The LinkUp Blog The Industry's Best-Kept Secret
You wake up well rested and ready to tackle your day. You open up your work calendar to see what’s on your plate and you see back-to-back meetings the entire day. Will you have time to eat? Screw that, will you even have time to pee? One thing’s for sure: You certainly won’t have time to get any actual work done!
Workplace meetings have gotten out of control. Much like how your adorable kid transformed into a hormone-fueled monster once the teen years hit, meetings have changed from pleasant and productive to downright excruciating. Of course, some gatherings are essential, but American white collar culture has somehow taken the innocent meeting and turned it into a time-inflated money-suck that provides little overall value on the individual or company level.
The statistics are no laughing matter:
- There are 25 million meetings per day in the United States
- More than $37 billion per year is spent on unproductive meetings
- $338 is the average salary cost per meeting (this skyrockets when high-paid business leaders attend)
- Approximately 50 percent of meeting time is wasted
Meetings have become so prevalent yet redundant that people no longer take them seriously. Over 70 percent of people bring other work to meetings and 39 percent admit to dozing off. Apparently when you’re at a meeting you are either doing other work or taking a snooze. What you aren’t doing is having a productive meeting.
What can we do to reclaim meetings and make them what they should be? Here are five easy ideas for productive meetings. Really ask yourself if you’re doing these, and if not, try a fresh approach next time.
Consider not having a meeting: That’s right! The first step of productive meetings is to decide if one is really necessary. First define the goal. If a meeting isn’t necessary to achieve that goal, then no need to send out an invite.
Invite only those necessary: Meetings are wasted time when too many or too few people attend. If you need to make a decision, but the manager necessary to give sign-off isn’t there, the meeting is a failure. Likewise, a decision that only requires insight from three people should be attended by three people, not the entire department of 20.
Set an agenda: Create an agenda before the meeting starts. What’s more, email it to attendees or print it out to share at the meeting. That way everyone can stick to the plan and stay on topic.
Table off-topics: Some off-topic discussions are valuable, but just need to be shelved for a different time. If someone gets off topic, consider respectfully turning the conversation back to the agenda and goal at hand, and writing down the ideas to address at a later time.
Follow up the right way: A meeting isn’t over when the time is up. Often there are numerous to-do’s that emerge. You may want to send out a recap and list who’s responsible for next steps. Otherwise you might end up in a follow-up meeting discussing the exact same thing as last time.
Do you have any thoughts on the modern meeting? Please vent your hatred and share your tips for streamlining the meeting mess.
Your palms are sweaty. Your stomach has that light, unsettled feeling. Your mind races eagerly from thought to thought.
Fear is an innate part of the human experience and has been essential to our survival as a species for thousands of years. While fear keeps us from danger, it also can keep us from many other amazing experiences.
Recently I was asked to speak at a community networking event. I was honored to be asked and excited about the opportunity, but fear reared its ugly head. Like it is for many others, public speaking is outside my comfort zone. The thought of addressing a crowd full of people was overwhelming. Would I speak well? Would they learn from me? Could I inspire them?
Doubt sunk in. A flurry of negative thoughts raged through my mind, from stumbling over my words to physically stumbling over the podium. I had a choice: Give into fear and maintain the status quo, or challenge myself and give it my best.
I accepted the offer and decided not to let fear get in my way. To do the best job possible, I knew extensive preparation was essential. I took plenty of time to prepare my points, hone my message and practice out loud. I was nervous, but ready.
Ultimately the presentation went well and I got tons of great feedback. I’m glad I accepted the offer and tried something new. Like many people faced with a career challenge, it’s easy to take the comfortable path. However, when you do this — whether for public speaking, a big promotion or a move across the country — you’ll always wonder about the road less traveled.
The next time fear creeps up, rather than considering it a warning of impending failure, view it as a sign you’re on the right path. Some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and inventors attest fear isn’t always a warning of the negative; it’s often a signal that you’re on your way to success.
When facing doubt, it’s important to realize fear is not unique to you. Everyone experiences fear, even those you might feel are immune to it. Will Ferrell’s recent commencement speech for the University of Southern California made this point perfectly:
“You’re never not afraid. I’m still afraid. I was afraid to write this speech. And now, I’m just realizing how many people are watching me right now, and it’s scary. Can you please look away while I deliver the rest of the speech?” said Ferrell. “But my fear of failure never approached in magnitude my fear of what if. What if I never tried at all?”
