BLS Analysis for September 2018 – 10 Featured Articles

Bob Marshall’s September 2018 BLS Analysis for Recruiters; 10/5/18


The 10 September/October Articles…


Start here…


No Change in New GDP Estimate; Growth Remains at 4.2% in Q2

Daily News, September 27, 2018


US real gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 4.2% in the second quarter, according to the third estimate of GDP growth released today by the US Commerce Department.  The new estimate is unchanged from the previous estimate.


The general picture of economic growth remains the same; a downward revision to private inventory investment was offset by small upward revisions to most other GDP components. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, were revised down slightly.


Real GDP for the US increased 2.2% in Q1.


MarketWatch’s poll of economists had forecast GDP would be revised up to a 4.3% rate.  And Reuters reported US economic growth accelerated in the second quarter, its fastest pace in nearly 4 years as previously estimated, putting the economy on track to hit the Trump administration’s goal of 3% annual growth.



Consumer Confidence Hovers Near 18-Year High

Daily News, September 25, 2018


The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index increased in September following a large improvement in August.  The index rose to a reading of 138.4 (1985=100), up from 134.7 in August.  This is close to an 18-year high and not far from the all-time high of 144.7 reached in 2000.


“Consumers’ assessment of current conditions remains extremely favorable, bolstered by a strong economy and robust job growth,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.  “The Expectations Index surged in September, suggesting solid economic growth exceeding 3.0% for the remainder of the year.  These historically high confidence levels should continue to support healthy consumer spending and should be welcome news for retailers as they begin gearing up for the holiday season.”


Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was somewhat more favorable and their outlook for the labor market was also more upbeat.  The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead rose to 22.5% in September from 21.5% in August, while those anticipating fewer jobs fell to 11.0% from 13.2%.


The number of consumers stating that jobs were “plentiful” rose to 45.7% in September from 42.3% in August, but those claiming jobs are “hard to get” rose to 13.2% from 12.1%.



Bad Commutes May Drive Professionals to Leave Jobs:  Robert Half

Daily News, September 24, 2018


The drive to work may be driving some professionals to quit, suggests new research released today by Robert Half.  According to the research, 23% of employees have left a job because of a bad commute.


Among workers in the 28 US cities surveyed, respondents in Chicago, Miami, New York and San Francisco have most often resigned for this reason.


“Commutes can have a major impact on morale and, ultimately, an employee’s decision to stay with or leave a job,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half.  “In today’s candidate-driven market, skilled workers can have multiple offers on the table.  Professionals may not need to put up with a lengthy or stressful trip to the office if there are better options available.”


39% of survey respondents reported their commute has gotten better in the past 5 years, 22% said it has worsened and 39% reported no change.


66% of women and 51% of men said their company hasn’t taken action to address employees’ commute concerns.


“To help ease commuting woes, companies can offer remote work options, flexible scheduling or transportation amenities,” McDonald said.


The report’s survey was developed by Robert Half and conducted by an independent research firm.  It includes responses from more than 2,800 adult workers employed in office environments in 28 major US cities.



US Leading Index UP in August; Growth ‘Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This’

Daily News, September 20, 2018


The Conference Board’s US Leading Economic Index rose 0.4% in August from July to a reading of 111.2 (2016 = 100), following a 0.7% increase in July and a 0.5% increase in June.


“The leading indicators are consistent with a solid growth scenario in the second half of 2018 and at this stage of a maturing business cycle in the US, it doesn’t get much better than this,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles and growth research at The Conference Board.


“The US [Leading Economic Index’s] growth trend has moderated since the start of the year,” Ozyildirim said.  “Industrial companies that are more sensitive to the business cycle should be on the lookout for a possible moderation in economic growth in 2019.  The strengths among the [Leading Economic Index’s] components were very widespread, further supporting an outlook of above 3.0% growth for the remainder of 2018.”



Shifting Skill Demands Impacting Talent Acquisition Strategies: Allegis Group Report

Daily News, September 20, 2018


The changing talent landscape is affecting how organizations acquire the workers they need, according to “The Global Workforce Trends Report released today by Allegis Group.


“With low unemployment rates, shifting skill demands due to the impact of new technologies and ever-changing socio-economic and political factors, employers must be proactive in addressing talent shortages head-on,” said Ron Hetrick, Allegis Group’s director of labor market business intelligence.  “Responding effectively to the global talent shortage will require a clear and comprehensive understanding of the global forces at work.”


Global highlights from the report include:


*Changing markets are creating talent challenges for 80% of employers.


*The leading issues affecting the ability to attract and retain talent include the economic environment, cited by 55% of respondents, and demographic shifts, cited by 32% of survey respondents.  Notably, only 10% cite political volatility as an issue influencing their ability to attract and retain talent.


