The LinkUp Blog The Industry's Best-Kept Secret
Let’s begin with the indisputable fact that the nation’s already-weak labor market has been getting weaker for some time. There are a number of massive structural forces contributing to what unquestionably has been the weakest recovery from any recession since WWII. Among them are the depth and breadth of the Great Recession, continued productivity gains employers are reaping from technology, the ongoing seismic shift from a manufacturing economy to a services and information-based economy, globalization, and the accelerating deterioration of U.S. education and hence its workforce.
But while all of those are, without a doubt, significant factors, the single biggest influence on the state of the economy and the anemic jobs market that we are ALL suffering through is the insanity of the Republicans in the House of Representatives. As I described in a post on October 1st, the Austeriots (austerity-obsessed idiots) led by Ted Cruz (aka Heisenberg) have taken the country hostage and are hell-bent on dragging everyone into their suicidal death pact. It increasingly appears as if their strategy is to drive the USS Economy into a massive iceberg, sink the entire ship, and force the 99% to fend for themselves in the arctic waters of poverty and misery while the 1% escape in their G-Vs.
And at the moment, their plan is clearly working.
Between Q1 and Q3 of this year, the number of quarterly jobs gained in the U.S. economy dropped 21%, falling 12% in Q2 and another 10% in Q3. (I’m ignoring for the moment the delusional BLS data from October which I’ll get to later).
This data perfectly matches the data we’ve seen on LinkUp’s job search engine since the beginning of the year. The chart below depicts a 50/50 blended average of new and total job openings on LinkUp each month since February of this year. Since the gain of 13% in February, the number has dropped to a decline of 7% in November.
As background, LinkUp is the largest and fastest growing job search engine on the web. Totally unique to the space, we are the only job search engine that only indexes jobs found on company websites. We currently have 1.7 million real jobs from 40,000 corporate websites. What that means is that we have the largest search engine of the highest quality job listings on the web. Every job on LinkUp is guaranteed to be current because the index is updated every night, and there are no duplicate listings because we only index jobs from a single source – the employer’s website itself. Most importantly, we have completely eliminated the garbage that pollutes job boards and job board aggregators such as Indeed and Simplyhired. That garbage includes things like old, expired listings, job scams, work-at-home scams, lead gen garbage, fraud, identity theft, and money mule positions, for example. As a result, we deliver to job seekers (and hence employers) the best user experience and the highest quality job site on the web today. And it is the unique quality of our index that also provides us with the cleanest data set in the market with which to forecast job growth in the U.S.
The raw LinkUp data for job openings by state in November, while slightly better than the numbers above, still gives ample cause for concern. (Because of our ‘paired-month’ methodology, each month gets 2 data points each for new and total job openings so November’s numbers above are compared to the average of the 2 October numbers, while the numbers in the table below use only the 2nd data point for October). In any event, November’s raw data showed no increase whatsoever in either new or total job openings.
What is disconcerting is that when you remove the temporary job listing growth due to holiday hiring (as indicated below in the Retail category), new job listings in the U.S. declined 5% in November, while total job listings declined 2%. The actual numbers are most likely even a bit worse given holiday hiring in other areas like shipping and receiving, transportation (i.e., UPS and FedEx, etc.), and other temporary positions related to the holidays.
So no matter how you cut it, the data we’re seeing in our index paints a dismal picture for hiring in the months ahead. And looking back to September and October’s LinkUp data, we are forecasting a very negative jobs report Friday morning from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. First, we are predicting that October’s unbelievable gain of 204,000 jobs are just that – unbelievable. With the 6.4% decline we saw in our September LinkUp Data, we are anticipating a massive downward revision to a gain of only 65,000 jobs last month. (Keep in mind that we might not see the full revision until 30 days from now when the Employment Situation Report for December is released in early January in which the BLS will likely release a 60-day revision for October’s numbers).
If October’s numbers are as horrible as we believe them to be, we are forecasting that the economy actually lost jobs in November for the first time since September, 2010. With the 5.6% decline in new and total job listings in the LinkUp index in October, we predict that the U.S. showed a net loss of 25,000 jobs in November. And while we need another data point for November next month (the 2nd in our paired-month methodology mentioned previously), our preliminary assessment for December does not look any better with another net loss of 50,000 jobs.
