularly notable: Manufacturing grew by 155,000 roles since an all-time low employment total in November 2016. Meanwhile, construction remained relatively unchanged for the last five months, but received a notable boost from residential specialty contractors, whose businesses accounted for 12,000 of all positions added within the industry.

Healthcare employment did not grow by as much as it did in July - with more than 20,000 jobs added in August as opposed to July's 30,000-plus positions created. Nevertheless, it remains one of the most fastest-growing industries in the U.S., with 328,000 jobs created thus far in all of 2017.

Other industries including food services and drinking places, wholesale, trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities and government changed very little over the month.

Some metrics noted in the BLS's August report bear with them more uncertainty than the individual industry gains and essentially unchanged unemployment rate noted above. Average wages grew by 3 cents in the past month, a drop from the 9 cents seen in July. Also, the labor force participation rate for August 2017 held steady with July's 62.9 percent, a total that analysts generally view as sub-par if not necessarily dangerous.

The New York Times noted that economists also believe the Federal Reserve is likely to raise interest rates on federal loans before the year ends, likely in December. Though the Fed will meet in September, a rate hike isn't expected then. Wall Street traders, meanwhile, have reduced their own expectations of a rate increase from 50 percent to 30 percent. However, this does not necessarily indicate a negative perspective, as Torsten Slok, chief international economist at Deutsche Bank, pointed out.

"There's no sign of inflation, which keeps the Federal Reserve on hold in terms of interest rate hikes," Slok said to the Times, "and it suggests stocks should keep doing well."

The Trevi Group  | 

Video: Employer attitudes on traditional degrees vs. online degrees

The working world has changed: No longer must job candidates have traditional four-year degrees to be considered for professional positions. Not only has online education become more popular, it has also become more sophisticated, with virtual learning experts developing immersive, dynamic online courses that are as valuable and informative as their on-campus counterparts.

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This shift has caused recruiters and hiring managers to take a new look at how they evaluate a job candidate's education and experience. While several years ago, an online degree may have been considered inferior to a traditional degree, that sentiment has significantly changed.

The MRINetwork 2017 Recruiter Sentiment Study found that more than 50 percent of recruiters and almost half of employers (43 percent) have no preference for candidates based on traditional versus alternative degrees. Another 13 percent of employers even prefer candidates with alternative degrees.

“To adapt to this changing landscape, employers should adjust their recruitment and interview processes to reflect the growing prevalence of online degrees,” says Sherry Engel, vice president of learning and talent development for MRINetwork. “This will ensure that they're not overlooking top talent for the positions they wish to fill.”

Engel recommends three best practices for what employers should consider when presented with a candidate who has an online degree:

1. Look for accreditation

With the sophistication of today's virtual learning software and models, online degrees can be just as prestigious as those earned from traditional universities. The online program might be offered by a brick-and-mortar institution, such as the University of Cincinnati or Harvard University, or it may come from an online-only institution. Either way, if the program is accredited, that’s a strong sign that it’s a high-quality, respected program. U.S. News & World Report recommends that employers look to see if the school is accredited by the Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. There are also smaller state or regional accreditations that can also attests to a program's substance.

To further evaluate a candidate’s education, ask what their program was like, why they enrolled in it and if it enriched their learning, taught valuable skills and prepared for their desired career.

2. Evaluate experience

Clearly, the degree itself is not the sole determining factor of whether a person has the skills and perspectives necessary for the job - experience plays a key part as well. In fact, in a survey of 50,000 employers conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education, experience outweighed academic credentials among all industries, particularly in the science/technology, services/retail, and media/communications segments. Internships and employment during college rose to the top of the list as the most heavily weighted attributes considered by employers.

Employers also recognize that earning an online degree is not easy, especially when many who chose this form of education are juggling jobs or family obligations at the same time. Undoubtedly this experience has helped them gain technology skills, discipline and time management abilities that are applicable in nearly every profession. Use interviews to not only ask candidates about their work, volunteer and travel experiences, but also to inquire how the e-learning experience has enabled them to effectively manage a diverse array of tasks.

