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19 posts from August 2009


Along the job-hunting trail...

Jbfair1 Here are more insights into the job market from a panel of experts who joined the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for a conference call today with reporters:




John Challenger, CEO of the Challenger, Gray & Christmas outplacement firm, points out that even if the U.S. economy is now of recession, it took months of flat unemployment after the 1991 and 2000 recessions “before we started to see improvement.” He continues, “That may mean ongoing joblessness, high unemployment, through 2010.”




People who are coming back onto the job market and haven’t been previously counted as unemployed, Challenger says. Employers can also ask workers to work longer hours and hire temporary help before they hire fulltimers.




Challenger notes that one of his firm’s recent surveys showed hiring managers say networking and social networking are the two most effective job-seeking tools, while attending job fairs ranked last. “Interesting how the focus on finding jobs is changing.”




Men have been hit much harder than women, with categories such as construction and manufacturing off significantly, “whereas areas like healthcare and education have been the strongest,” Challenger said.




“No question that in each recession you see historical changes that are accelerated as types of jobs that companies hung on to in periods of expansion get eliminated just by force,” Challenger says. “Every recession does bring on real substantive change where jobs disappear, by technology, or globalization.


In this recession, the industries that have been hit hardest have been automotive, manufacturing (lower semi skilled jobs disappear), home construction. You can’t ship these overseas, but there won’t be many homes built for awhile.”




“In this downturn, what really shot up is the number of people who were unemployed and did not expect to be called back,” says Tom Nardone, assistant commissioner for current employment analysis at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.




“Each of the last few recessions, there’s been an industry or two that would lead the economy out of recession,” Challenger says, noting technology in the 1990s and housing and finance in the most recent recession. “This next period of time, it feels to me it’s going to be driven by healthcare, energy in the drive for energy independence, and then maybe a broad category, international: jobs related to the U.S.’ ability to tap into the growth as the world comes out of recession.”




Holiday hiring is certainly going to be affected by the consumer confidence, consumer spending,” Challenger says. “With the high joblessness, it’s going to be a difficult season. Even if we’re out of recession, it’s going to be a difficult season. Retailers have been much more careful over the last several years about hiring early. They can dip in at the last moment to hire people. It does feel like the hiring’s been pushed back into the season into November and December.”




Finance’s fall, Challenger says, has “also impacted law firms very heavily, especially those that dealt with the boom in mergers and acquisitions that went on over the last decade. I think we’ve seen more layoffs from the legal industry than I’ve ever seen before. You wonder whether the partnership model has been threatened and whether law firms will move to a more traditional employment model. Maybe the next recession.”




“The impact of a recesison on the emotional health of workers who are employed is an interesting story,” Challenger says. “It impacts the survivors as well.”


- Scott Nishimura, jobs and workplace reporter, Star-Telegram 

Labor Day could mark turning point in job market, Challenger says

Jbfair Labor Day "often kicks off the heaviest downsizing periods of the year," but the Challenger, Gray & Christmas outplacement firm says the year's heaviest cuts might already have occurred in the opening months.

In January, U.S. employers announced 241,749 cuts, the highest monthly cuts since a record 248,475 in January 2002. "However, after reaching the January peak, job cuts declined in each of the five months that followed," Challenger said today.

"Year-end job cuts are likely to increase from the levels record during the summer months, which typically see fewer job cuts, but we probably will not return to the levels reached between January and April," Challenger CEO John Challenger said. "Job cuts are expected to continue the overall downward trend in 2010, when we might actually begin to see some small improvements in hiring." 

- Scott Nishimura, jobs and workplace reporter, Star-Telegram 


ALDI hiring store managers for North Texas expansion

ALDI, the discount grocer that's entering Texas with about 30 stores early next year, is hiring manager trainees at a job fair Tuesday and Wednesday at Arlington's Crowne Plaza Suites hotel.

Chris Daniels, director of operations for ALDI, said at mid-afternoon Tuesday that he expected abou5 500 applicants to move through the fair for the day.

Aldi The company is looking to hire 20-25 manager trainees during the two-day fair, he said. "They'll know within a week what their status is," he said.

Trainees must commit to moving to another ALDI market, such as St. Louis, Chicago, Kansas City, or Indianpolis, to train for the next six months before moving back to North Texas.

ALDI wants to "get them on the ground, get them that real-world training, and then come back in the first quarter next year," he said.

The company is touting its pay and benefits packages. Trainees make $20 per hour. Once promoted to store manager, they can make $65,000-$85,000 per year, ALDI said. While it's recruiting trainees, ALDI also is relocating some experienced store managers from other markets to North Texas, Daniels said.

ALDI plans to open its first 27-32 stores in North Texas between March and May next year, with plans to open another 8-10 a year in Texas for the next several years after that, said Daniels, who is moving to the Metroplex to help oversee the company's expansion here.

Daniels said ALDI's job fair is attracting a good number of jobseekers who still have jobs.

"We're getting a lot of people who are passively looking," he said. "It catches their eye."

- Scott Nishimura, jobs and workplace reporter, Star-Telegram 


Many bosses uncomfortable by being "friended" on Facebook

Have you "friended" your boss on Facebook yet? Nearly half of executives are uncomfortable being friended by subordinates or bosses, according to a new survey developed by Office Team, a unit of Robert Half International.