So while food stamp rolls and the number of Americans living below the poverty line keep rising, while tens of millions of Americans struggle to eke out a meager existence and support their families on minimum wage, and while the long-term jobless sink into further despair, the Austeriots not only obstinately refuse, under the guise of fiscal discipline, to lift a helping hand but continue to aggressively set flame to the social safety net. Unemployment benefits are reduced, the food stamp program gets slashed, payroll taxes go up, schools crumble, tuitions get hiked, bridges collapse, cities go bankrupt, and children go to bed hungry. What a Christmas it’ll be for millions and millions and millions and millions of Americans. Think about that. Seriously – think about that for even just a few minutes. And if you need help thinking about it, read this article: Life on $7.25 an Hour.
And the worst part of what is happening in the country right now is that while all this misery and despair is crushing so many people, arguably because of it, corporate profits have reached epic levels, corporate balance sheets have never contained so much cash, and the stock market is setting record highs seemingly every week. The USS Economy may be sinking, but rest assured that those G-Vs are all fueled up and ready to go.
Thanksgiving embodies everything a holiday should – family and friends, good conversation, great food, and many reminders of why we all have a lot to be grateful for. But every year it seems like Thanksgiving fades away a little bit more in our society, so much so that we are getting to the point of skipping right from Halloween to Christmas.
One of the biggest trends with retailers is opening earlier and earlier for holiday bargain shopping. Just a few years ago, shoppers would wake in the wee hours of the morning on Black Friday to hunt for the best deals. Fast forward to today and it’s basically a competition between retailers to see which can open the earliest on Thanksgiving Day without offending anyone.
Here are some popular stores that will be open Thanksgiving Day this year:
• Target opens at 8 p.m.
• Best Buy opens at 6 p.m.
• Macy’s opens at 8 p.m.
• Old Navy 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with many reopening at 7 p.m.
• Walmart specials start at 6 p.m. with many stores open 24 hours a day
The National Retail Federation estimates 140 million shoppers will be looking for the perfect gifts during the four-day Thanksgiving weekend (Thurs. – Sun.). This year is unique because Thanksgiving falls as late as possible in November, cutting out valuable shopping days which may affect retailer’s year-end projections.
I enjoy a good bargain as much as the next guy or gal, but I also love to spend time with my family, and there are few things that can motivate me to give up those priceless moments with my loved ones. Everyone should have the opportunity to spend time with their family on Thanksgiving Day, and skipping off to your local retailer to get a deal undermines the whole meaning of a holiday meant to focus on thanks and goodwill.
If you’re a diehard shopper looking for a day-of deals, an alternative that allows you to stay with your next of kin and bypass the long lines is the Internet. Many retailers are recognizing the growing trend of online holiday shopping and are offering amazing deals in addition to big Cyber Monday promotions. Plus, you can shop in your comfy fuzzy slippers! The stores will always be there on Black Friday anyway.
November and December holiday consumer sales are expected to top $602.1 billion, according to estimates from the National Retail Federation, a 3.9 percent increase over 2012. More shoppers means the need for more retail seasonal staff, right? Yes and no.
Holiday hiring did get off to its strongest start since its heyday in 1999. According to a Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. report that analyzes the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data, October saw its best holiday hiring numbers in 14 years. The 159,500 net new jobs in retail in October is a 6.7 percent increase from last year. October 2012 saw a 149,400 increase.
While October hiring numbers were strong, the biggest test will be in November, when the bulk of holiday hiring occurs and the holiday spending season hits its stride. According to several reports, many of the country’s big retailers are approaching holiday hiring with caution.
A Star Tribune business article noted these anticipated reductions in holiday hires from leading retailers:
• Target: 70,000 vs. 88,000 in 2012
• Kohl’s: 50,000 vs. 53,000 in 2012
• J.C. Penny: 35,000 vs. 40,000 in 2012
Not all holiday hiring by big retailers is down though, some plan to stay the same or slightly increase their anticipated holiday hires from last year:
• Walmart: 55,000 vs. 50,000 in 2012
• Macy’s: 83,000 vs. 80,000 in 2012
• Toys R Us: 45,000 – same as in 2012
Worth noting, Amazon is expected to increase its holiday hires by a whopping 20,000 people – from 50,000 holiday hires last year to 70,000 this year – an indicator of consumer’s increased use of the Internet for their holiday shopping needs.
