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

Video: The benefit of unrehearsed answers and how to get them in an interview

By the time a candidate is brought in for an interview, initial screening through a resume and frequently a phone interview, have already warranted them a good match for your company - on paper that is. The objective of bringing the applicant into the office for an interview, is to get a clearer picture of their personality, work ethic and values. To do so, you'll need to elicit open, honest answers from the candidate.

Click to watch the video.

Any candidate that makes it to the in-person interview stage is capable of doing their research, preparing for questions and prepping answers they believe the employer wants to hear. While this demonstrates commitment of time and consideration prior to the interview, you also want to ensure that the potential hire can think on their feet.

As Nancy Halverson, general manager of franchise operations for MRINetwork explained, the best way to draw unrehearsed answers is to ask unanticipated questions. “A few standard questions may be necessary to equal the playing field among candidates,” said Halverson. “However, asking targeted and unexpected questions during an interview can produce genuine, natural responses that are more indicative of the job seeker’s true character.”

Halverson recommends considering the following unanticipated questions to find top talent who are the best cultural fits for you and your company:

1. What were you doing on your very best day at work?

As Fast Company reported, Lori Goler, head of people at Facebook asks most candidates this question who interview with the social media giant. She explained that it’s a question that reveals a candidate’s strengths and talents, which can then be compared against the company’s needs.

Required to think critically and dig deep, interviewees will likely land on a day when they were the last one in the office, solving a long-existing problem or making a crucial breakthrough on a project. These snapshots into their past work experience can provide insight on how they will contribute to your company’s bottom line and succeed in their career. Keep in mind however, that even non-monumental examples can be indicative of solid, consistent work ethic.  

2. What was the most interesting encounter you’ve had in the past few months?

This unexpected interview question serves two purposes. First, you’ll discover how the candidate responds and reflects on an experience that stood out to them. Was it an inspiring conversation with a homeless man? Or was it a tech discovery that unlocked a helpful shortcut? The encounter they choose, as well as their response, may demonstrate innovation, problem-solving or any other number of skills important to the job in question.

Secondly, the answer to this question will draw out creativity in top recruits. Important attributes for any successful employee, are creative thinking and the ability to ask questions, as CEO of the American Heart Association Nancy Brown told Fortune. Engaging in conversation and analysis is what she considers the “catalyst” to assessing all that might be possible.

3. What did you do on the day after Hurricane Irma or other major event?

Jodi Kantor, New York Times correspondent noted in Quora, that what you truly want out of any interview is the real-life experience of a person. When candidates can respond using true experiences they have been through, you will get the most telling and illustrative answers. A response to a natural disaster is telling yet not personally invasive, such as asking how the candidate spent the day after the 2016 election.

This targeted, straight forward question will elicit some of the most candid responses. As Kantor explained, hypothetical questions that have traditionally been common in interviews will not provide the answers you are looking for. Asking the candidate to describe their reaction to a major national or international event goes further than traditional “what if” questions.

“Again, asking the unexpected questions can help paint a full picture of your candidate,” concludes Halverson. “From the way they think, react and respond, an answer to this kind of question conveys true character through spontaneity.”

The Trevi Group  |   www.TheTreviGroup.com 

Software developer ranks as No. 1 job for 2018

For the first time in three years, a role in healthcare did not take the No. 1 spot in the annual best jobs report complied by U.S. News & World Report.

Instead, the acclaim went to the technology industry. Drawing on data for pay, career potential, work-life balance and additional factors that contribute to a good job, the source ranked software developer as the overall top job for 2018. In addition to gaining recognition as the best job across all industries, software developer also earned the top spot among the publication's best technology jobs, best STEM jobs and 100 best jobs lists.

Increased demand for the future
Software developers are the masterminds behind nearly every piece of technology, app and program we rely on each and every day. As U.S. News & World Report explained, in addition to their mastery of coding, individuals in this field must also possess skills in creativity, analytics and problem-solving.

"Through 2026, 253,400 software developer positions will open."

"Technology is the backbone of many of our jobs across the board this year," said Kim Castro, executive editor at U.S. News & World Report. "Nearly every type of company is looking for people who can analyze and interpret data to solve problems. This technological boom is creating new opportunities for statisticians, engineers and software developers - these workers are developing the algorithms that are rapidly changing the global job market."

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that in 2016, software developers were earning an annual average of $102,280. The outlook for anticipated growth in the sector through 2026 is 24 percent, a demand directly correlated to the growing need for computer software. As a result, 253,400 software developer positions are projected to be created over the course of the next eight years, noted USN.

