BLS Analysis for Recruiters, August 2019 – 6 Articles

Bob Marshall’s August 2019 BLS Analysis for Recruiters; 9/6/18

The 6 August Articles…

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Majority Prefer In-Person Job Interviews Over Virtual: Yoh Survey

Daily News, August 28, 2019

A majority of US adults, 62%, would prefer an in-person job interview over a virtual job interview, according to survey data released today by staffing firm Yoh. College grads and those with household incomes of more than $100,000 were more likely to prefer in-person interviews.

Among college grads, 68% would prefer in-person interviews compared to 57% of those with a high school diploma or less.

In addition, 69% of those earning more than $100,000 per year would prefer an in-person interview compared to 57% of those in households earning less than $75,000.

“In this technological era, companies are consistently finding faster, better ways to streamline the recruitment process and open the door to a wider range of hiring opportunities,” Yoh President Emmett McGrath said.  “But Americans’ skepticism of virtual interviews highlights the need for human interaction throughout the recruitment and hiring process.”

Virtual interviews in the survey include all types of technology-assisted interview methods outside of in-person interviews.

Why do people prefer in-person interviews?  The survey found:

*59% said in-person interviews would be the only way to truly judge a new job opportunity

*37% said virtual interviews would limit the connection with the interviewer

*17% said virtual job interviews would offer too many opportunities for technical difficulties

*16% cited other reasons

Yoh’s online survey included responses from 2,015 US adults ages 18 and older and took place from July 30 to Aug. 1.

Finance Execs Say Tech Skills Hardest to Find When Hiring: Robert Half

Daily News, August 22, 2019

Technology experience and aptitude top the list of most difficult attributes to find in accounting and finance job candidates, according to a survey of US CFOs released today by Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

CFOs cited the following attributes as the hardest to find in accounting and finance job candidates:

*Technology experience or aptitude: 32%

*Functional job skills: 21%

*Leadership abilities: 18%

*Soft skills, e.g., interpersonal or communication skills: 16%

*Organizational culture fit: 12%

One area of expertise in high demand is business analytics; 37% of CFOs said these skills are mandatory for all accounting and finance positions, and another 49% reported they are mandatory for some roles.  The survey findings also suggest employers are taking steps to address the need: 91% of respondents’ firms provide related professional development opportunities.

In a separate Jobs and AI Anxiety report, Robert Half found finance managers cited big data and advanced analytics among the top three currently used technologies, following cloud-based systems and mobile applications.  In addition to the 42% of finance and accounting functions currently using analytical tools, such as predictive analytics, another 27% expect to use them within the next three years.

“Neither the demand for technology skills nor the lack of them available is going away soon,” said Steve Saah, executive director of Robert Half Finance & Accounting.  “By providing professional development on new and emerging tools, companies can upskill their existing teams and make themselves more attractive employers.”

The online surveys were developed by Robert Half and conducted by independent research firms.  The CFO survey includes responses from more than 1,100 CFOs at companies in the US with 20 or more employees.  The survey for the Jobs and AI Anxiety report includes responses from 250 accounting and finance managers in US.

Nearly Half of US Adults Have Layoff Anxiety: Survey

Daily News, August 16, 2019

Nearly half of Americans, 48%, experience anxiety over possible layoffs, according to survey results released today by CareerArc, a social recruiting and on-demand outplacement platform.

Of those who experienced anxiety, 34% cited fears over a possible recession, 32% cited rumors around the office and 30% say a recent round of workplace layoffs is the cause.

Job loss is not uncommon, according to CareerArc’s poll.  It found 40% have been terminated or laid off at least once.

Other findings in the survey:

*61% of those ages 18-34 suffer from layoff anxiety as compared to 41% of those ages 35 and above.

*54% of women surveyed don’t feel prepared for a layoff as compared to 41% of men.

*39% of employed women who suffer from layoff anxiety cite fear of pending recession as the #1 cause of their layoff anxiety versus 29% of men in the same group.

*Men are more likely than women to have ever been laid off or terminated, with 45% of men having lost a job as compared to 36% of women.

*64% of Americans with college degrees or higher have never been laid off as compared to 48% of Americans with some college and 47% of those with a high school degree or less.

*Younger, less experienced workers may face more challenges finding or switching jobs during a recession.  Gen Z and millennial employees — 23% of those aged 18-34 and 19% of those aged 35-44 — were about twice as likely to experience difficulty in finding/switching jobs during the Great Recession than those ages 45-54 (11%) and 55-64 (9%).

The survey included responses from 2,024 adults ages 18 and older in the US, of which 1,062 were employed.

43% of Professionals Plan to Seek New Job Over Next 12 Months: Survey

Daily News, August 12, 2019

Over the next 12 months, 43% of professionals plan to look for a new job, according to survey data released by Robert Half International Inc. on Thursday.

What would entice workers to stay?  Money topped the list with 43% saying more money would get them to stay, according to the survey results.  And 20% would stay for more time off/benefits, 19% would stay if promoted, and 8% would stay if they had a new boss.  However, for 10%, nothing would get them to stay.

