The LinkUp Blog The Industry's Best-Kept Secret
Hop on Facebook and you’re likely inundated with posts about essential oils, nail wraps and weight-loss products. You’d expect these to come from advertisers, but these days they are probably coming from friends and other personal connections.
Welcome to the age of multi-level marketing.
“Also known as network marketing,” according to the Better Business Bureau, “MLM is a system of retailing in which consumer products are sold by independent salespeople (distributors). Earnings in MLM are based on effort and ability to sell consumer products supplied to the distributor by the company.”
MLMs like Pampered Chef, Beach Body, YoungLiving and Stella & Dot serve an important role in the employment landscape. An estimated one in seven U.S. households include someone involved in direct sales. For people who are ambitious yet require a flexible schedule, these might offer an appealing opportunity. As Sheryl Sandberg encourages women to lean in, it’s no surprise that participants skew female.
Do the constant sales posts get annoying? Sometimes. But when it comes to people you love and respect, you want them to succeed. You may even be a fan of some of the products and happily support their business. Even so, skepticism has probably left you wondering whether they really make any money.
The unfortunate truth is few MLM people make enough money to really impact their budget. In general, it’s the top 1 percent who earn a significant amount of money, and that takes many years of hard work networking and building up the business. If you want to know more about typical rep incomes, look at the financial disclosures on the company website.
Bottom line: Most people are not getting rich selling MLM products, and it certainly isn’t happening overnight.
What’s arguably most concerning is that too many people are signing up for these programs — which typically require an initial investment of $100–500 — without really understanding what’s needed to succeed. Not only do you need to sell products every month, but you must build a team that’s enthusiastic and effective because you get a small cut of their sales. That’s right, you’ll be trying to get your friends to sign up, too.
All of a sudden, MLMs are starting to feel like pyramid schemes and look notoriously similar to a job scams.
While you will find corporate jobs for these companies on LinkUp (hello, salary and benefits!), you won’t find listings to become an MLM rep. That’s because we promise to never include duplicate, fake, or scam job listings, and most MLM opportunities feature several of the job scam red flags we caution, such as requiring payment to assume the position, being offered the job without question, and unrealistic promises of amazing things.
Does that mean you should avoid the allure of an MLM opportunity? That’s an entirely personal decision. If you are interested in joining an MLM to supplement your income, you must do your research, understand your responsibilities and have realistic expectations. That’s the only way to wisely decide if it’s a career path you’d like to pursue.
Kids across the country are back at school, and that means millions of parents are child-free once again during the day. For some, starting a new job is now an attractive option. The school day, however, doesn’t coincide with traditional business hours, which means parents must choose between putting kids in extended-day care or continuing to not work.
An emerging employment trend may be just the solution to this parenting dilemma — “Mother’s hours,” which employers are offering more frequently. These jobs feature flexible hours that often mirror when children are in school, like from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., for example. This structure allows caregivers to maintain a career and still be there for their kids when they get on and off the school bus.
This movement is proving to be a win for employers, too. Because most of the country is in full-employment mode, a talent shortage is stressing many industries. Consider a professional mom who took five years off to raise her babies. Previously she worked 12 years as an analyst in the finance sector, and now she wants to use her skills again but she doesn’t want the typical full-time hours. There is a great opportunity for an employer to gain a highly skilled employee by offering flexible hours.
This isn’t an option for every business, of course, but when possible these hours can be really enticing to a large, valuable section of the workforce, providing a great competitive advantage. Companies that participate can build a strong team while creating a fantastic brand reputation. Employees become brand ambassadors and, all of a sudden, the talent pipeline is full with candidates coming to you.
Countless studies have shown that work-life balance is huge right now. When employees feel their employer genuinely prioritizes this balance, they are more engaged and productive at work. What’s more, they stick around. We all know the astronomical cost that comes with replacing an employee. When good employees stay, though, you don’t have to dump money into recruiting or training new ones.
Finally, when employees work a part-time schedule, benefits can be adjusted accordingly. You may get top talent at a bargain price because you not only avoid taking on a full-time salary, but you don’t have to offer traditional full-time benefits such as PTO or 401(k). That’s not to say you shouldn’t offer some perks, but they may not necessarily be the same as what’s offered to full-time staff.