Now that we are smack dab in the middle of November, holiday hiring across the country is trending on LinkUp, from both big retailers and more modest specialty stores. With thousands of seasonal jobs available, we’re excited to help retailers connect with the seasonal talent they need to have a successful holiday season. We know that just because the color red is the theme for most holiday décor, retailers want to end the year in the black, a more festive color when it comes to balancing the books.
She works in IT. He has a job in marketing. She is a sales manager. When your parents are asked what you do for a living, are these the kind of vague answers they give? While they may know what your job is in general, it’s unlikely that they really comprehend what you do each day. This generational lack of understanding is becoming the norm.
In the age of social media, mobile devices and ever-changing technology, job responsibilities can be vastly different for a particular position even within a few years’ period. Parents of adult children may not comprehend some jobs and the responsibilities – some of which didn’t even exist just a decade ago.
In fact, according to a LinkedIn survey, approximately one-third (35 percent) of parents do not fully understand what their children do for a living. Does this sound like your parents?
Now at this point you might be nodding your head yes, but wondering why it really matters if your parents understand your job. Well, your parents – whether retired or not – have great career advice to give. After years of experience, they are bound to have a few nuggets of wisdom, right? Furthermore, it’s all about building your network. Once your parents comprehend what you really do all day, the light bulb may turn on as they realize they know others who are in a similar industry or have similar responsibilities. Boom – you just drastically expanded your professional circle.
And of course, what better way is there to bond with mom and pop than invite them into your world? Not the world of giggling kids or holiday celebrations, but your professional world where you are making dedicated contribution to an organization.
Born from these ideas comes Bring Your Parents to Work Day. You read it right – a real day where workers are encouraged to bring their parents to work for part of all of the work day. LinkedIn has even officially designated the day to be today, Nov. 7, in which companies from around the world are inviting workers’ parents in to learn more about what their children do each and every day.
You may remember a time or two visiting your parents at work, being fascinated by the environment and the people they work with. You may have even participated in Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day – which just celebrated 20 years last April. Whether in an official capacity or just a casual afternoon at the office, you likely learned a lot and found a new appreciation for what your parents did. Likewise, this new day provides the same opportunity for your parents now that you’re a career go-getter.
So next time you talk with your parents, ask them what you do for a job. You might be surprised at the answer. Then invite them to visit you at work – even if it’s a long lunch and walk around the office to meet your colleagues. You might be surprised at the new-found respect they have for your career and professional goals.
As we reported last month, LinkUp’s job openings data from September painted pretty dismal picture of the nation’s labor market, continuing a highly disconcerting trend that began in February of month over month percentage declines in new and total job openings in LinkUp’s job search engine. In September, new and total job openings, which are indexed from over 40,000 company websites throughout the U.S., dropped 6.4% from August. Other than a brief uptick in July, the month-over-month gains in job openings since February have slowed at a whiplash-inducing rate, finally coming to a screeching halt and surpassing -5% last month.
The declines we’ve seen in the LinkUp index since February have presciently foretold exactly what’s happened over the course of the year as quarterly job growth reported by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics has declined considerably.
Unfortunately, as a result of September’s brutal numbers, we are forecasting Job growth in October of a paltry 80,000 jobs. And despite the fact that the number is positive, no one should lose sight of the fact that these are horrible, horrible numbers. As we wrote last month, Ted Cruz (aka Heisenberg) and his brainless Austeriots (austerity-obsessed idiots) have killed this recovery in as cold-blooded and heartless a manner as any of Heisenberg’s horrific killings. It is beyond explanation what the tea party is doing in Washington these days and the bloody end to the civil war in the Republican Party, with the tea party inevitably being obliterated, cannot happen soon enough.
Looking ahead to our forecast for job growth next month, we predict that job gains will rise ever so slightly to a net gain of 125,000 jobs in November. Our forecast is based on our jobs data from October in which new job openings on LinkUp rose 4% and the total number of job openings stayed level to the prior month. While the blended average represents only a slight gain from September, the positive numbers are an improvement. Even more encouraging is the fact that 33 states saw gains in new job openings.
The data is almost identical for jobs by category, with new job openings rising 4% from September, total job openings staying level, and 26 of 31 categories showing gains in new job openings.
I still have 4 episodes left of Breaking Bad and have done well to stay oblivious to how the series ends. But I am seriously hoping that Walter gets taken out in a manner appropriate to the carnage he’s wrought over the course of 5 seasons. Similarly, I have no idea how the catastrophe that is the tea party will finally end, but I’d like to hope that its virtually certain demise will appropriately match the senseless pain, suffering, and destruction it’s inflicted on the nation.