For the graduates about to embark on a brand-new adventure he offers some advice that I think is fitting for just about anyone:
- Enjoy the process of your search without succumbing to the pressure of the result.
- Trust your gut.
- Keep throwing darts at the dartboard.
- Don’t listen to the critics and you will figure it out.
So next time you feel fear holding you back from trying something new — whether in your personal or professional life — I encourage you to push those feelings down and stomp them with your foot. Then be bold and see what happens. Chances are, you’ll succeed, and at the very least, you’ll be glad you tried.
But we weren’t the highest outlier…
The temperatures are rising as spring heats up, but the job market in Orange County, California, is cool as a cucumber.
Job openings in the 3rd most populous county in sunny California (behind Los Angeles and San Diego) hit a 3-year low in January 2017, with 18,200 open jobs listed in the LinkUp Index. After 3 years of fairly stable labor demand, this has many of the county’s 3 million-plus residents scratching their heads.
We dug into our most recent numbers to see what trends were emerging in hopes of garnering some insight. Because LinkUp only indexes jobs directly from employer websites — with daily updates of more than 3.5 million from over 30,000 employers — we know our numbers are accurate because they don’t include data pollution such as expired jobs, duplicate listings, and job scams.
We discovered the top industries for current job openings are retail, health care and accommodation/food service. Not surprisingly, the largest concentrations of job openings are in the larger cities in Orange County such as Irvine, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Orange and Costa Mesa.
Health care job openings: 16% of the jobs open in Orange County are in the health care industry. St. Joseph Health currently has the highest number of job openings in the county.
Retail job openings: 21% of the jobs open in Orange County are in the retail industry. PetSmart, for example, is 2nd behind St. Joseph Health in overall job openings in the county.
Accommodation and food service job openings: 13% of the jobs open in Orange County are in the accommodation and food service industries. Pizza Hut is currently ranked No. 5 for top job openings in the county.
These numbers closely reflect what’s happening in the state of California, but when you look at the big picture, there’s clearly a slowing trend. Government indexes show that starting late last year, Southern California’s metropolitan areas grew at their slowest pace since 2010, according to the The Orange County Register.
One reason is large employers are shifting strategies. In late 2014 there was a spike in Orange County job openings thanks to Boeing’s need to staff a new Engineering Design Center in the Long Beach area. Recent reports say change is on the horizon, with more than 2,400 jobs expected to be moved out of Boeing’s Huntington Beach facility over the next 4 years. This announcement essentially cuts the number of workers on that campus in half.
Beyond big business, there are other factors to consider as well. After a wet winter finally ended a 5-year drought, some people are blaming the rain for the sluggish job market, especially in industries like construction, retail and hospitality that are significantly impacted by weather.
“The last time growth was this slow was 5 years ago as the recovery from the recession was just beginning,” reports Jonathan Lansner of The Orange County Register.
Will this trend continue? We’ll have to see if the hot summer days warm the job market or if Orange County is in for a long-term job market cool-down.
It’s been on my ‘to-do’ list for a few NFP forecast blog posts, and for better or worse, I am going to highlight here a change to our NFP forecasting methodology. Not only is it a bit overdue, but it also conveniently gives me an excuse to punt on the blog post I should be writing on the current administration’s likely medium and long-term impact on the labor market which would require more hours than I currently have. So with the abbreviated pre-amble, I’ll jump into the minutiae of our NFP forecasting model and then touch on our NFP forecasts for both April and May.
We developed our initial model about 8 years ago when we started issuing non-farm payroll forecasts using job listings indexed exclusively from corporate career portals on company websites. At the time, we were indexing approximately 1 million jobs from about 10,000 company websites (we are currently indexing 3.5 million jobs from 30,000 companies). And because we were (and still very much are) continuously adding new companies and job openings, our forecasting methodology had to account for the upward bias inherent in a perpetually expanding dataset. To accomplish this, we used (and still use) a ‘paired-month’ methodology that compares new and total job growth from one month to the next using only those companies that are common between the two months being compared.