For employers looking to take advantage of this trend, start by integrating the proper terms into job postings. For example, McDonald’s currently has multiple openings associated with the term “mother’s hours.” I’d argue, though, that you should update your keywords and use “parents’ hours,” as fathers may be just as interested in flexible schedules as mothers. Why limit your potential reach with a single word?
Do you think companies would attract more candidates if they were to offer these types of opportunities when possible? Is this the solution to the ongoing talent shortage? Please share your thoughts.
For years the average U.S. citizen has been hearing headlines about economic improvement after the Great Recession. Yet for many, it hasn’t felt that way. Stagnant income has meant less purchasing power as the cost of living has continued to rise. As companies have celebrated gains, employees have been feeling left behind.
A new report shows things are changing for the average American household. Reuters recently reported Census Bureau data that shows 2015 income levels increased dramatically. In fact, “median household income surged 5.2 percent last year to $56,500, the highest since 2007, in large part due to solid employment gains. The jump was the biggest since record keeping began in 1968,” states the report.
What’s more, these increases are being experienced by virtually everyone. Nearly every age group for household heads felt increases, as well as most racial groups. What’s more, further gains are expected in 2017.
This is great news for the American worker, but how does it affect employers? Well, it backs up what we have been saying for a while: America is in full-employment mode. This means the labor supply in many markets is tight. The challenge to attract and keep top talent becomes more fierce every day.
How can companies successfully recruit in this battleground landscape? They need to go the extra mile to come out on top. Here are some strategies that will help you win the talent war.
Recruitment marketing is the pre-applicant activity you use to build brand awareness as an employer to stimulate interest in becoming an employee. Savvy organizations have adopted a Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) strategy to deliver their recruitment marketing message. HR will need to partner with marketing to create a robust plan that incorporates powerful strategies, such as creating quality content, social outreach, email automation and re-targeting initiatives.
The application experience
Once candidates are interested in a company, it’s essential to have an excellent application process and candidate experience in place. A clunky, uninformative or time-consuming experience will cause them to turn to competitors. Stock the career page with valuable information. Make sure the application process is headache-free, including on mobile. Maintain clear messaging and good communication about next steps so applicants feel empowered.
Create an amazing interview process
Consider delivering a standard communication package to candidates a few days before their interview with important background documents to ease preparation. Then, plan the entire interview to leave every candidate elated. From greeting candidates to planning necessary snack breaks, you should have a solid itinerary. During the interview, go beyond shop talk. Be sure to convey the culture to ensure a good personality fit on both ends. This is the time to bring up any unique benefits that make your company great to work for (i.e., flex time, onsite day care, unlimited sick time).
Reject with dignity
You can only select one candidate, but how you treat others will influence your future recruitment efforts. Maintain a positive brand image and leave a lasting impression by providing timely and tactful rejections. Some recruiters state how many people applied to convey the level of competition, and if applicable, they tell candidates they’ll keep their resume on file for future openings. You never know when a good applicant will be suitable for a future job opening, after all, so it’s best to keep all options open. Furthermore, people talk, and if they have a negative experience you can bet they’ll tell their network.
The majority of K–12 schools in Minnesota start the week before or week after Labor Day. Even kids who dread the classroom feel excitement at the prospect of a new year. Connecting with friends, learning new things and discovering passions is why the back-to-school season is so exhilarating.
Nostalgia sets in for many parents, too, as they fondly remember the fun they had while in school. When you’re young, the world is your oyster and it seems like anything is possible. Sitting in a stark cubical and working a boring job is quite the contrast to all that joy and optimism experienced ages ago.
If you’re feeling stuck in your career, it’s time to be inspired by the electric energy of your kids’ return to school. This is the ideal time of year to find your motivation to discover your next career move so you can fully enjoy your work. Not only will you be more satisfied and engaged, but you’ll also be a better role model for your children.