Among respondents, 48 percent said they were uncomfortable being friended by employees, and 47 percent by superiors.

The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and was based on interviews with 150 senior executives at major corporations.

Robert Hosking, executive director of Office Team, says employees who are on Facebook to "be sure they are in compliance with their employer's social networking policy. They should then familiarize themselves with privacy settings and create different friend lists to control - and with whom - information is to be shared.

Monty Sullivan, Fort Worth branch manager for Office Team, says users of Facebook and other social networking sites "need to be aware of the social settings that they're in and the social light that they're portrayed in."

- Scott Nishimura, jobs and workplace reporter, Star-Telegram

Aldi Foods holding job fair for store managers Tuesday-Wednesday in Arlington

The fair will be at Arlington's Crowne Plaza Suites Hotel. Here's More information about the two-day fair.

- Scott Nishimura, jobs and workplace reporter, Star-Telegram 

Felony/misdemeanor job fair organizers may postpone event

Organizers of Tarrant County's second annual Felony and/or Misdemeanor Friendly Community Career Fair may postpone the event to give employers more time to sign up.

Jobfair Fewer than 10 employers have signed up thus far for the Sept. 25 fair, says Angel Ilarraza, the county's Re-Entry Initiative Coordinator. At last year's hiring fair, 40 employers signed up.

"We are to the point of of maybe postponing - postponing, not cancelling - the job fair," Ilarraza said today in an interview.

Some prospective employers are waiting to learn more about the impact of federal stimulus money on local projects before they commit to recruiting employees at the felony/misdemeanor fair, Ilarraza said.

"Worst case, we postpone it 30-60 days," he said.

More than 600 jobseekers have signed up to attend the invitation-only fair, and about 175 have completed the required pre-event workshop Ilarraza said.

"We will be able to announce the job fair on a very short notice," Ilarraza said. "They're basically ready. It's just a matter of assembling enough employers to make it worthwhile."

The fair's organizers have pared the cost for employers to participate to $25. The fee is $75 for exhibitors and other service providers.

Here's our original post from July 8.

Scott Nishimura, jobs and workplace reporter, Star-Telegram


Energy firms ride out natural gas price decline

Here's Star-Telegram energy writer Jack Z. Smith's take today on energy companies riding out the natural gas price decline by, among other things, slashing payrolls and wages.

- Scott Nishimura, jobs and workplace reporter, Star-Telegram 

Government still hiring

Here's Star-Telegram reporter Alex Branch's take today on government agencies that are hiring, taking up the private sector's slack.

- Scott Nishimura, jobs and workplace reporter, Star-Telegram 

What job hunting tool is best? Networking, survey says. Last? Job fairs

Here's a new survey from Challenger, Gray & Christmas on wnich job-hunting tools work best, according to a poll. Networking comes in first, job fairs last.

Scott Nishimura, jobs and workplace reporter, Star-Telegram  


I'm Back! Nancy Wood

Nancywood I have returned to the life of the job-seeker. Keeping this situation in perspective, simplistically my mother reminds me that when you come to a job, you were looking for work.  Generally, when you leave that job, you are looking for work.

While the following comments are my observations, comparisons and experiences with the administration of NurseCore, their field nursing staff at all levels are above average with most of them providing outstanding care and service.

Those RNs, LVNs, and C.N.A.s are a caring and dedicated bunch. I admire NurseCore philosophy in hiring.  After the application, interviewing, skills testing, and background checks, the ultimate test question is – Is this person someone you would have care for yourself or your loved ones?

If yes, they are hired. In the last 2 months, I’ve experienced office working condition outside of my usual norm and expectations.

Let me share a few of these conditions with you. Corporate Knowledge: I prefer working for well-established companies because of their years of experience instead of a start-up company. There is corporate knowledge of experienced staff of what works and what does not.

An established firm often has a better sense of presenting and marketing their “core product or service”.  Quite important to me is that there is sufficient corporate knowledge to be properly trained by an experienced trainer and continuous opportunities are available to perfect how to perform your duties.

In an office of 7 staff members that includes 4 part-timers, the oldest employee has been there since March 2009 (and that is not a manager).  Where’s the corporate knowledge here? Professional Office:  Important to me is an office environment wherein everyone uses their “indoor voice” at all times so that others can hear, speak and think without the constant loud distraction.

They are mindful at times of fun and humor that it is a place of business and others may be handling clients, potential clients or staff members. How often I wondered if the person on the other end of the phone thought I conducted their business in a comedy club.

Family/Friends:  As in working in a small “family business”, you will always be the outsider and possibly the scapegoat for events not your fault.  Working where most have worked together in past and have been friends for ages often puts you at a disadvantage in the workplace.  If one doesn’t favor you, the rest soon won’t either.

Benefits:  While I truly believe in putting in a day’s work for a day’s pay, I also believe in taking what I thought was a worker’s right to two ten-minute breaks – one in the morning an one in the afternoon.

My performance increases from the clearing of the mind by stepping out of the situation for those few minutes.  In previous positions, I would take a quick walk around the building while nibbling on a small nutritious snack or beverage.

There was never an opportunity for this essential pick-me up. Under the circumstances, I am not unhappy to join my fellow job-seekers searching for the job/career/work – whatever you call it – that is right for me personally and professionally.  Always staying strong and focused -  Nancy L. Wood


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