So using 2017 data for illustrative purposes, each month will end up having 2 data points each for both new and total jobs – the first time (t1) when we compare the current month to the prior month, and a second time (t2) a month later when the next month is compared to its prior month. So focusing on March in the table below, we get March (t1) new and total jobs on April 1st when we compare March to February, and we get March (t2) new and total jobs on May 1st when we compare March to April.
But the 2nd aspect of our methodology that we developed 8 years ago was to create an average of t1 and t2 for both new and total jobs for a given month. We used the average of t1 and t2 for a month for the sole purpose of smoothing out data anomalies that resulted from ‘scrapes’ that broke during the process of indexing jobs from applicant tracking systems used by companies to publish their jobs on their company websites. At the time, our scraping and indexing technology was far less sophisticated than it is today, and broken scrapes were frequent enough that they had a sufficiently material impact on the data. We were also a smaller company back in 2009 and had fewer resources dedicated to adding new companies so the pace of growth in the dataset was less than it is today and the ‘washing-out’ impact on the paired-month methodology by averaging t1 and t2 wasn’t that significant.
Over the subsequent 8 years, however, our company has grown considerably and we have made significant investments in the technology, people, tools, and systems around our jobs platform. While broken scrapes will always be an inherent aspect of our job market data, the frequency of breaks has diminished and we have added resources such that we can identify and repair broken scrapes much faster than in the past.
Even more importantly, the significant investments we’ve made in our platform has allowed us to increase the pace of adding new companies and job listings to the dataset, and that rate of growth itself is accelerating. As a result, the use of the average of t1 and t2 for new and total jobs has not only become less necessary, it has actually detracted from the model’s effectiveness in forecasting net job gains in the monthly non-farm payroll reports. Hence its elimination.
To be clear, we are still using a paired month methodology where we normalize or constrain the dataset to only include or count new and total job gains for a set of companies that were common between the two months being compared. So using the table below, we calculated new and total job gains in March on April 1st using a set of companies that were in the dataset in both February and March, and compared March relative to February. As highlighted in red below, new job gains in March rose by 121,79 or 15%. Total job gains rose by 159,572 or 7%.
The last step of our methodology averages the new and total job gains or losses in percentage terms which we then translate to net increase or decrease in job gains relative to the prior month’s net job gains. With approximately a 30-day lag between the time a company publishes a job opening on its company career portal and when that position is filled with a new hire, we use the February (t2) and March (t1) data to forecast net job gains in April. So for April’s forecast, the 11% average in new and total job gains in March (relative to February) equate to a forecasted NFP for April of 248,000.
The other benefit of eliminating the use of the average between t1 and t2 for a given month means that we don’t have to wait 30 days to get the 2nd data points (new and total jobs t2) for each month. As a result, we can now issue a preliminary ’60-day’ NFP forecast each month.
In the case of our data for April, as detailed in the table above, new jobs decreased by 5.2% from March, while total jobs rose by 0.4%. The average percentage change of -2.4% translates to a preliminary forecast for net job gains in May of 198,000 which the Bureau of Labor Statistics won’t announce until June 2nd (so it’s not technically a ’60-day’ forecast but rather a preliminary forecast for the current month).
The key thing to remember, however, is that our forecast for May (in this example a decrease of 50,000 from whatever NFP for April actually turns out to be), is based on the job gains relative to our forecast for April. Actual NFP for April won’t be released until BLS issues April’s Employment Situation Report on Friday (which they then revise on June 2nd and again on July 7th). In the case of our preliminary forecast for May, you can also wait until BLS issues its data for April and then subtract 50,000 to get our updated forecast for May.
So regardless of whether or not the explanation around how, why, or when we can now issues our preliminary forecast for May’s NFP, the data clearly shows that labor demand slowed to some extent in April – new job listings decreased 5% with decreases in 36 states, while total job gains stayed flat relative to March. Although 29 states showed gains in total jobs, total job gains for the country as a whole were up only 0.4%.
