Category Archives: Employment Data

The Workforce: Not As Simple as Red or Blue, Male or Female, or Generation

Jobvite’s annual Job Seeker Nation Study was published a couple of weeks ago. They took a whole new approach, given the current political environment in the U.S., and it’s fascinating. Subtitled, Finding the Fault Lines in the American Workforce, it looks at how divided our nation really is when it comes to attitudes and actions related to changing jobs.

“If the past year taught us anything, it’s that we live in a divided nation. In fact, nearly 80% of Americans – an all-time high – believe the country is split in two. With this year’s Job Seeker Nation Survey of 2,000 Americans, we sought to define that split:  who are the two groups and what does the job seeking experience look like for each? The answer surprised us:  ‘Divided America’ is a myth. Sure, from 30,000 feet you see Blue vs. Red. Coast vs. Coast. But dig a couple layers deeper and you don’t find a neatly divided population… What we found is many different versions of the American job seeker.”

And then we’re off to the races with fascinating data points covering the workforce, job seekers, men, women, quitters, stayers, generations – different slices of workforce data that are sure to make you stop and think about what’s really happening with your employees.

The finding that I found most interesting had to do with job sampling. For example, more than half of the respondents are satisfied at work (64%) – but 81% of them are open to new job opportunities. Additionally, 50% had at least one interview this year to explore options – with no intention of leaving their current position! Additionally, job seekers are not as happy as they used to be. In the last year, the percentage of workers satisfied at work has plummeted 10 percentage points to 64% (from 74%). But more concerning is that 82% are open to new job opportunities. That’s a tough message for employers.

Another fascinating data point – despite greater transparency around pay, performance and the like – is that workers routinely “sample” their options by interviewing for new jobs.

The dynamics of the workforce in 2017 are clearly not cut and dried – and certainly not as simple as Generation vs. Generation or Male vs. Female. Of course, we knew that. But this report shines a light on some more nuanced slices of the data and provides some surprising results.

I look forward to this report each year. (Here’s my take on last year’s report.) The Jobvite folks always serve up a different set of data points that add depth to the planning and conversations employers are having about their workforces. This year is no different. Take a look here. You’ll find some useful insights.

 

 

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Filed under Big Data and HR, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Demographics, Employment Data, Generations at work, HR Data, Human Capital

Of Job Seekers, Smartphones, and the Election

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Jobvite’s Job Seeker Nation Study for 2016 is out. It’s always an interesting read. (Here’s my post on their 2015 survey.) And this year is no different. There is information on who’s looking, who’s not looking, who’s having a hard time finding a job and who isn’t. There are some fascinating data points. Like most vendor “research,” this report is easy to read and very attractively packaged.

The leading themes are these:

  • the state of work is in flux and today’s job seekers are adjusting to a new reality
  • job seekers are concerned in the short term but optimistic in the long run
  • while nearly 75% of all workers are satisfied with their jobs, two-thirds are still open to new employment
  • jobs in the gig-economy are part of the new normal
  • concern about jobs becoming obsolete due to technology is growing

Jobvite CEO, Dan Finnigan, introduces the report:

“These findings emphasize the fact that the way we look for work, and the way we work, is changing significantly. The gig economy’s rapid growth is remarkable and the data demonstrate that the modern job seeker is now more flexible than ever.”

Two survey areas really caught my attention. The first, reports survey answers that indicate the use of mobile devices in job search means job seeking behavior happens everywhere, all the time:

Jobvite 2016 1

You should no longer assume that colleagues active on their smartphones in meetings are playing games or reading their Facebook feed. They could very well be researching their next employer! Even more troubling is what is happening behind closed doors at the office or in the cubicle farm!

The second survey area that caught my eye, was the section on job seekers and the presidential election. (Not kidding.) As of early February when the survey was fielded, only three presidential candidates had double digit support from job seeker nation:  Hillary Clinton (23%), Donald Trump (21%), and Bernie Sanders (12%). Looking at the demographics of candidate support and then correlating that support to concern that automation will diminish their job/career opportunities is either brilliant or something else. But I found it fascinating:

Jobvite 2016 2

Just when you thought the election couldn’t intrude into any more corners of your life…! But the data are interesting. Look at the demographics and industry sectors. And Hillary supporters are way more concerned that robots will take their jobs than those who feel the Bern. Fascinating.

That’s why I always look forward to the annual Jobvite Job Seeker Nation report. They vary the questions enough to make the results and insights different from year to year, and certainly more relevant. Give the survey a read. I think you’ll enjoy it.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employment Data, Gig Economy, Human Capital, JobVite, Uncategorized

Work and Workers Are Changing

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I’m a big fan of the SHRM Foundation. The resources they put in the hands of HR professionals all over the world are impressive. They do this by funding academic research in areas of interest to HR and business leaders, they provide scholarships for HR professionals to further their professional development and credentials, and they partner with organizations like The Economist Intelligence Unit to provide deep dives into the most pressing people issues of the day. I like that. A lot.