Here are five back-to-school steps that can help you re-energize your career and put you on the fast track to a brighter future:
Meet the teacher
Before school starts, students are given the opportunity to meet the teacher and other key staff members. These are the people who will help guide them to success. For working professionals, it’s important to have a close relationship with “teachers.” These are the people who play a pivotal role in your career development. Find a good mentor, befriend industry influencers and network as much as possible.
If you feel you’ve hit a career plateau, additional education can help you spruce up your skill set and help you be more marketable to future employers. Research continuing education classes, certifications and college courses that will supercharge your career. Ask if your employer has a reimbursement program to cut costs.
Select extracurricular activities
These days there are myriad extracurricular options for students. These enrichment opportunities help students grow their interests while they also meet like-minded individuals. For professionals, extracurricular activities come in the form of becoming a member of a professional organization or industry association. You may also consider volunteering at a nonprofit.
Get the right supplies
The school-supply aisle at the local store is full of stressed parents desperately looking for the 24-pack of crayons when all they can find is the 12-pack. Having the right supplies is essential to academic success, and it’s also true for professional achievement. Is it time to upgrade your technology at home or at work? Do you need to invest in modern office tools? The right supplies will ease your journey down the path toward success.
Choose your major
For juniors and seniors in high school, it’s time to start researching colleges and consider what major to pursue. For unhappy professionals, it’s time to do some reflection. If you feel like you’re treading water, it may mean it’s time for a new career. This could include creating a plan to get a promotion or changing careers completely. Spend time thinking about your options and follow your heart and head.
In a fascinating article in the New York Times earlier this week entitled “There’s Good News and There’s Bad News,” two macro economists articulated their polar opposite perspectives on the state of the American economy. In the article, Stephanie Pomboy’s rather bleak, glass-totally-empty outlook on the economy stems from her conviction that the current low growth environment is the result of a weak consumer, still battered from the Great Recession, who is now being further pummeled by rising healthcare costs. She further states, rather emphatically, that her “economic forecast in no way justifies another raise in rates,” and that, “we would be lucky to see job growth of more than 100,000 per month going forward.”
For her sake, I hope MacroMavens has closed early for Labor Day weekend and that no one is in the office tomorrow morning when the Bureau of of Labor Statistics releases its Employment Situation Report for August. Not only will tomorrow’s jobs report come in well above consensus estimates, but our data suggests that labor demand in an already strong labor market is growing and that robust job gains should continue through at least September and into Q4.
To be certain, forecasting job gains in a Full Employment environment presents a unique set of challenges, particularly when labor force participation is so low. (As an aside, we’ve argued since at least April/May that the U.S. has, without question, been in a Full Employment environment). And yet despite those challenges, we are forecasting a net gain of 220,000 jobs in August based on LinkUp’s new and total job openings over the past few months.
What is really interesting about our data over the past 3 months is that while new job openings have risen by an average of 5% month over month, total job openings have declined by 5%. To some extent, this has been the trend throughout 2016, with month-over-month growth in new job openings on LinkUp averaging 1% while month-over-month growth in total job openings has averaged -2%. As comparison, those numbers were 4.6% and 3.1% respectively in 2015 and 3.4% and 3.5% in 2014. So unlike the two previous years, what is happening so far in 2016, and especially in the past 3 months, is that companies are posting more and more new job openings while at the same time, decreasing total job openings, presumably because they are filling those positions with new hires.
Granted, the average growth rate of new job openings this year is less than last year, not surprising given that 13.5 million jobs have been added to the U.S. economy since October of 2010. So while the volume of hiring may be down slightly from last year, that divergence between new and total job openings suggests that the pace of hiring is accelerating, job churn is increasing, and labor demand remains robust. And indeed, additional data from LinkUp confirms the phenomena.
Job Duration, or the number of days that job openings are active on an employer’s corporate career portal, has dropped from 56 days in February to 47 days in August, indicating that jobs are getting filled faster than they were 6 months ago.
That acceleration in velocity of hiring is driven by the significant growth in the number of jobs that are being filled in less than 15 days. The chart below includes, for each month, the number of job openings that have rolled off of LinkUp’s search engine in the previous 6 months, presumably because they were filled with a hire (a pretty safe assumption). Since April, not only has the number of ‘Filled Jobs’ during the previous 6 months increased from 2.6 million to 3.6 million, but the number of those jobs that were filled in less than 15 days has risen from 888,000 in March to 1.36 million in August, an increase of 53%.
