All Articles Tagged "job market"

Don’t Get Replaced! A Tech Upgrade Can Save Your Job

April 4th, 2014 - By Janel Martinez
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Through the years, we’ve seen technology alter the way we live.  It helps many of us stay connected with loved ones, near and far, serves as a personal organizer and assistant to keep us on track, and, ultimately, makes life more efficient. But we’ve also witnessed the downside to the tech boom. Just as it has provided immense opportunities, it has also been credited with the loss of numerous jobs.

Jobs that were thought to always need manpower are now being staffed with automation services and robots. We reported last month about the University of Oxford study that found nearly half of all American jobs are at risk of being lost to machines. Although there are several jobs that will be affected by automation, there are ways to salvage your high-risk position.  Follow these surefire strategies to ensure you brand yourself as an indispensible employee:

Do what you do best: Be human

Machines can do many things. However, they’re never credited with being personable, warm or engaging. Showcase that winning attitude and the way you interact with your co-workers, managers or clients. Business Insider notes that managers, health care workers, and those involved in community service, education and media are safe. “Humans are humans are, and will always be, superior at working with, and caring for, other humans.”


Historically, the manufacturing industry required a largely unskilled, trainable workforce. Old school manufacturing has moved toward more advanced, computer-assisted manufacturing, which requires a more skilled worker. Specialized and adaptable workers are needed to meet the demands. According to a 2011 National Association of Manufactures (NAM) report, more than 80 percent of manufacturers are having difficulty finding qualified talent to fill their employment demands. In order to meet the demands, manufacturers will need to have technical skills. In addition to being independent, meticulous and an effective communicator, today’s manufacturers will need to be able to work with computerized systems, have the ability to read and write programming code, and have a knowledge of mechanical and electrical engineering.


Administrative or clerical jobs are a vital part of one’s organizations, however, for many upstarts or small business, they’ve turned to software suites and applications to help manage and organize their admin load. There’s no doubt that technology can faze typists, filing clerks or receptionists jobs out, but automation services can’t interact with a wide range of people or execute management skills. The great tech shift has provided those in admin roles the opportunity to enhance their existing technology skills (i.e. word processing and spreadsheets) through online or in-person classes, which employers may see beneficial to front the cost, if it’ll lead to greater productivity. In these roles, on-the-job training can serve as the best training.


I’ve witnessed the shift in this field first-hand during my daily commute. In New York City, subway attendants continue to be replaced with machines causing not only a safety concern for commuters, but also an issue for those looking for directions or attempting to resolve on-the-spot tech issue—a common occurrence with the MetroCard vending machines. Similar issues are taking place across many metropolitan areas, as well as at airports and even among cab drivers with the rise of cab-hailing apps. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Explore skill certification opportunities that will allow you to work in conjunction with the machines, and, in the case of cab drivers, weigh the estimate of working with a larger company like Uber. Uber drivers reportedly keep 80 percent of their fares—giving Uber 20 percent–and the company covers 20 percent of tolls.

Yes, technology has transformed the job force, but there are ways to make sure you’re a viable part of your company and, hence, indispensible.

Has technology changed the way you work? Let is know in the comments section below.   

Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites.

Generation Z Is Swarming In! What Employers Must Do To Satisfy The Workforce’s New Members

October 23rd, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Generation Z, those born between 1990 and 1999, are already seven percent of America’s workforce with 11 million of them on the job. By 2019, Gen Z is expected to comprise 19 percent of the job market with 30 million workers. Now, USA Today says, it’s time for employers to shift their attention to this upcoming generation.

“They have tremendous energy and enthusiasm, but there’s a big gap in the old-fashioned basics like personal responsibility and work habits,” said Bruce Tulgan who has been studying young people for two decades. These 14-to-23 year-olds, who have been so immersed in this fast information age, may have lost out on the important communicative skills that America’s older workers have acquired. “Generation Z grew up with great uncertainty. They grew up in times of war, and it’s much different than Generation Y that grew up with peace and prosperity. They’ve come out with radically different prospects of what they need to do in their work lives,” Tulgan added.

Although they’re labeled misanthropic, there is a positive outcome that emerges from Generation Z burying their faces in their smartphones and tablets. “Generation Z never lacks for a constant stream of data. Generations before them might not have been exposed to this information until adulthood or had it filtered from other sources,” USA today added. Their almost innate knowledge of technology makes them a prime target for today’s advancing, quick-paced industries.

Tulgan goes on to say that, as a group, Gen Z tends to be “high maintenance.” In order to keep the turnover rate low, Tulgan has these suggestions:

A Strong Peer Leader. Generation Z members respond the best to small work groups with a “well-defined chain of command” and a leader that can double as a mentor.