So putting it all together, we are forecasting job gains of 248,000 in April, a forecast well above consensus estimates. And for May, we are forecasting slightly less robust job gains of 198,000 – still a solid month of job gains but slightly lower than April. Broadly speaking, we see continued strength in the labor market through Q2 which should result in increased labor force participation rates and further gains in wages across the U.S. economy.
That sweet baby breath. The adorable little coos. The endless snuggles in your warm embrace. While being on parental leave is a lot of work, it’s these types of experiences that make it so incredibly special.
As the end of your leave nears and you prepare to head back to work, sadness and panic can set in. How are you supposed to leave this perfect little person to go back to the office?
I just returned to LinkUp after 12 weeks of maternity leave with my own adorable little man, so I know how tough it can be. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to ease the transition and become a rock-star working parent. Here are my top tips.
Return in the middle of the week
Heading back into a full workweek can be overwhelming. Consider starting in the middle of the week instead. Starting on a Wednesday, for example, means you have a few days to get back in the swing of things before taking on new projects the following week. Plus, you only have three work days until the weekend.
Identify and communicate your needs prior to returning
To ensure you have what you need to do your job as a parent and professional well, you must communicate these needs before you return. Do you need a lactation space? Companies are required to provide a private space by law. Do you need a later start time to accommodate day care schedules? Ask about shifting your hours. Most companies are willing to work with you to reasonably accommodate your needs, but you must speak up.
Consider returning part-time initially
If your company is subject to FMLA, both men and women are allowed job protection for 12 weeks after the birth or adoption of a child, but you don’t have to take it all at once. Consider intermittent FMLA to make the transition easier for the whole family. You may want to work four-hour days instead of eight, or, perhaps you and your partner can rotate taking two weeks off until you both have completed your FMLA. Ask your HR department and try to determine a schedule that works for everyone
Get to know your child care provider
If your new bundle of joy is going to a home day care or child care center, it can be scary. Countless parents have cried handing their babies off to “strangers” for the first time as they head back to work. You can cut down on the back-to-work blues by spending some time with your child care provider before your leave ends. Set up a few days to visit, observe and get comfortable with the routine and dynamic. You’ll feel better about drop-off when you know what to expect.
Make time to get organized
If you think you have a lot of email after being gone for a week of vacation, just imagine being out for 12 weeks! You’ll likely have loads of email to filter through, among many other things you’ll need to get up to speed on. Make sure you block off enough time to get organized so you can do your job well.
Be kind to yourself
Most importantly, manage your expectations and be kind to yourself. Shifting away from being with your baby 24/7 is hard at first, but it will make coming home at the end of the day more enjoyable than ever! Understand the transition will take time. Before you know it, you’ll be sailing through your days like the super mom or dad you really are.
I’m so thankful LinkUp afforded me the opportunity to enjoy maternity leave with my son Griffin, but I’m excited to be back working for the greatest job site on the web!
From the moment you’re plunged into the working world, the importance of networking is pounded into your head. Everyone has heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” and while you can’t be completely devoid of skill, having valuable connections can certainly make a difference in your career.
Networking, of course, is a leading way to make those important professional connections that can influence your career trajectory. In fact, a 2016 LinkedIn survey found that up to 85 percent of jobs are found by networking. Clearly it’s an important tool, but could we be doing it better?
I say it’s time we turn the traditional concept of networking on its head.
The heart of networking is really quite selfish. You’re connecting with others in hopes that it provides you personal gains in some way. It could be so you can get the inside scoop on job openings. It may be for a good reference. It might open speaking engagement opportunities or invitations to industry events.
Bottom line: It’s all about you.
Networking should be more than that. Sure there are benefits for you, but what about the other person? Sometimes the most satisfying and rewarding networking conversations are when you forgo your aspirations and goals to help someone else.
This is why reverse networking makes so much sense. Reverse networking is where you create networks where other people benefit from you. That’s right! You’re helping them out by being a sponsor, mentor or career confidant.
Beside the warm fuzzies that come from helping others, why would you take the time out of your busy schedule to do this? There are many reasons that make reverse networking a valuable tool in your career-building arsenal:
Boosts reputation: Want to be known as the smart, insightful, helpful professional who is the go-to in your respective field? Reverse networking can do wonders for your personal brand. It helps demonstrate you’re the whole package, with a generous heart to boot.