As the chart below indicates, as hiring velocity accelerates, job duration declines and the number of jobs getting filled increases.
So based on all of our data, we are forecasting a net gain of 220,000 jobs in August, above the consensus estimate of 180,000 jobs in Bloomberg’s monthly NFP survey of economists.
And as stated previously, not only will tomorrow’s jobs number surprise to the upside, we see continued strength in monthly job gains into the fall. In August, new job listings on LinkUp rose 6% and total job listings rose 4%. Even more encouraging is the fact that gains were seen essentially across the entire country.
Those gains in new and total job openings point to sustained momentum in the labor market into the Fall. So leaving aside for the time being whether or not the Fed will raise rates in September (they will), it will undoubtedly become clear over the next few jobs reports that the New York Times article should have been titled:
“There’s Good News and There’s More Good News.”
You started your career working in construction. After 20 years, the physical demands of the job became too difficult so you transitioned to a management position at a local manufacturing plant. A decade later, the company outsourced all positions. Now in your 60s, you’re not quite ready to retire but you’re also having a tough time finding work. You’re struggling with what many other older individuals face — aging out of the workforce.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a blue or white-collar worker, when you get to a certain age, job-hunting rules seem to change. Options often narrow significantly once you surpass 55, and if you don’t have an education, opportunities can be microscopically thin.
Why not just retire, then? For many, it’s not that simple. Lots of aging workers lack adequate retirement funds. Unlike previous generations they don’t have pensions, and unfortunately the recession hit their savings hard. Even if money is not a concern, though, some older workers want to stay busy via satisfying work.
For this demographic, finding a job and getting a respectable salary are two crushing obstacles. The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College recently published a brief titled, “How Job Options Narrow for Older Workers by Socioeconomic Status.” It references research that found, “Occupations that require extensive training, computer use, numerical aptitude, and union membership were less open to older job-seekers.” What’s more: “…hiring was concentrated in ‘old person’ occupations: low-paying, low-status jobs, such as night watchman, retail clerk, or crossing guard.”
Old-person occupations. Ouch.
What can older workers do to uncover hidden opportunities so they can find a job they not only enjoy, but one where they can earn a decent wage? These five ideas will help give you an edge in the job market.
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Your personal and professional networks are your top resources for finding a job at an older age. Tap your resources and spread the word you are looking for work. Organic job search methods like this are incredibly effective.
Re-frame aging conversations
You score an interview with a supervisor who is half your age. Rather than stress about the generational difference, address age head-on. Speak about how long you’ve worked in the field and give examples of how that experience will directly benefit the organization.
You have plenty of experience, but are your modern skills sharp? You don’t have to go back to college, but it’s important to update important skills. Consider professional certifications or community education courses to give yourself an edge.
Seek telecommuting positions
Not finding job opportunities where you live? Don’t be limited to your location. Search for jobs on LinkUp.com and use “telecommute” along with your other keywords. The results will show a variety of positions with flexible work arrangements.
Consider freelance or self-employment
Freelance and contract work can provide older workers the flexibility they desire while providing a livable wage. Alternately, if you’re looking for a change, consider self-employment by turning your hobby into a job. If you’re talented at restoring cars or gardening, you may find your skills in high demand.
How do you spruce up your resume when you don’t have access to a computer? How do you prepare for an interview when you’re homeless? How do you compete with seemingly ideal candidates when your experience is far less than perfect?
Recently a photo of Shaun Beever went viral on social media. His compelling story is one of transformation and determination. UK-based Dortech Systems took a chance on Beever, who at the time of hire was homeless, unemployed and bankrupt. According to a story in the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, his genuine attitude and desire stood out during the interview process.
Beever started out working in an empty store room. Today he manages 1,000 online orders a month, is moving to a larger facility and is starting to help hire others at Dortech. I think it’s safe to say it was a winning gamble for the company.