Mold Their Behavior. This generation hasn’t quite grasped the concept of how interpersonal relationships work. Don’t be afraid to invest in molding their work ethic and customer service skills to add productivity into your company. “Employers need to remember they have every right to require certain conduct and behavior from them. They’re very willing to understand, but you have to teach them,” Tulgan explains.

Make Their Roles Crystal Clear. Generation Z workers want a clear-cut definition of their tasks at work as well as a well-structured description of their role on the job.

Reward Them For Performance. “This generation has grown up with individual education plans [and] awards for everything they do,” USA Today adds. This means that in order to drive up performance, employers must acknowledge and reward their diligence at work.

Make It Their Dream Job. “This generation will have highly valuable rising stars attracted to employers who can offer them jobs with elements that excite them while also making sense for the organization,” USA Today concludes.

Back On Top! Women Recapture The Jobs Lost In The Great Recession

October 2nd, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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In the economically destructive aftermath of The Great Recession, women are picking up the pieces faster than men. The Buffalo News took a closer look at the August jobs report and found that women and men demonstrated an unemployment rate of 6.8 percent and 7.7 percent.

Construction and manufacturing, two male-dominated industry, have remained harmfully sluggish during the economic recovery. Industries in sales, health care, education, food and hotels, on the other hand, have been revitalizing at a healthier rate. Coincidentally, these are the industries most populated by women. “Since June 2009, one of the largest gains occurred in education and health services jobs, which added nearly 1.6 million jobs, second most of any industry. And women gained nearly 1.1 million of those jobs,” the paper says.

“It’s a segregated labor market, and men and women do work in different industries, and even in different areas within industries,” says Heidi Hartmann, an economist and president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

At the peak of the economic downturn, only 67.97 million women had jobs. In August, there was a slight increase, with 68 million women were employed. Men, however, experienced a setback. In December of 2007, 78.3 million men were employed. This number dropped to 76.2 million last month.

Women haven’t only been making gains in low-wage industries. They have also been employed in “professional and business services, a grab-bag category that includes architects, engineers, information technology workers and temps,” Buffalo News adds. However, this is where the positive outlook for female employment ends. The percentage of women (and men) looking for employment has been dropping.

“[The] labor force participation rate for women was 57.3 last month, down from 59.4 percent in December 2007. For men, the participation rate has dropped to 69.5 percent, from 73.1 percent,” it added.

These furloughs aren’t helping the overall employment picture either.

There has been a jump in men and women falling back on retirement, enrolling in educational institutions, registering for Social Security payments, and simply giving up on the weak job market.

Not Landing That Corner Office Position? 10 Common Job Search Errors We Make

September 9th, 2013 - By Tanvier Peart
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Looking for a job can be, at times, just as frustrating as preparing for the interview. One wrong move and your submission will make its way to the bottom of the pile or worse, the trash can. Hiring managers see their fair share of hot mess job applications. It’s our job to learn what those errors are and correct them in hopes landing the position.

Don’t do these things ever again.

How To Get A Job When You’re Overqualified

September 3rd, 2013 - By Tanvier Peart
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“Thank you for your interest in the position. We’re sorry, but you are a bit overqualified.”

Okay so maybe it doesn’t really go down like this (hopefully not in those words) but nonetheless happens to many job seekers. No one likes hearing they have too much experience for a position, especially when bills are coming due. Yet, many professionals will seek positions that are a bit “lower in status” for various reasons that include lack of jobs at their current level or the flat out need to survive.

Should you find yourself in this number, here are some ways to land a job if you are overqualified.

Jane Of All Trades: Oprah And The Art Of Multitasking

September 3rd, 2013 - By Andrea Williams
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For folks who have already taken a trip to the local cineplex to see Lee Daniels’ The Butler, you don’t need an endorsement from President Obama to confirm what we all know to be true: Oprah Winfrey has mad acting skills.

Somewhere in the midst of Winfrey’s self-imposed film hiatus following 1998’s box office flop Beloved, along with the excitement surrounding her emotional departure from daytime television and the public criticism of her barely-surviving-but-now-thriving OWN Network, we may have forgotten that she’s an acclaimed thespian.

And with those incredible chops that garnered Winfrey an Academy Award nomination for her very first movie role (as Sofia in The Color Purple, 1985), it would have been easy – and perhaps a bit justifiable – for her to just show up on set, say her lines and get back to her 50 other jobs.

But she didn’t.