The spread of software developers
As Castro emphasized above, the job market is in fact evolving as a result of software developers, according to the Tech Times. Nearly every industry across the board enlists the help of technology in one capacity or another. While software developers are right up there in demand with IT managers and information security analysts at nearly all leading tech companies including Tesla, Apple and Google, it doesn't stop there.

One such company making moves across industries is BlackBerry Ltd. With the continued rise of advanced software and technology in vehicles also comes the increased risk of hackers breaking into driving systems as well. As a result, BlackBerry is moving into the cyber security and auto industries with a program called Jarvis, reported TechRepublic. The cloud-based system can automatically scan through code to detect any faults or weakness that could impact car or driver.

As more systems like Jarvis come to fruition, the need for software developers will only increase. In fact, though it aims to tackle strictly the auto industry first, Jarvis could move into more sectors such as aerospace, defense and healthcare over time, BlackBerry CEO John Chen told the source. 

The Trevi Group  |  www.TheTreviGroup.com

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BLS Employment Situation Report for December 2017

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For much of 2017, the expansion of job growth throughout the U.S. trended steadily upward. There were only a few notable instances of slowdown, such as the hurricanes that hit Florida, southeast Texas and the Gulf Coast area in late summer. Per the latest numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the year ended with jobs gained as well, albeit at a more modest pace: 148,000 total nonfarm jobs were added in the month of December. The employment rate, meanwhile, remained at 4.1 percent during the same period, holding fast to the level it initially dropped to in October.

CNBC noted that the December figure for employment creation did fall short of numerous projections, and represented a drop of more than 100,000 jobs from November 2017, during which revised BLS numbers state that the economy added 252,000 jobs. These economists and other experts had expected a gain of about 190,000 new positions. However, the relative shortage of workers available to fill jobs - as evidenced by static 4.1 percent unemployment, and a similarly steady labor force participation rate of 62.7 percent - began to take its toll.

The industries driving the job gains that were seen in December 2017 were in line with those that fueled employment growth for much of the year. Healthcare saw the largest single sector-wide expansion, with 31,000 positions created, though construction was not far behind at 30,000 jobs added. Manufacturing, as well as food and drink services, also saw statistically significant job creation, with both of these fields adding 25,000 new roles to their nationwide payrolls. Professional and business services saw little change, adding 19,000 jobs over the month.

Most of the other sectors tracked by the BLS did not see any noteworthy growth or contraction. Retail trade proved to be the exception, with a decline of 20,000 positions. This may appear surprising, given that MasterCard recently announced a record-setting 4.9 percent increase in holiday sales across the U.S. Yet that drop was in line with 2017's trend for the industry, as it lost 67,000 jobs over the course of the year, a reversal from the 203,000 retail positions added in 2016. David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide, told The Washington Post that the continued rise of e-commerce may have helped that decline.

"That's a notoriously volatile number around the holiday season, but it also reflects in part that increasing numbers of sales are coming from e-commerce and not brick-and-mortar stores," Berson said, according to the news provider. "That's part of a longer-term decline in that sector."

Yahoo Finance noted that overall 2017 job growth makes the lack of notable expansion in American employees' wage rates throughout the year puzzling to a significant number of economists.

Hourly earnings rose 0.3 percent in December and 2.5 percent on a year-over-year basis, in line with predictions. However, wages are not accelerating to a degree experts believe is fully commensurate with the upticks in employment seen throughout the U.S. economy during the last several years. According to Yahoo, the slow pace of earnings growth makes it unlikely, thus far, that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in 2018 beyond its three previously scheduled rate hikes.

All told, despite December numbers falling below expectations, 2017 can accurately be considered a good year for American jobs, which will brighten employers' expectations as 2018 begins.

The Trevi Group  |  www.TheTreviGroup.com 

Video: Employment Trends to Watch and Embrace in 2018

To stay competitive in today’s ever-changing business environment, C-level executives agree that finding and retaining the right talent is essential. But how to do that effectively remains a challenge. According to a joint research study by Dow Jones and the HR Certification Institute, the area of talent strategy and engagement is a top concern. Surveyed C-suite executives ranked it among the top five items on the corporate agenda, yet only 59 percent consider their companies to be effective at attracting and retaining talent. “New emerging trends as well as trends that have been identified over the past several years indicate that more organizations are making talent management a top priority for 2018,” says Nancy Halverson, general manager of franchise operations for MRINetwork. “We’ve identified several significant trends that are already having an impact, or that are poised to become increasingly relevant.”

Click to watch the video.