Cities with the highest percentage of workers planning to look for a new job included Sacramento, California; Miami; Austin, Texas; and Denver.

On the other hand, senior managers were asked about what retentions strategies they were using.  Those most commonly cited included increasing communication with staff, improving employee recognition programs and offering professional development.

The surveys took place in April and included more than 2,800 workers in office environments in 28 major US cities and more than 2,800 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees.

The Economy Isn’t Just Adding Jobs.  It’s Adding Good Ones

Bloomberg Opinion, Conor Sen, August 6, 2019

Employment growth in the low-paid sectors of retail and hospitality is fading, but higher-paid knowledge work is in demand. There’s room to grow at the high end of the labor market.

Even if the rate of U.S. job growth is slowing this year, there’s encouraging news hidden in that overall number.

A large chunk of the deceleration is attributable to a near halt in the growth of lower-paid jobs, despite those positions continuing to show strong wage growth – a sign that perhaps for lower-paid workers we are seeing dynamics approaching full employment.  At the same type, the continued steady growth in higher-paid knowledge jobs should embolden those who believe this expansion can continue for quite a while longer.  And along the way, more Americans in both categories are finding decent-paying jobs.

When people talk about the labor market slowing, what they’re really referring to is the past 6 months.  The recent peak in the year-over-year pace in jobs growth occurred in January at 2,820,000.  Since then it has slowed somewhat, largely shown in the weak jobs reports in February and May, in which both months resulted in fewer than 100,000 jobs being added in the economy.

But as the economic cycle has become more advanced, the composition of the labor market continues to change.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the lowest-paid industries – retail and leisure/hospitality.  From January 2011 through January 2019, those 2 industries added on average 600,000 jobs per year, or 50,000 per month, with the pace of growth beginning to slow noticeably in 2017.  In the past 6 months, however, those industries have shown no growth.  If they had grown at a similar pace as they did in 2017 or 2018, overall job growth would have shown very little deceleration.

This Might Worry You …

Employment in retail and leisure/hospitality has almost flatlined.

Some might think that the halt in job growth here might be a sign of looming economic weakness, but wage growth for both industries remains robust, driven both by a tight labor market for low-wage service workers and by minimum wage hikes around the country.  Martha Gimbel, a research director at Indeed, notes that wage growth for low-paid workers continues to accelerate and outpace wage growth for higher-paid workers.

And for well-paid knowledge workers in the professional and business services sector, which employs over 21,000,000 people, job growth remains steady, continuing to chug along at a growth rate of around 40,000 per month, much like it has for the past 5 years.  Gimbel notes that while middle-wage job growth has slowed a bit, likely due to weakness in the global economy impacting the manufacturing sector, job growth for middle and high-paying jobs continues to outpace job growth for lower-paid jobs.

… Unless You Saw This as Well

High-paying employment in professional and business services is growing well.

This means labor market dynamics still support above-trend growth; it’s just that the nature of the growth may have to change.  The continued rise in wages for lower-paid workers combined with low levels of people seeking work who are not already working may mean that lower-paid jobs are no longer a significant driver of overall employment growth.

But these dynamics are not appearing in the better-paying sectors.  Despite employer complaints of labor market shortages, there still seem to be plenty of workers willing to take good-paying jobs without overall wage growth for those workers exceeding 2-3%.  Tens of millions of lower-paid workers could train for those jobs and would undoubtedly be willing to leave a job paying $12 an hour for one paying much more than that.

For the entirety of this expansion, policymakers have been focused on finding jobs for the unemployed, and for drawing people back into the labor force.  As more measures of labor market slack hit generational or multi-decade lows, the emphasis should shift to a different kind of slack: the people who are employed but could be doing more productive, better-paying jobs if they were given the opportunity.

The slowing overall rate of job growth shouldn’t spook policy makers.  Until we see an acceleration in wage growth for higher-paid workers and inflation, there’s no reason we can’t continue to push for a stronger economy and labor market.

Tech Employment Rises by 11,400 Jobs in July Despite Telecom Losses: CompTIA

Daily News, August 5, 2019

Technology employment in the US rose by an estimated 11,400 jobs in July even as telecom companies eliminated some 5,100 positions, according to an analysis by tech industry association CompTIA.

“Despite the telecom losses and some softness in job posting data, it was a reasonably solid month for tech,” said Tim Herbert, executive VP for research and market intelligence at CompTIA.  “Digital transformation is an ongoing process, where the mix of investment, skills requirements and business alignment are never static.”

CompTIA, which examined data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Situation report, found that July was solid month of hiring in technology services, custom software development and computer systems design.  Hiring in these areas offset losses in telecom.

It noted telecom has experienced 9 consecutive months of employment decline and an estimated 22,800 jobs have been eliminated.  Without telecom losses, the tech industry job growth for the year would total 98,000 positions.

Looking ahead, based on job ads, software and application developer positions continue to be the most in-demand occupation with 78,000 job postings in July.  Next highest was computer user support specialists with 20,100 ads.  Rounding out the top five most in-demand are computer systems engineers and architects, 16,800 job ads; computer systems analysts, 15,000 ads; and web developers, 13,500 ads.