As background, Linkup is the largest and fastest growing job search engine on the web. Totally unique to the industry, we are the only job search engine that only indexes jobs found on company websites. Right now we have 1.7 million jobs from 40,000 company websites. What that means is that we have nearly 2 million real jobs from real companies. They are always current because the index is updated every night, and there are no duplicate listings because we only index jobs from a single source – the employer’s website itself. And most importantly, we have completely eliminated the garbage that pollutes job boards and job board aggregators like Indeed and Simplyhired. That garbage includes things like old, expired listings, job scams, work-at-home scams, lead gen garbage, fraud, identity theft, money mule positions – all the things that are destroying online job sites. We’ve eliminated every single one of those things, and as a result, we deliver to job seekers the highest quality job site with the best user experience on the web today. Period. What that means for employers and agencies is that we offer the strongest value proposition in the industry, delivering job applicants at the lowest cost per applicant. And I can certainly go into tons of detail about how and why we accomplish that, but everything we do rests on our singular mission to be the best job site on the web for both job seekers and employers.
As we continue to grow and work hard toward our goal of becoming the best job search engine around, LinkUp is lucky to have the opportunity to hire awesome new employees. That’s why we are very excited to announce that Stephanie Anderson is joining us as the new marketing communications strategist.
Stephanie has an impressive background working as a strategy consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton, public affairs officer for the US Air Force Reserve, and most recently, a human resource manager at Target. Her broad experience in a variety of industries is sure to help the marketing team blaze new trails and surpass our goals.
As an extremely dynamic technology company in the talent acquisition and recruitment advertising space, we received a lot of impressive resumes for the open position. Not only did Stephanie’s experience stand out, but her genuine passion and professionalism were apparent throughout the interview process. We are happy to welcome her to the team!
Stephanie will help with various tactical aspects of marketing, sales and business development. She will work across departments to provide strategic planning, including marketing outreach in both B2B and B2C. She will also be working hard to improve our College Ambassador Program, enhance our social media strategies, and make our sales/client experience even better, among a variety of other responsibilities.
She’s going to be busy, but we have no doubt she will hit the ground running and be a great addition to our quickly expanding workplace family.
Traditionally, mentoring involves senior employees guiding younger people by providing insight to help them advance their career. But in a world of ever-changing global outreach and fast-paced digital media, executives are taking a few notes from youthful talent through unique reverse mentoring programs.
What exactly is reverse mentoring? Boiled down, it’s the pairing of the top brass at an organization with younger employees in the hopes that executives can learn more about things like social media, new technology trends and unconventional methods for reaching consumers – things that might come as second nature to savvy youth.
I would argue that a better name for the pairing would be reciprocal mentoring. It’s not only the managers who learn about new trends to prepare for the future, but younger employees get key one-on-one time with executives who can teach them more about business and industry fundamentals. In the end, it should be mutually beneficial for both parties.
When done right, the benefits of reciprocal mentoring are numerous. In addition to knowledge gained, deeper relationships are formed among employees, creating a stronger team environment. Plus, in high-turnover industries, it promotes loyalty in younger employees. Young people feel like they are valued, which in return encourages them to stay at their place of employment and work harder.
Keeping an open mind is key when implementing a reciprocal mentoring program. Don’t be surprised when some managers balk at the idea that the younger crew can teach them a thing or two about business. Rather than focusing on generational differences as a negative thing, it should be viewed as a positive, because within those differences are numerous career lessons that can be learned. With the right mindset, everyone can learn and grow, and business can benefit in the process.
Trust and respect should be at the center of any reciprocal mentoring program. Here are some factors to consider when implementing a program:
- Be dedicated: Both people must be dedicated for the program to work and have a positive outcome. Decide how often you want to meet, for how long, and what you’d like to discuss. For example, meet once a week for coffee or twice a month for lunch.
- Define expectations: Both people should be clear about what they’d like to gain from the mentoring partnership and what they expect from the meetings.
- Listen and learn: Because both people need to learn as well as teach, clear communication should be at the center of all meetings. Be candid yet respectful. A genuine interest in learning and willingness to listen is important.
Does your organization have a reverse/reciprocal mentoring program? Tell us more about it in the comments section.
Do you think of introverts as being shy wallflowers and extroverts as being social go-getters? This generalized thinking is a bit off.