While attending the SHRM Foundation’s most recent Thought Leader Retreat in the fall, I picked up this nifty piece of thought leadership from 2014: What’s Next: Future global Trends Affecting Your Organization; Evolution of Work and the Worker. Published in partnership with The Economist Intelligence Unit, this report discusses the outcomes of “a rigorous process of surveys, expert-panel discussions and analysis” to identify key themes that look at What’s Next in the evolution of work and the worker.

The executive summary lists nine key findings – some are just what you’d expect in considering how work is changing and how the role of workers is changing. Some, however, might be surprising to you:

  • Demographic shifts post conflicting challenges

  • Young populations neither in education nor employment will elevate concerns of a lost generation and the potential for social and political unrest in the near future

  • Burgeoning workplace diversity requires sophisticated managerial response

  • Disconnect between educational standards and organizational demand

  • Services sector on the rise globally at the expense of agriculture and industry

  • Technology transforms workforce composition and culture

  • Wage expectations conflict with increased focus on shareholder value

  • Inequality on the rise as technology decimates the mid-skilled tier

  • Companies balance pros and cons of investment in new regions of development

The discussions in this 48 page report are fascinating and cover a lot of ground. Each topic has graphs from a multitude of sources – if you just read the graphs you’d start to develop a new awareness of the global challenges we face in providing sustainable people strategies for our organizations. This one tells a pretty interesting story:

EIU SHRM Foundation 1

Another one that takes an interesting look at global competitiveness – and perhaps an outcome of the chart above – is here:

Eiu SHRM Foundation 2

I encourage you to pull down this report. It’s a little more than a year old, but it highlights the global issues with which organizations are grappling. HR professionals need to have meta data like this top of mind. Whether you’re leading HR in a one-location organization, or an HR team member in a large, global organization – work is changing. And workers are really changing. And some of the reasons they are changing have to do with what’s happening in other places in the world. It’s not enough any more to only know what the trend data are for your pocket of the world. We – especially HR professionals – need to understand all the levers that are pushing on our people, our industry and our work. This report could assist in developing a broader understanding of why this is important.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Demographics, Economist Intelligence Unit, Effective Practice Guidelines, Employment Data, Global Human Capital, HR Data, Human Resources, SHRM Foundation, Uncategorized

The Stress Test: Most Employers Fail

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We all know that a stressful work environment can impact employees’ mental, physical, and emotional health, as well as impact their engagement and productivity, but a new study from Monster reveals just how many employees are saying no to “sticking it out” in stressful work environments, and seeking jobs elsewhere. Monster’s international “Workplace Stress” study surveyed nearly 1,000 job seekers on the Monster database via an online survey which ran from March 12, 2014 to March 18, 2014. The study revealed that 42% of US respondents have left a job due to an overly stressful environment, these respondents stating: “I have purposely changed jobs due to a stressful work environment.” An additional 35% have contemplated changing jobs due to a stressful work environment. 42% of people have purposely changed jobs because of stress! This seems like a frightening number of people and begs the question, what are U.S organizations doing to change such work environments? Monster’s study reports that 55% of their respondents experience very stressful lives, and 57% of people experience very stressful work environments –more than half of respondents. Comparably, only 3% of respondents report experiencing no stress in their work life.

On the international front, employees in France and the UK experience the most workplace stress, with 48% (a 6% increase from US respondents) reporting that they have left a job due to stress. Employees in India are least likely to leave a job due to stress, with only 19% of respondents reporting that they have ever left a job because it was too stressful.

What exactly is stressing out the workforce? Monster’s study found that the most commonly reported workplace stressors are: supervisor relationship (40%), amount of work (39%), work-life balance (34%), and coworker relationships (31%). The study also found that the 84% of respondents claim that their stressful job has impacted their personal lives, with 26% reporting sleepless nights, 24% reporting depression, 21% reporting family or relationship issues, and 19% reporting physical ailments. When respondents were asked what their office does to help alleviate stress in the workplace, 13% reported “extra time-off”, 11% reported the “ability to work from home”, and dishearteningly, 66% answered “nothing.”

Monster Job Changes Due to Stress
While many of the figures in this study may seem shockingly high, when we consider all the data that surrounds us about the amount of work/life balance challenges American’s face, the high percentage of workers leaving jobs due to stress makes a little more sense. However, though it might make more sense, it doesn’t mean pushing employees to their limits, and fostering stressful work environments, is right. In fact, at Great Place to Work we have 20 years of data proving that fostering a transparent, safe, and fun workplace culture creates an incredibly more satisfying and productive environment than a high-stress/high pressure one. Check it out!