In the September issue of O Magazine (the one with Winfrey smiling on the cover beneath the super-fly and super-large Afro wig she dubbed “Wild Thang”), the queen of media detailed her painstaking efforts to authentically portray Gloria, wife of Forest Whitaker’s title character, Cecil Gaines. She took acting classes to learn how to cry on cue, and she walked around for months smoking herbal cigarettes, all the while perfecting Gloria’s nicotine-influenced mannerisms. Now that Oscar buzz is already swarming around Winfrey, it’s apparent that her work paid off.

In a society that celebrates busy-ness and constant multitasking, there’s a temptation to plow forward, dibbling and dabbling here and there, but never reaching a level of excellence in anything.

Certainly, the current economic climate (as well as numerous studies on the portfolios of the wealthy) suggests that a bank account with multiple income streams is the standard to which we should all strive. But, as evidenced by Winfrey’s body of work, true financial success and career satisfaction can only be achieved when we take care to actually hone our skills – varied as they may be.

Make no mistake, there are plenty of examples of singers who land acting gigs solely because they have all the right curves, or Auto-Tune-dependent thespians whose big-screen paydays afford them the opportunity to record an album with music’s biggest producers. But multitasking for the sake of multitasking is fruitless. The sustainability of these pursuits is virtually non-existent – as is the public respect for said “artistic” endeavors.

Nowadays, most multi-hyphenate celebrities don’t deserve half of their titles, but with her stellar turn as the adulterous, alcohol-addicted wife of one of the most critical players in African-American history (that most of us had never heard of), Winfrey proves once again that she truly reigns supreme.

So when new career opportunities come, as they surely will, I challenge you – as well as myself – to resist the urge to “just show up.” Dig deep, study, prepare. Do whatever you have to do to showcase your skill and talent. Take a cue from Ms. Winfrey, and let your work – not your publicist or your social media marketing – speak for itself.

Temporary Jobs Are Beginning To Consume The Job Market

July 9th, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Four years ago about 1.35 million Americans were employed in temp jobs. Now, a recent job report shows that this number doubled to 2.7 million. Why? Employers just aren’t willing to hire long-term workers, reports The Winnipeg Free Press.

Temporary workers normally receive low wages, little-to-no benefits, and weak job security. The average salary for temp jobs is $36,000, reports Simply Hired. Full-time workers make an average of about $50,000. This growing trend stems from the “lingering uncertainty about the economy,” adds The Winnipeg Free Press. In order to escape the impending expense of providing medical coverage for permanent workers, employers have decided to hire more temps.

ProPublica (via Business Insider) elaborates on the trend:

Across America, temporary work has become a mainstay of the economy, leading to the proliferation of what researchers have begun to call “temp towns.” They are often dense Latino neighborhoods teeming with temp agencies. Or they are cities where it has become nearly impossible even for whites and African-Americans with vocational training to find factory and warehouse work without first being directed to a temp firm.


Strangely enough, temporary jobs are growing in fields that do not typically offer such positions. Lawyers, doctors, and even information technology specialists are extending their use of temporary workers. The medical field, in particular, is expected to grow 10 percent in temporary positions. The shortage of doctors and nurses has coerced hospitals to seek help from temp agencies.

Wal-Mart has also been disproportionately hiring “flexible associates,” as it calls them. But really, they should be called disposable workers. “You can hire 10,000 people for 10 to 15 minutes,” says Bob Bahramipour, CEO of Gigwalk—a temp recruitment agency. “When they’re done, those 10,000 people just melt away.” ProPublica says, besides Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Nike, and other consumer goods companies and retailers are giving rise to the number of blue-collar temp workers and, in areas where these minimum wage temps live, “temp towns.” Schools—in order to escape retirement benefits for their employers—are also hiring temp workers or substitute teachers.

“There’s been a generational shift toward a less committed relationship between the firm and the worker,” said Ethan Harris, a global economist at Bank of America.

Research shows only 27 percent of jobs that are categorized as “temp to permanent” truly lead to a permanent position.

Companies feel much safer in hiring temps; abstaining from employing too many permanent workers can save the company from a decline in revenue. “A heavy investment in long-term employment is not a cost all companies want to bear anymore,” adds The Winnipeg Free Press.

Some business executives argue that the increase of temporary positions in the labor market is more beneficial. It allows for workers to gain valuable skills and experience for the next prospective permanent job. What do you think?

Blacks Are More Educated Now, But Get Fewer Jobs Than 30 Years Ago

July 1st, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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African Americans today are way more educated than they were 30 years ago. In 1979, only 10 percent of blacks had a bachelor’s degree or higher. In 2011, 25 percent of African Americans had a four-year college degree. But blacks are less likely to find a good job in 2013 than the year 1979, a study from the Center of Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) says.