*IT and engineering lead the list of in-demand skills at 37% and 33% respectively.


*Nearly two-thirds of companies, 65%, have had to adjust business strategy because they could not secure the right talent in a specific function or geographic area.


*More than a quarter of companies, 26%, are not confident they know the true market value of the skills they seek.  The top challenges in understanding that value are job definitions and requirements that vary across different departments at 48% and a lack of defined success metrics at 42%.


In the US, demand for talent remains strong, setting record highs this year.  Openings have risen approximately 16% between 2017 and 2018.  All key occupational groups staffed by both traditional and contingent workers have seen their unemployment rates drop in the past year, and unemployment rates for administrative/clerical and light industrial skills have set their all-time lows.  Likewise, business and finance saw a significant plunge in unemployment, and unemployment in management positions, thought to be one of the most affected by baby boomer retirements, is only 0.2 percentage points from its record low.


Allegis Group surveyed nearly 700 talent acquisition stakeholders around the world.



Lack of Information About Compensation is Biggest Frustration in Interview Process:  Glassdoor

Daily News, September 19, 2018


A lack of information about a job’s total compensation package — including pay and benefits — is among the biggest frustrations for US workers and job seekers during the interview process, according to a Glassdoor survey released today.


Half of the US workers/jobseekers surveyed, 50%, said that this would be among their biggest frustrations, with an equal proportion saying it is potential employers canceling or postponing interviews.  Ranking third, 47% said that potential employers not responding in a timely manner are among their biggest grievances.


The report also highlights specifically what would make people pull out of a recruitment process.  44% said this would be caused by the employer announcing layoffs, followed a poor first interaction with a recruiter or hiring manager at 40% and reading negative reviews from employees at 35%.  Hearing about employee or leadership scandals and reading negative news coverage about the company would cause about one-third to pull out of a recruitment process.


On the flip side, the survey also asked what would constitute a positive job application experience and 58% of the survey participants said that a company communicating with them clearly and regularly is what they want.  More than half, 53%, said they would want a company to set out clear expectations for them so that they could prepare well and 51% said getting feedback from the company, even if they were not successful, would be appreciated.


The online survey was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor in May 2018 among more than 1,100 US adults who are either currently employed or not employed but looking for work.



HR Group calls for ‘National Conversation’ with Employers on Skills Gap

Daily News, September 17, 2018


The Society for Human Resource Management, the US association for HR professionals with 285,000 members, called for all employers to join a national conversation about closing the skills gap.


“The economy is hot, unemployment is low, and the skills gap is wide,” said SHRM President and CEO Johnny Taylor, Jr.


“We have an aging demographic,” said Kevin Walling, chief human resource officer of The Hershey Co.  “We have a skill shortage that is not in tune with the current needs of a digital industry.  Without taking proactive action in how we’re developing the next generation of the workforce, we will be at risk.”


Research from SHRM indicates that 8 out of 10 HR professional report that high-demand and soft skills are in short supply.  The health and social assistance and manufacturing industries report the highest levels of recruiting difficulty; for instance, 46% of respondents indicated that the most difficult-to-recruit-for positions are in the high-skilled medical job categories.


SHRM research has also found smaller organizations — those with 1 to 99 employees — reported having the most difficulty in filling full-time manager and skilled trade positions.



Computer and Information Sciences Master’s Grads Earn Highest Starting Salaries:  NACE

Daily News, September 14, 2018


Computer and information sciences majors ranked as the top-paid college graduates with advanced degrees for the class of 2017, according to salary survey data released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.  At the master’s degree level, graduates who majored in computer and information sciences reported the highest starting salary at $93,415.


The average salaries by discipline for class of 2017 grads with master’s degrees include:


  • Computer and information sciences: $93,415
  • Engineering: $84,052
  • Mathematics and statistics: $79,985
  • Engineering technologies: $78,235
  • Health professions: $74,384


At the doctoral level, business, management, and marketing majors from the class of 2017 earned the highest average starting salaries at $138,468.  Computer and information sciences graduates followed with an average starting salary of $112,772.


Other top-paid majors among class of 2017 doctoral graduates include engineering at $95,048; public administration and social service at $86,891; and social sciences at $84,889.


The Summer 2018 Salary Survey report provides actual starting salaries (not projections) for the college class of 2017.  Data were gathered from class of 2017 graduates through Dec. 31, 2017 and reported to NACE through May 25, 2018.



Real-Wage Growth Declines for Entry-Level Workers:  Korn Ferry

Daily News, September 13, 2018


On average, real wages over the past decade declined for Americans with lower-level positions in organizations but increased for midlevel and senior-level employees, according to analysis of US employee pay data by Korn Ferry International Inc.