Facing a sea of polished and refined resumes, it’s tempting for hiring managers to ignore the less-than-perfect candidates. In general, the odds are stacked against people who job-hop, take long breaks between employment, took longer than normal to graduate college or don’t even have degree at all.
But the heart and drive of an underdog is an amazing thing. The problem, however, is that these things are not always evident on a piece of paper.
In Regina Hartley’s Ted Talk “Why the best hire might not have the perfect resume,” she discusses the draw of the “scrapper.” These people, she says, are the candidates who have to fight against tremendous odds to get to the same point as others. Compared to those with flawless resumes, scrappers’ experience tells a story that “reads like a patchwork quilt.”
“A series of odd jobs may indicate inconsistency, lack of focus, unpredictability,” Hartley says in her Ted Talk. “Or, it may signal a committed struggle against obstacles. At the very least, the scrapper deserves an interview.”
Taking a chance on hires is important for companies. Thinking outside the box can help boost workplace diversity, employee engagement, productivity and loyalty. Adversity and life experience can breed incredibly effective employees who are willing to work hard today because they’ve had to work hard their whole life. What’s more, these folks are particularly effective at problem-solving and adapt well to change.
The LinkUp blog “Benefits to hiring an unemployed candidate” notes it’s a big business mistake overlooking candidates who aren’t currently working, even if it’s been a long time since their last job. Some key advantages you may find in unemployed candidates that you may not in others are passion, enthusiasm, eagerness to work and the ability to start immediately.
These are likely some of the reasons why Dortech Systems hired Beevers. Would you have taken the chance? If you’re a recruiter, hiring manager or HR director, be sure to open your eyes and consider the scrappers of the world. They just might be your next star employees.
Since early in Q2, we have argued (see here, here, here and here) that the U.S. labor market is in a state of Full Employment, defined as that level of unemployment below which wage inflation begins to materialize. While the Fed has taken a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude towards Full Employment, economists elsewhere are finally starting to see what we’ve seen for months. As Paul Krugman recently wrote on his blog, albeit with somewhat less conviction than we maintain…
“More important, probably, is the fact that two of the major advanced economies — the US and, believe it or not, Japan — are arguably quite close to full employment. We don’t know how close, because we don’t know how much pent-up labor supply is still waiting on the sidelines. But you can no longer argue that supply limits are no longer relevant.”
In regard to both Full Employment and the challenges in accurately identifying slack in labor supply, We echoed similar sentiments in our August 5th post in advance of the July jobs report…
Unfortunately, predictability around monthly net gains in non-farm payrolls (NFP) seems to be dealing with its own bout of chaos syndrome lately. I’d posit that the chaos around forecasting monthly jobs reports these days is caused, first and foremost, by the fact that the U.S. labor market is most definitely in a state of Full Employment, defined as that level of unemployment below which wage inflation is triggered. It is a fact that wage inflation has become quite evident across multiple segments of the labor market and there is mounting evidence that it is becoming increasingly pervasive throughout the entire economy in nearly every region of the country.
The challenge for economists, the Fed, and forecasters, however, is that there is tremendous uncertainty as to how much slack there is in the labor force, the rate at which the underemployed and ‘marginally attached’ will return to the workforce, the impact of rising wages on the gig economy, the structural impact of technological changes to the U.S. workforce, the rate of baby-boomer retirement, and the persistently low labor force participation rate. All of these factors are wreaking havoc in trying to assess what type of job gains we can expect each month given the continued strength of the job market.
It’s nice to see the growing consensus around the fact that the U.S. has, most assuredly, reached Full Employment.
Let’s say you forget to buy your weekly bunch of bananas during your most recent grocery run. Those bananas usually cost 30 cents per pound, but when you decide to go to the store by work to grab them you find they charge $1.50 a pound. Yikes! It’s likely you’ll opt to skip the price hike and go back to get the best deal by swinging through the local store tomorrow.
When you know how little you can pay for something you need, it’s human nature to seek out the best price. This same concept has caused employers to subconsciously wage discriminate for years. For women and minorities, this value-driven mindset pays them pennies on the dollar when compared to most Caucasian men.