3. Focus on cultural fit

In addition to degrees and experience, cultural fit has become increasingly important in determining whether a person would be well-suited for a job. During the interview process, employers should try to get a sense of whether the candidate would mesh well with the mission, values and social climate of the company. For example, a candidate who strongly prefers to work alone with little oversight may not function well in a company where collaboration is prioritized. Asking behavior-based questions such as "What do you believe is the ideal work-life balance?" and "How do you deal with stressful situations at work?" can help you get a sense of a candidate's cultural fit.

“While the negative perception of alternative degrees has not been completely eradicated, online degrees no longer have the stigma that they once had among employers and recruiters,” concludes Engel. “This is encouraging because it means companies are rethinking how they hire, to ensure they're bringing on the best talent for each role.”

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BLS Employment Situation Report: July 2017

The July Employment Situation Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed a 0.1 percent decline in the U.S.'s unemployment rate - to 4.3 percent - and a gain of 209,000 jobs in total nonfarm payroll employment. According to Markets Insider, projections for the unemployment rate's small decline were spot-on, while economists' estimate of jobs that would be added in July - about 183,000 - missed the mark. Total jobs added suffered slightly compared to June, which saw 220,000 jobs added.

Some industries that saw an uptick in June, such as healthcare, experienced further improvement, while other sectors, such as food and professional and financial services, showed new increases that hadn't been seen the previous month. Also, the number of Americans classifiable as "long-term unemployed" remained static at around 1.8 million as it totaled the previous month, but that trend has seen gradual reduction for most of the year, per previous data releases by the BLS.

Both food service and professional and business services saw large job gains - of 53,000 and 49,000, respectively. Employment within the healthcare sector increased by 39,000, slightly more than in June, and notably outpacing the 2017 average of 24,000 new jobs in the field per month.

Mining, meanwhile, saw minor growth of only 1,000 jobs added, and several sectors, including construction, manufacturing, information, transportation, retail, financial services and government, saw no notable movement in either direction.

As noted in The New York Times, many economists consider a one-two punch of strong wage growth and a high rate of labor participation to be among the most reliable indicators of a strong economy. The participation rate earned significant attention in 2016 due to its decline, hitting lows not seen in the past several decades and fueling perception of economic downturn in spite of a fairly low unemployment rate - around 4.7 percent for much of last year. Any significant increase in this metric would thus engender increased confidence in the overall economy. The labor participation rate remained steadfast at 62.9 percent for the month - where it has remained for the greater part of 2017.

Average hourly earnings for all nonfarm employees rose 0.3 percent in July, slightly above the 0.2 percent wage growth experienced in June. Although not as high as many financial leaders might like, news of this growth and the generally strong jobs report caused increases in both stock futures and Treasury yields, according to CNBC.

Probability of an increase in Federal Reserve interest rates also strengthened, rising to 45 percent from the 41 percent noted as recently as Aug. 3, 2017. Overall, while the figures in the July BLS labor report did not show uniform improvements, its findings nonetheless constitute fairly positive news.

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As a member of MRINetwork, The Trevi Group is proud to have been ranked by Forbes as one of "America's Best Executive Search Firms" in 2017. Click here  to read what our top ten national ranking means for you.

As a member of MRINetwork, The Trevi Group is proud to have been ranked by Forbes as one of "America's Best Executive Search Firms" in 2017. Click here  to read what our top ten national ranking means for you.

Video: Working From Home - How Important Is It?

Recently, some large companies have curtailed the ability of their employees to work from home, now asking staff to work in corporate offices. These changes are focused on driving increased collaboration, creativity, mentoring and innovation, but may alienating top talent in the executive, managerial and professional labor market - a sector that has been candidate-driven and challenged by talent shortages for the last few years.

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This move comes at a time when many candidates express interest in working from home during the interview process. According to the MRINetwork 2017 Recruiter Sentiment Study, 68 percent of recruiters and 53 percent of employers state candidates ask for work from home options somewhat often to very often. Over half of candidates indicate that having a work from home option is somewhat to extremely important as they consider a new job.