The study found that, adjusted for inflation, average wages for clerical or entry-level professionals fell 2.3% since 2008 to $45,882.  As professionals move up the corporate ladder, however, their wage prospects improved slightly.  Midlevel professionals’ wages rose 2.4% in the past 10 years to $85,332, while senior managers make approximately 5.7% more on average today than they did in 2008 at $160,292.


“Even though we’ve seen significant growth in the economy since the recession, salaries have barely kept up with inflation, and in the case of lower-level employees, we have actually seen real-wage decreases since 2008,” said Korn Ferry Senior Client Partner Tom McMullen.  “While there are only slight increases for midlevel professionals and senior managers, we do see higher wage growth for those levels due to the demand for specialized, skilled employees.”


For the analysis of inflation-adjusted wage growth from 2008 to 2018, researchers looked at data from more than 5,500,000 US employees in nearly 2,000 companies in a wide range of industries.



5 Things You Should Know About SMS Recruiting

Sara Pollock, September 7, 2018


Millennials — perpetually glued to their phones and always posting everything to social media, right?  Maybe, but they’re not the only ones who love their smartphones.  75% of US adults use a smartphone, and number of cellphone users around the world is expected to surpass the 5,000,000,000 mark by 2019.


What you may not realize is that heavy smartphone usage presents an opportunity to savvy recruiters.  Emerging technologies are allowing recruiters to contact candidates where it matters most: via text messaging.


Not All Candidates Are Millennials (Obviously)


Before you rush out to start texting your candidates, you have to understand who in your talent pool is using their cellphones on a regular basis.  While we all know millennials are highly receptive to mobile technology, they aren’t the only ones.


79% of people between the ages of 18 and 44 — which includes millennials and Gen. X-ers — have their smartphones on hand 22 hours a day.  Moreover, 68% of millennials, 73% of Gen. X-ers, and 75% of baby boomers are open to receiving job opportunities via text.


The takeaway: Text messages can open worlds of talent beyond the millennials.


Is SMS Recruiting Right for You?


Now you know that text messages can engage a variety of candidates — but is integrating SMS (Short Message Service – 160-character limit) into your mobile recruitment strategy right for you?


Opinions vary on this matter, but overall, recruiting teams seem to be embracing the possibilities of text messaging in recruiting: 78% of recruiters use text messages to schedule interviews, 76% use text messages to confirm interview times, and 80% feel it is helpful to follow up with candidates after their interview via text messages.


Are Text Messages Even Appropriate for Recruiting?


Considering 81% of Americans regularly send text messages, we know this is a quick, easy way for recruiters to contact candidates.  The question, however, is whether the ease is worth it.  Are text messages really an appropriate way to communicate with candidates?


There is little consensus among job seekers on the matter.  According to a Software Advice survey, 35% of job seekers consider text messaging a professional mode of recruiting communication, 34% consider it unprofessional, and 31% consider it neither professional nor unprofessional.


You need to consider what kind of communication — and how much — you are willing to have via SMS.  Your decision will largely depend on your talent pool.  Understanding the industry norms and your candidates’ demographics should help you determine whether SMS is a viable addition to your mobile recruitment strategy.  One great way to settle the matter is to let candidates choose for themselves:  Add a text message option to your job ads or career site and see who utilizes it.


The Facts of SMS Recruiting


Still debating whether or not you should be texting candidates?  Here are 6 facts to help you decide:


  1. 89% of job seekers think mobile devices play a critical role in the job search: Getting on board with some form of mobile recruiting technology can drastically improve your candidate engagement and outreach, because candidates are already using that technology. Why not meet talent where they are?


  1. 65% of job seekers use their smartphones at least once a day for job search tasks: The majority of your candidates are already searching for your business on their mobile devices. Incorporating a text messaging framework into your recruiting methods puts you directly in the palms of their hands.


  1. 78% of candidates say they would apply for a new job through their mobile device if the process were simple: In today’s candidate-driven market, appealing to a candidate’s needs is more critical than ever. Presenting yourself as a business that understands what candidates want will distinguish you from competitors and make your organization an employer of choice.


  1. 73% of job seekers would like to receive targeted job opportunities via text: Candidates want to receive job opportunities in a way that fits their lifestyles. They don’t want to trudge through job boards on their laptops or wait anxiously for an employer to respond after they’ve submitted dozens of applications.  Candidates want to feel connected to potential employers right from the moment they hit the “submit” button.


  1. Text messages have a 95%-98% read rate: Probably the most important statistic to sway any business to text recruiting is the open rate. Candidates read their texts.  In fact, nearly every smartphone user reads their texts right away, whether they’re applying for jobs or not.  By comparison, emails only have a 20% open rate on average.