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Filed under Change, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employment Data, Great Place to Work, Great Place to Work Institute, Leadership, Monster, Stess, Turnover, Work Life Balance

Laws Require WorkFlex – Really?

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There’s been a lot of talk recently regarding flexible scheduling policies in organizations. All kinds of people have been writing about whether such policies are actually beneficial or harmful for businesses, as well as questioning if flexible scheduling polices are really essential or non-essential to things like employee engagement, well-being, and productivity.  Actually, I think these discussions miss the point and I don’t think any of these questions can be answered on such a broad scale. The potential for flexible scheduling policies to help or hinder an organization is dependent on a whole series of variables, making such questions decidedly organization specific and not answerable as a larger theme that applies to all organizations. What we can confirm about flexible scheduling policies however, is that they are a highly regarded benefit and broadly implemented by some organizations.  The graph below from Statista, detailing data from a 2013 Employee Benefits Report by SHRM, found that  in the U.S in 2013, 58% of employers offered the option of telecommuting to some of their employees and 4% planned on starting to offer telecommuting within the next year. This data gives us a rough idea of the implementation of flexible scheduling policies within the U.S, and with more than half of employers offering telecommuting options it’s obvious that this is an approach worth discussing.

Statista SHRM Telecommuting 2013

We can clearly point to Marissa Mayer’s decision to ban telecommuting at Yahoo! (see my post here) as one of the major sparks in the recent discussions around flexible scheduling. Adding to the controversy is legislation that has passed in Vermont and now San Francisco, requiring certain organizations to seriously consider employee’s requests for a flexible work schedule. The most recent legislation around flexible scheduling passed just last month on October 8th 2013 in San Francisco. The Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance (FFWO) will become operative on January 1st 2014, and mandates that employers with twenty or more staff give employees in caregiver roles the right to request a predictable or flexible work schedule. To qualify an employee must have worked for the organization for more than six months, work at least eight hours a week on a regular basis, and be a caregiver for a child or children under the age of 18, a parent(s) over the age of 65, or a person(s) with a serious health condition in a family relationship with the employee. If an employee meets these standards they have the right to submit a request for a flexible schedule and their employer is required to meet with them within 21 days. The employer is required to respond to the request within 21 days of their meeting and if the employer denies a request they must explain the denial in a written response that sets out a bona fide business reason for the denial and provides the employee with notice of the right to request reconsideration.

Legislation like this raises a whole new set of questions around flexible scheduling policies. The San Francisco ordinance is positive in that it helps to protect employees against discrimination based on their caregiver status, however, at the same time, could you argue that legislation like this goes too far? Does it restrict an organization’s right to organize their business in the way they see fit, and most conducive to achieving goals? The FFWO could be positive in prompting employees that desire flexible scheduling policies to speak out – employees that may have previously felt afraid to voice such requests do to the bureaucracy of their organizations. But what will the effects be on organizations that have never implemented flexible scheduling policies? Will the ordinance cause a roadblock and additional internal conflict? These are some of the top questions that come to mind as I consider the implications of flexible scheduling legislation. What do you think?

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employment Data, Great Place to Work, Great Place to Work Institute, HR, SHRM, Statista, Workflex

Kids Need Jobs, Too!

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When you think about our current economy you probably evaluate that we’re in a recovery period, a time in which the job market is slowly – very slowly – on the mend. You probably imagine employment rates on the rise, and would claim we’re faring considerably better than we were during the recent recession. And you’d be right. But for one group in our nation, this holds hauntingly, troublingly, untrue, and we need do our darnedest to figure out a solution because this is one important group of people:  they are our future.

A recent report by The Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University and JAG (Jobs for America’s Graduates) examines in detail the employment outcomes of high school graduates from the class of 2012 who did not enroll in college, and the results were not positive. Employment rates for our nation’s teens over the last several years (all demographic, socio-economic, and schooling groups) have seen steep drops. These drops have been so steep that employment rates for teens have reached new historical lows for the post WWII period. High school students and young high school drop outs have seen the greatest differences in securing paid employment (of any type) in recent years and young high school graduates , especially those not enrolling in college in the fall after graduation, have seen both declining employment rates and a strongly reduced ability to secure full time work.

JAG Policy Brief #1

What’s concerning is the nature of these drops. Until recently the ability of America’s teens to obtain work has been fairly cyclical, with teen employment rates rising to above average during periods of job growth and falling during periods of recession. During the economic recovery of 2003-2007 however, teen employment rates did not see any significant rise, dropping from a rate of 70% in 2000 to 58% in 2003 and recovering only three points to 61% in 2007. Employment rates failed to increase again during the current job recovery from the recession of 2007-2009, dropping from 61% in 2007 to 46% in 2009 and holding there in both 2011 and 2012. These are the lowest employment rates for new non-college enrolled high school graduates in the U.S since the data series began being recorded in 1959.