“The U.S. unemployment rate is at a 16-year low, so failing to provide work from home options can put companies at a disadvantage in terms of attracting candidates,” observes Nancy Halverson, general manager, franchise operations for MRINetwork. “Technology has made communication, collaboration, security and other aspects of managing remote employee easier, allowing companies to implement this strategy as a way to attract and retain top talent.”

Halverson notes that work from home arrangements offer a number of significant advantages. “You can employ specialized people who live outside your geographic region, for example, and stay operational 24/7 with remote staff spread across different time zones,” she says. “You are also likely to maintain a more productive workforce and achieve higher long-term retention rates.”

The key to implementing a successful work from home program, Halverson advises, is the formation of a well-thought-out plan. “This necessitates drawing up formal guidelines and finding the right technological tools, as well as hiring the right people for the job of working remotely,” she says. “Once in place, the program requires oversight and tweaking to make it’s sustainable and successful.”

Halverson offers some useful guidelines for managing telecommuters on a day-to-day basis:

Set the right tone. Working from home has become more acceptable, and even desirable, to employers, so it should no longer be viewed as a reward or a privilege. Instead, you should treat it as a natural option for working. Set the expectation that remote working days are the same as in-office working days. Agree on goals and deadlines for particular tasks. Keep a close eye on how well the targets are being met and give feedback promptly and sensitively if things go wrong.

Determine metrics to measure progress. Monitoring and assessing the performance of people who work at home is perhaps the most significant managerial challenge. It can be helpful to measure their effectiveness in terms of their output rather than the hours they work to ensure that targets and deadlines are being met. You can set firm deliverables for work-from-home days (tangible pieces of work you can see have been completed), for example, or use time-tracking software.

Don’t forget about remote workers. Don’t just shoot off emails requesting updates on projects. Make informal calls to ask how things are going, allowing employees to express concerns and to feel appreciated and acknowledged. Take advantage of instant messaging and make sure that face-to-face meetings occur when possible or when needed. For times when it’s not possible to meet in person, video conferencing or Skype are great ways to provide a face-to face-element to brainstorming sessions or team meetings. These types of capabilities can make all the difference in helping remote employees see their co-workers occasionally, so that they feel connected and part of a community.

To further the feeling of community, treat remote workers the same as you do those in the office.  If it’s ugly sweater day during the holidays, encourage your remote person to do the same and send a picture or leverage that video technology again. If you let parents scoot out early to enjoy Halloween festivities with their little ones, allow the same privileges to remote workers.

Pay attention to warning signs. If a remote worker is missing deadlines or being asked to redo work, there could be a communication problem. Meet with the worker to discuss what communication channels could be used to correct the situation or if working from home is not the best option for the individual. Keep in mind that it doesn’t always work out for everyone.

Halverson believes that one of the biggest concerns of having virtual teams is that employees may feel their contributions aren't noticed or valued. "You don't want team members to feel as though they're just sending their work out into a vacuum," she cautions. "As a leader, you have to create a sense of involvement and inclusion so that your people don’t feel invisible.”

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Healthcare technology company to create more than 800 jobs in Palm Beach County

Healthcare technology company Modernizing Medicine will create more than 800 new jobs in Palm Beach County, Florida, by 2022, local station WPTV reported. 

The expansion will mark the largest jobs project in the county since 2009. Modernizing Medicine will receive a $6 million incentive package from the state if it adds 838 jobs in the next five years.

"We are extremely excited to expand our presence and create more jobs across a wide range of fields in South Florida," said CEO Dan Cane. 

The company has more than 550 employees currently, with 400 of them based in Boca Raton, the source noted. 

According to the Miami Herald, Modernizing Medicine produces more than $100 million in revenues each year and is one of the most rapidly growing tech companies in southern Florida. 

"There are not many companies growing as fast as Modernizing Medicine - in the world," said Gov. Rick Scott. 

The new jobs will largely be software development roles and will have an average annual salary of $55,000. 

The company is also expanding its headquarters, leasing space in the building that formerly served as the home of IBM in addition to its current main office at the Florida Atlantic University Research Park. 

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Silicon Valley impacts widespread job growth

A new report from CBRE shows that Silicon Valley is fueling job growth far beyond its borders. 