Proves leadership ability: Stepping in to help a colleague conveys leadership aptitude. What’s more, you show you can be trusted to assist when it’s needed most. Those are the characteristics that make a great boss and an effective company executive.
Word of mouth: Reverse networking is guerrilla marketing on a personal level. When you assist others, people may spread the good news. This positive word-of-mouth gets around, and all of a sudden your name is elevated in social and professional circles.
What goes around comes around: Reverse networking should never be done with any expectation of receiving something in return; however, when you scratch someone’s back, don’t be surprised when they willingly scratch yours. Karma is a good thing.
Lasting relationships: Being a trusted contact builds incredibly strong relationships. These aren’t the one-off meetings where you chat and part ways. You’ll enjoy deep, meaningful connections with people who will positively impact your professional life for decades.
See the value? Today I challenge you to try reverse networking. Seek out a new relationship or start a conversation with the primary goal being to help someone else. Take a chance on them. When you stop focusing on yourself and start focusing more on others, I think you’ll find the rewards you get from the experience to be outstanding.
You don’t have to be in HR to see the employment landscape is evolving in new and profound ways. What’s referred to as the “gig economy” is changing how companies hire and employees work. But is this movement gaining momentum or has it started to fizzle?
First, let’s chat about what exactly the gig economy is. At LinkUp we define the gig economy as a marketplace where short-term, on-demand employment is common for a workforce comprised of independent contractors (aka contingent workers, gigsters, or freelancers).
By 2020, 40 percent of U.S. workers will be freelancers, according to Intuit’s 2020 Report. In fact, right now a third of workers would think about leaving full-time employment to pursue work as an independent contractor, as per a ReportLinker survey. The autonomy, flexibility and appeal of work-life balance just can’t be ignored.
Technology is a main influencing factor in gig economy growth, as fewer workers will report to a brick-and-mortar office, relying instead on working in the cloud. Numerous companies have gone 100 percent remote, removing location barriers in order to hire top talent worldwide. One such company is Zapier, which offers employees up to $10,000 to move wherever they want.
The positives of the gig economy are plentiful. For businesses, it means the ability to get talent quickly and when it’s needed most. What’s more, that talent can come at a much lower cost than a traditional full-time hire. Essentially, it’s the fast-food version of employment, and for some industries — such as statistical analysis, graphic design, transportation and translation services — it’s a fantastic option.
However, despite the positives, there are drawbacks. One of the most notable is gig workers tend to be less committed to the company mission and culture. This isn’t surprising considering a “gig” is temporary, so a worker is only willing to invest so much time and energy beyond the actual work at hand. A weaker culture can have inherent long-term recruitment difficulties.
In researching the new LinkUp white paper “The Gig Economy: The Future or the Falsehood?” we found conflicting statistics about the size of the gig economy. This is likely because gig work is subject to increases and decreases based on demand. If you believe this movement is inflated or just a fad, it doesn’t matter. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon and will affect you at some point, if it hasn’t already.
For recruiters and hiring managers, this can seem like a logistical nightmare. However, the recruitment strategy in the gig economy has many commonalities with traditional recruitment. While the position, benefits and relationships have changed, recruitment is still a people business. Bottom line: You have a need to fill.
Furthermore, you’ll continue to have needs to fill, so keep an eye on the future. Keep building up your network of potential employees, just start incorporating the gig economy mindset too. Build a ready-to-go on-demand talent team, including new and traditional workers. Your ability to adapt to the new challenges and opportunities ahead will remain vital and allow you to thrive.
Want to know more about what industries are embracing the gig economy? Need more insight about recruitment strategies to utilize? Download the white paper »
With last month’s Employment Situation report and the BLS’ final revision to December’s jobs numbers, we can finally close the chapter on Obama’s legacy relating specifically to job growth during his two terms as President. His impact on the economy will likely and hopefully extend well beyond his two terms, but for the moment, and before turning to March’s non-farm payroll forecast, it’s worth briefly revisiting how remarkable job growth has been over the past 6+ years.