The employment rates of high school graduates varied considerably by gender and race ethnic group and across the board male high school graduates fared worse than female graduates, their employment rates dropping to an all-time low of 44% in Oct. 2012. Family income also influenced employment rates, with high school graduates coming from higher income families (no surprise here) seeing a stronger likelihood for employment. Another important note though, is that the ability of employed High School graduates not attending college to obtain full time jobs has also declined dramatically since 2000. This number dropped to 43% in October 2012, the lowest full time job share ever recorded in in this data series.

The report combined the findings on the employment rates of non-college enrolled high school graduates with the share of the employed working full time to calculate their employment to population ratios, which are consistent with the declining employment statistics and darker still. In the month of October 2012 only 19 of every 100 high school graduates who did not attend college in the fall were employed full time, another historical low. As this study implores us, we need to think about the message and implications of these unemployment rates. Not only will this lack of employment adversely affect the future of these graduates in terms of lower employment rates, wages, and reduced training from employers, but it also sends the wrong message to youths still in school. How can we expect young people to understand the value of a high school degree, and support our claim that it’s important to stay in school, when their direct experience is observing the many idle graduates (their peers) with no employment and nothing to do? As of now, no new policy initiatives exist to address this large-scale labor market issue.

So it’s up to us. What are we going to do about it?


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Filed under Andrew Sum, Center for Labor Market Studies, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employment Data, High School Graduates' Employment Rates, JAG, Student Job Search

From the Archives: We can’t succeed without Millennials

This was a very popular post from April, 2012. The data is pretty much the same. And it bears repeating.

Managers and supervisors (especially in the Baby Boomer cohort) in almost every type and size of business have been known to lament the lack of loyalty and so-called business savvy in the Millennial generation.

  • “They want to be promoted too fast!”
  • “They don’t want to pay their dues!”
  • “They don’t understand how things work!”
  • “They want too much flexibility!”
  • “When things don’t go their way they quit!”
  • “Why won’t they stay?”

The bottom line is that organizations are finding it challenging to keep Millennials engaged and on the payroll.  In fact, with the average employment tenure of workers in the 20-24 year -old age group at 1.5 years (per the BLS), it’s challenging to keep all our employees engaged and the on the payroll.  (See my previous post on the Quits vs. Layoffs gap.  It might not be what you think!)

Achievers and Experience Inc. fielded their annual survey of graduating college students in January.  The data are eye opening.

Despite what we think we know about them, the vast majority of these about-to-enter-the-workforce Milllennials would really like to stay with their next (in most cases, first) employer for 5 years or longer!  Wait.  What?  Look at the chart below:

47% of the 8,000 college graduating respondents in the Achievers/Experience Inc. survey indicated that they expected to stay with their next employer five years or longer.  Note the language:  expect to stay not would like to stay!  That means when they join our organizations they have every expectation of making a career with us.  They’re not just accepting a job.  They’ve evaluated our EVP (Employer Value Proposition) as a match for the meaning they want to create in their lives through their work.  (Interesting to note that the biggest percentage of respondents expect to stay with their employer for 10+ years!)

So, OK.  This has got to be their youthful exuberance and relative inexperience speaking, right?  Well, I wonder if that really matters.

Employers need these Millennials.  Employers need these Millennials now.  Employers will need these Millennials more every day.  (See my recent post here.)

And employers need them to stay a whole lot longer than 1.5 years!

So what happens between “I expect to stay with my employer for 10 or more years…” and “…after one year with the organization I’m leaving for a better opportunity”?  I think we all know that answer to that question.

We don’t live up to the EVP we sold them.  We don’t engage Millennials the way they tell us they want to be engaged.  Instead, we…

  • make sure they fit into our existing career paths and job descriptions
  • focus on making sure they “pay their dues” – the way we did
  • keep our processes and rules rigid and unbending – and only pretend to listen when they offer up “different” ways of working
  • resist the notion that work can be done with excellence anywhere but in a cubicle
  • make it difficult for Millennials to interact with senior leaders
  • make it difficult for Millennials to collaborate with colleagues
  • designate social responsibility activities a perk instead of a foundational value
  • try to “lure” them to stay with tenure-based plaques and timepieces

These data are a wake-up call for employers.  It’s a message from our talent pipeline that they really do want to engage with us; they believe our employer brand marketing messages; they want to learn and grow with us.

It’s time to listen harder and make sure our employer brand messages aren’t experienced as bait and switch tactics.

I don’t know about you, but I’d hate for the Millennials to have such negative employment experiences at the beginning of their careers that they opt out of organizational life altogether before they’re 30.  We’d really be in a pickle then!

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Filed under Achievers, Baby Boomers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Business Success, China Gorman, Demographics, Employment Data, Engagement, Millennials, Rewards & Recognition, Student Job Search, Talent pipeline, U.S. Department of Labor