The Scoring Tech Talent Report found that many cities located far from California have seen large increases in their tech employment, Venture Beat detailed. 

Madison, Wisconsin, had the largest increase in "tech talent momentum" as determined by the report, and saw employment in the industry grow by 30.2 percent between 2015 and 2016. Madison was followed by Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Salt Lake City, Utah; Miami, Florida; and Kansas City, Missouri. 

"What we're seeing occurring now is the impact and influence that Bay Area tech companies are having in markets all across the country," said author of the report and Director of Research and Analysis at CBRE Colin Yasukochi in a statement. "Bay Area-based tech companies are opening offices and creating jobs in strategic markets like Pittsburgh and Detroit for example, as they work in partnership with universities and automotive companies on integrating their technologies into self-driving cars."

Rural communities may stand to benefit from the employment and economic impacts of Silicon Valley with the construction of a new rail line between Silicon Valley and San Jose, California, Mercury News reported. 

The train would be the first high-speed rail line in the U.S., and is slated to be completed in 2025. 

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Employment Summary for June 2017

The June Employment Situation released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the U.S. economy added 222,000 jobs. This far exceeded analysts’ expectations of just over 170,000 jobs. The current unemployment rate is 4.4 percent.

Healthcare added 37,000 jobs, with 25,000 of these roles increasing in ambulatory healthcare services, and 12,000 in hospitals. Despite continued job growth, the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that the average number of monthly jobs added in healthcare in 2017 is 24,000 vs. an average of 32,000 jobs per month in 2016.

Professional and business services continued its growth trend, adding 35,000 jobs in June. Food services and drinking places also saw continued growth, adding 29,000 jobs throughout the month.

Employment in financial activities rose by 17,000 positions.

Industries such as construction, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, information and government were relatively unchanged throughout the month.

The New York Times reported that June continued building on the growth of previous months. The average number of jobs added to the economy from April to June was 194,000. For 2017, the average monthly job growth is at 180,000, a slight decline from the average 2016 monthly growth of 187,000 jobs.

The source also noted that analysts anticipate the unemployment rate will continue to stay down, even when taking a closer look at the number of discouraged workers and “underemployed” workers, or those who are working part-time but would prefer full-time roles. In June, the unemployment rate that accounted for these workers was at 8.6 percent, a slight uptick from the previous month. Yet, this number is also a full point lower than it was at this time last year.

In the midst of this good news, analysts continue to watch the slow wage growth.

“The wage numbers are certainly weaker than expected, so it keeps alive that whole debate about the relationship between slack and inflation and how far the Federal Reserve should allow the unemployment rate to fall,” Jim O’Sullivan, the chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics, told the Times.

Despite these concerns, the hourly wage increased by 2.5 percent from the same time one year ago. The current hourly wage is $26.25 for private non-farm payroll.

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The Trevi Group, as part of MRINetwork, is Ranked Among Top Executive Recruiting Firms by, a leading source of reliable news and analysis, recently published its list of the best executive recruiting firms in the U.S. Thousands of recruiters, candidates who have worked with recruiters, and HR managers recommended the recruiting firms they perceive to be the best. The Trevi Group is part of MRINetwork, one of the largest search and recruitment organizations in the world, ranked among the top ten of this prestigious group.  

As an affiliate of MRINetwork, we know firsthand what it takes to earn that ranking. There are no simple formulas. It takes focused research, systematic search, determination and hard work. We take the time to learn your business, and we approach each assignment in partnership with you. We succeed because we are innovative, caring, tenacious and discreet.

It just makes sense to use a recruitment firm; when you need a proven-performer with a skill set that’s hard to find; when you need multiple people at once; when you’re backlogged and need people right now; or when you need multiple people for a short-term project. Recruiters who specialize in your industry build relationships with you to understand your requirements and work quickly when you are most in need. They have the connections and talent pipelines to fill hard-to-find skill sets, and they know how to present your opportunity in a way that motivates candidates to join your team.

We’re proud of our place in the Forbes’ rankings, and you can be confident that you’ll be working with one of the best recruiting firms in the U.S.

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