One of the easiest ways for companies to get away with wage gouging is by asking during the application process how much professionals have made at their current and previous positions. If an employee states she is paid $20,000 less at her current position than the comparable job for which she’s applying, it’s easy to swoop in and give her a raise to make her happy while all the while paying her less than her colleagues.
Gender-based pay discrimination is illegal, but violations are difficult to prove. Women continue to be paid 79 cents for every dollar that men earn, according to the United States Census Bureau. Whether it’s gender, age, ethnicity or another characteristic, wage gaps persist in virtually every industry.
In an effort to eliminate wage discrimination, Massachusetts just passed a law making it illegal for employers to inquire about applicants’ salaries prior to making a job offer. This is the first state to pass this landmark legislation.
“The new law will require hiring managers to state a compensation figure upfront — based on what an applicant’s worth is to the company, rather than on what he or she made in a previous position,” reports The New York Times.
Although this law won’t go into effect until July 2018, it’s a noteworthy effort to kill wage discrimination at the hiring level. Plus, it’s a huge relief to job applicants who perpetually wonder if the salary they were offered could have been more if that intrusive question hadn’t existed on the application.
Not only does this law help ensure equal pay, it will produce other gains. First, it will help employers increase employee engagement and loyalty because they are offering all workers a fair wage. It also could help minimize turnover while increasing workforce diversity.
It should help the economy, too, when it comes to the big picture. The New York Times article points out, “Closing the gender wage gap would lower the poverty rates in every state, according to an analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.”
Other states have laws to help promote equal pay, but none have communicated as clear a message as the new Massachusetts law. Hopefully more states will follow suit in an effort to recognize the importance of equal pay for every worker who makes up the melting pot that is the United States of America.
Every four years people around the world tune in with bated breath to watch their favorite events in the summer games. The talented athletes they watch have spent thousands of hours training in hopes of standing on the podium and hearing their country’s national anthem.
Countless sacrifices are required to make it to the top. Tough career decisions must be made.
Consider 16-year-old USA gymnast Laurie Hernandez who went pro just days before making her Olympic debut in Rio. This controversial decision means Hernandez can now accept sponsorships. Some argue this is a wise decision, considering the generally short time gymnasts are at their peak. The drawback? She’s banned from accepting athletic scholarships or participating in collegiate sports. Granted, bringing home a team gold last night likely means it was a good bet, as sponsorship offers will be aplenty.
There’s no doubt that at the time this was a tough decision, but it’s not unlike the difficult career decisions professionals must make every day. Whether it’s changing careers, moving across the country for a job opportunity or working 70-hour weeks in order to make partner, it takes hard work to make your dreams a reality.
These sacrifices affect every aspect of your life, not just your time at work. How do you know when your hard work has crossed the line from ambitious to insane? Consider these five red flags as signs that you’ve taken your career endeavors a bit too far. If these sound familiar, you don’t need to quit; it just might be time to take a step back and reassess.
You have no free time
In order to be the best professional you can be, you need balance in your life. This means time away from work for your brain and body to recharge. If you’ve given up your hobbies, no longer visit the gym and are consistently getting less than 7 hours of sleep, you may be pushing yourself too hard.
You have no friends
Workaholics have calendars booked solid with meetings, but few times blocked for social events. If your relationships with friends and family are barely existent, it’s time for a wake-up call. A full life allows for more than just work. No one, after all, wishes they had put in more hours working when they are on their death bed.
You think about work constantly
Most people think about work outside of the office, but it’s easy to take this overboard. Do people joke that your job is your obsession? Don’t consider that a compliment. If your conversations always end up being about work, even when they didn’t start on that subject, take note.
You’re always digitally connected
If you never silence your smartphone and can’t resist checking work email the moment you wake up, then it’s time to disconnect. It’s important to stay on top of your work, however, most emails don’t need to be answered at 3 a.m. just because you happened to hear the alert.
You’re constantly stressed and anxious
Working too much takes a toll on your well-being. If you always feel stress and anxiety, you may have to address your career goals again. Working hard for your dreams isn’t easy. However, if you’re constantly unhappy, maybe your dreams have changed. It’s OK to pursue a new one.