Much has been and will continue to be written about Obama Administration’s incredibly deft handling of the Great Recession he inherited and his lasting impact on the U.S. economy and the labor market, and I won’t presume to add much of anything new here, but a few charts are worth reposting if for no other reason than to highlight yet again how remarkable the past 6 years have been as far as job growth goes and to provide some context as we transition into Trump’s stewardship of the economy and what will become his record on jobs.
Since October of 2010, the U.S. economy has shown positive job growth for 75 straight months.
Looking at annual job gains shows both the magnitude of the job losses in 2009 during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression as well as the steady recovery orchestrated by the Obama Administration despite brutal resistance and nihilistic opposition by Republicans in Congress at every turn.
And of course, we have to post, one last time, the infamous chart from Calculated Risk that shows better than any other chart from the Great Recession, just how brutal the crisis was that Obama can rightly take all the credit for digging us out of…
There can, will, and should be a great deal of debate about the quality of the jobs that were created and what more might have been done to better address wildly alarming income inequality that has accelerated over the last decade or longer, but suffice it to say that the Obama Administration can rightly take credit for an economy that is in phenomenal shape and a Full Employment labor market that should continue to generate steady job gains and rising wages.
And looking at the growth in job openings in LinkUp’s job search engine in February and March, that is precisely what we can expect for at least the next few months. In February, new and total job openings on corporate websites each rose more than 16%. And because job openings are highly correlated to job growth in future periods, we are forecasting that February’s increase in job openings will result in net job gains of 260,000 in March.
And in March, new and total job openings rose 15% and 7% respectively with gains throughout the entire country.
Equally as encouraging, average Job Duration across LinkUp’s database of jobs (roughly 3.4 million jobs indexed daily from 30,000 company websites) dropped from 53 days in February to 50 days in March, indicating increased velocity in hiring.
So while the already-raging debate about who deserves credit for the 2017 economy will inevitably heat up in the months ahead, at least we can take solace in the fact that the argument is, at least for the time being, centered around good news.
In life there are always reasons why something didn’t happen. You didn’t get a job because a younger candidate will work for less. Your big idea wasn’t considered because you’re just entry level. You didn’t get a promotion because you’re a woman and your company is run by an all-male board.
But what if the problem isn’t life? What if it’s you constantly reaching for an excuse?
Everyone has circumstances they can’t control, and unfortunately workplace biases and hurdles exist that likely won’t go away anytime soon. Rather than limiting ourselves based on preconceived beliefs, what if we strive to give it 110 percent in order to break down barriers and really support each other to get ahead?
It may require some guts in order to get the glory, but for every excuse there is also an inspiring story of someone who didn’t let their sex, job or personal situation hold them down.
Go beyond your job title
What does a janitor have to do with Frito-Lay’s top-selling snack? Everything, thanks to a man who didn’t let his job title stifle his potential. Richard Montanez was a high-school dropout who worked as a janitor at the Frito-Lay plant in California. The company president called for employees to “act like an owner” and Montanez took it to heart.
After a machine broke down, he took some non-cheese-dusted Cheetos home and made a spicy creation based on a Mexican street snack called elote. With encouragement from family, he scored a meeting with company executives. After buying a $3 tie and preparing diligently for weeks, he gave his presentation. The executives loved it. Today he’s executive vice president of multicultural sales and community activation for PepsiCo’s North American divisions.
Lesson: Don’t let your job title hold you down. Some of the best innovation comes from the most unlikely people. Age is just a number, and your title is just letters.
Don’t let circumstances define you
Imagine being a single mother who is jobless, penniless and living just one step above poverty thanks to government assistance. You’re depressed and have even thought about suicide. But you have a love of books and you continue to write nearly every day. After completing your novel, you send it to loads of publishers only to get rejection letters.
Then suddenly, one says yes. The book wasn’t just a hit, it was a sensation. This is the rags-to-riches story of J.K. Rowling, whose passion for writing got her through some pretty tough times, and ultimately led her to extreme success.
Lesson: We all have bad days, weeks, years. Often these difficulties are out of your control. The key is to not let them control who you truly are. Rowling could have easily given up and become a stereotype, but she didn’t.
These are just two of countless inspirational stories about overcoming limitations. Thinking beyond stereotypes for yourself and others not only allows you to achieve true greatness, but helps everyone be better. When we lift each other up, we can all enjoy even more success together.