Gig economy

As the job landscape changes, more companies are creating blended workforces that incorporate contract or part-time employees into the traditional nine-to-five arrangement. According to a report by The McKinsey Global Institute, about 20 percent of the working-age population is engaged in some form of independent work, most by choice. Online and human cloud platforms have additionally expanded the potential of the gig economy, with gig workers expected to grow from about 4 million today to 7.7 million by 2020, according to a recent study conducted by Intuit and Emergent Research. “While technology is evolving the gig economy, traditional staffing firms will continue to provide value especially for companies in candidate-driven industries that need more access to highly-skilled contingent talent,” observes Brett Felmey, director of contract staffing sales for MRINetwork. “Partnering with firms that have relationships with top candidates, and expertise as a single source solution provider can provide employers with the competitive edge required to recruit the top performers in their markets, whether on a permanent or contract basis.”

Predictive analytics

As more technology becomes available, companies are using predictive analytics to determine how candidates will perform. Google, for example, has been using analytics to gain insights into the impact of every interview and source of hire since 2015, according to Deloitte’s 2015 Human Capital Trends Report. Many in the human resources arena predict that the rising use of predictive analytics will be the biggest recruiting trend to drive productivity and profitability in 2018. By collecting early performance data on new hires, and matching it against assessments, a feedback loop is created that automatically updates and continually refines the profile of a successful employee.

Blind hiring

Bias in the workforce became a big issue in 2017. To minimize any controversy, companies are being encouraged to make hiring a blind process. In standard screening and interviewing, unconscious bias easily becomes part of the equation by including data that gives away key parts of a candidate’s background: gender, age, race, even alma mater. By stripping away any information that may reveal demographic data, the first wave of screening can be done based purely on abilities and achievements. “This allows for a more diverse workforce built on merit,” says Halverson, “but the problem is trying to achieve this with the proliferation of social media. Using a third-party recruiter is usually necessary to ensure a truly blind process.”

Gamification

Gamification, a technique for turning engagement into a competitive game, is beginning to be used as a candidate screener. Tools such as ConnectCubed claim that games add to the attractiveness of the application process while delivering actionable insights into candidates’ fit for the role. Although not yet in widespread use for recruitment, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), many companies are finding that virtual games, which integrate points, badges, competition and role-playing, can be used to effectively attract and assess candidates, particularly Millennials raised on Wii and Xbox. The results can be used by recruiters to identify the most promising candidates in their pipeline as under-the-hood algorithms track critical analytics while candidates play the games. “For candidates, gamification can take the chore out of the application process and add a bit of competitive fun while providing a measurable demonstration of their strengths to potential employers.  Hiring managers gain access to valuable, actionable data to predict candidate fit and future performance,” says Reagan Johnson, director of technology operations for MRINetwork.  “The service a recruiter brings to organizations is to make sense of the data, using their experience and practiced intuition to make meaningful evaluations.  This saves hiring managers significant amounts of time and helps them identify better candidates.”

Preparing Employees for Future Change

Evolving technology is responsible for both the disappearance of many jobs across a wide range of industries and the creation of other jobs where skilled labor is needed; for example, when robots or automation techniques are introduced, companies still need technical talent to program, maintain and repair these robots. “In 2018, companies must think ahead to how they will do business in the future and determine the best ways to leverage their resources (e.g., people, systems, tools) to meet the future needs of their operations,” advises Marquis Parker, vice president of business services for MRINetwork. “A key part of this will be to identify people who are willing to embrace different aspects of jobs, including management, problem solving, troubleshooting, and other areas that require a human element, and determining how they can be deployed to align with a company’s growth strategies. Depending on the industry, this could represent a significant transformation in overall human capital strategy and what different employees are tasked to do, so planning ahead will save the company money as it transitions to cheaper computer-driven labor while maximizing the human potential already on the payroll.”

“Individualization may be the most important trend in HR today, because employees expect to have the type of experience in the workplace that they have as consumers, says Sherry Engel, vice president of learning and talent development for MRINetwork. “Learners do not want a complicated, long, one-size-fits-all answer to their skill development.  They want a YouTube or a Google approach, where they can get quick, simple, targeted skill development right at the moment they need it. Like Googling a video on how to tie a tie.”

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

The Trevi Group  |  www.TheTreviGroup.com

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.

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"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  |  www.TheTreviGroup.com

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  |  www.TheTreviGroup.com

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  |  www.TheTreviGroup.com

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  |  www.TheTreviGroup.com

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.

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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  |  www.TheTreviGroup.com 

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  |  www.TheTreviGroup.com