Without getting too deep into the human psyche, a better description of introverts is people that recharge when they spend time alone. These people find it draining to spend too much time in the company of others. Extroverts are the opposite in that they find it energizing to spend time with others and are drained by long periods of solidarity. It’s really all about how a person’s brain refuels.
On the surface, it might seem that extroverts would have an edge in the workplace. A lively, outgoing personality makes a great first impression, right? Because each personality type operates a bit differently, they may excel in different areas of work, but that doesn’t mean that one person is going to be more successful than the other. After all, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln and Audrey Hepburn are all highly successful people who have been described as introverts.
Defining if you’re an introvert or extrovert isn’t black and white, according to an article on FastCompany.com. Most people fall somewhere in between, with tendencies one way or the other. In fact, a person who is equally introverted and extroverted is considered an ambivert.
So at what areas do introverts and extroverts excel in the workplace?
Extroverts typically enjoy working with colleagues or in a customer-facing position. They tend to dive right into new projects and appreciate a team-oriented atmosphere. Leaders can better manage extroverts by encouraging their enthusiasm, keeping an active dialog about work assignments, and providing task choices when possible.
Introverts tend to focus and get the most done when they work independently or in small groups. They like to observe and take adequate time to think before tackling a project to ensure it’s done the right way. Managers can encourage introverted employees by giving them a high level of independence, respecting their need for privacy and involving them in advance planning of new projects.
A productive workforce is typically made up of both introverted and extroverted employees. While some jobs may lend themselves better to one type or the other, it’s a blend of both that makes a company successful.
Insightful, strategic, exciting – after returning from the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas Oct. 8-10, we’re even more revved up about the future of the industry and LinkUp’s place within it.
LinkUp exhibited at the conference this year and met with a ton of highly intelligent folks who shared their experiences and thoughts on big industry trends. From top-notch learning experiences to practical takeaways, there’s a reason this is one of the biggest conferences in the industry, and definitely one of my favorites this year.
So what are some of the hot topics that people were buzzing about? Here is a small sample of what we heard throughout the conference:
HR talent tools – That annual review may become a thing of the past as new technologies allow management to review and monitor employee productivity in real time. Before employees panic over a “big brother” scenario, it’s important to note that not only do these tools let management monitor people who aren’t a good fit, but they also allow them to recognize those who are and reward them on a regular basis.
Mobile is here to stay – More precisely, mobile is here to stay and growing at enormous rates. Armed with smartphones and tablets, mobile devices are quickly replacing desktops as a main resource for searching and applying for jobs. Sites that aren’t mobile-friendly will quickly become archaic, especially in the minds of leading talent.
People love their analytics – It’s one thing to say something, but it’s a whole other to have proof. Analytics provide the data people need to help them understand on a more meaningful level. A quality analytics offering should collect and sort critical data with ease, but also be simple to access and understand by numerous departments.
The social media boom – Once criticized as just hype, it appears social media is growing exponentially. It’s a great way to find talent, foster relationships and even engage with employees. It’s a modern tool that should not be ignored, and one that is likely to continue to evolve, so stay active and alert.
If you attended the HR Tech Conference, what did you think? What were the key topics you found to be particularly interesting?
The best tip I can give college students/young job seekers is to utilize whatever resources your college provides you with, however minimal they may be. Maybe you have a listserv for your major that sends out daily or weekly emails. Do you actually read them? It could be that major-specific job positions will be in your inbox and you don’t even know it! What about your career centers social media pages or online webpage? I know a lot of other universities utilize these tools and they offer a great way to keep up-to-date on what they can provide you in terms of support, connections, and advice.
I have already mentioned career fairs as a way to get to know what is out there, but if you don’t feel like you got a true sense of what the company is all about, don’t worry! That’s normal. But the next step is to look into any opportunity that piqued your interest in any way. This means research them; find out what they do, and who they do it with; find out if you know anyone who has worked there and what their experience is; and look into if there are opportunities to make a personal connection with anyone there.
Here at Northwestern, certain companies set up “Coffee Chats” in order for students to get a chance to meet with individuals at specific companies, ask questions, and establish a relationship that can be the difference between getting the job and having your resume tossed away.
My advice: Look into what resources are available to you and use them!
Look for an upcoming post in which I will detail what the Northwestern career center offers, specifically, how I plan to use it, and how that applies to you, the job seeker!