Surprisingly, the number of black workers who possess a “good job”—at least $19 per hour with health benefits and a retirement plan—has declined, despite the increase in education, over the last 30 years.

Economists consistently push for African Americans to pursue degrees to solidify a comfortable spot on the social and financial ladder. Theoretically, the more educated Blacks become, the more attainable the jobs are. However, recent data from the CEPR proves this conjecture wrong. In 1979, when blacks were considerably less educated, 20.8 percent were employed. But in 2011, only 19.6 percent had jobs.

African-American males are more affected by the troubling statistics the CEPR released. Between 1979 and 2011, the number of black men who had good jobs dropped from 26.4 to 20.9 percent. Probably as a result of the evolving views of working women, the number of female workers rose from 14.5 percent in 1979 to 18.4 percent in 2011. However, black women are less likely to have a good job compared to black men in every dimension.

Young African-American workers are also feeling the sting of these tumbling numbers. The median age of black workers in 1979 was 33, but the median age for workers in 2011 was 37. Regardless of age and level of education, CEPR found that black workers were less likely to have a good job throughout all years compared to their white counterparts.

One report titled “Has Education Paid Off for Black Workers” blames the continuing discrimination against African Americans and blacks’ poor bargaining power as the problem behind the decline in employment for degree-holding Blacks.

The African-American unemployment rate increased from 13.2 percent to 13.5 percent in May.

Study Says Half Of College Grads Are Hired for Jobs That Do Not Require Four-Year Degree

June 27th, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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A new report released on found that nearly half of graduates from four-year colleges land jobs that don’t require a Bachelor’s degree. A college graduate is hired for a job that he or she is overqualified for every five minutes, reports the Huffington Post.

Instead of scoring a job in their field, many college grads end up working in retail or at a restaurant. Graduates who are in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), are more likely to be hired for jobs that require four-year degrees, the report found.

The study also discovered that half of the graduates were regretful and wished they’d chosen a different major or school. Respondents primarily chose “technical skills” as the area that they felt most unprepared in, the report says. Without these skills, college graduates felt like the transition from school to the “real world” was rocky, the survey says.

A recent report from the Congress’ Joint Economic Committee says that “for students graduating in the class of 2011 with college debt, their average student loan balance is equivalent to about 60 percent of their income,” adds HuffPo. If most jobs that are offered to recent graduates do not require a Bachelor’s degree, are the costs of higher education truly worth it?

Although the job market is rather weak for four-year college graduates, their chances of scoring a job is much higher than those with only a high school diploma. Job searchers over the age of 25 with a Bachelor’s degree have a jobless rate 3.8 percent. About 11.1 percent of those with solely a high school diploma find themselves jobless.

The study was conducted focused on 4,900 college graduates between 2009 and 2012

Study Says Unpaid Internships Do Not Lead To Jobs For College Students

June 21st, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Unpaid college interns reluctantly agree to get coffee, make some copies, and essentially serve a company — for free — in hopes that their experience will make an impression on employers.  Unfortunately, unpaid internships may just be a waste of time; studies show that there’s no significant difference between the jobs obtained by students with unpaid internships and those with no internships, reports The Atlantic.

A survey of more than 92,000 seniors over the course of three years by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) discovered that 63.1 percent of graduating seniors who had a paid internship received at least one job offer. But only 37 percent of college students who worked as unpaid interns were offered employment. This was a measly 1.8 percentage points higher than those without internships.

In a 2012 poll by Intern Bridge, results showed that 17 percent of unpaid interns did not receive a job offer while 36 percent of their paid counterparts did. However, it is important to note that this survey included sophomores and juniors, not just seniors like the recent NACE survey. Job offer rates might have been higher if it only included upperclassmen.

If we’re talking salary, the results are even more startling. Unpaid interns were actually offered less money than students without internships on their resumes.

There are some theories that point to why unpaid interns remain in the same tier as non-interns in the job market. One theory speculates that the students who are hired for paid internships are more intelligent than those who get unpaid internships. However, Intern Bridge’s data shows that the distribution of GPAs between the two groups are about the same. Another theory blames the fact that most unpaid internships breed from industries with a poor job market, such as magazine journalism. As a result, job searchers find no luck.

And if you haven’t heard, last week a U.S. District Judge ruled in favor of two unpaid interns who experienced labor maltreatment while working on the set of Black Swan. Time called it “the beginning of the end of unpaid internships.” One day unpaid interns may very well be a thing of the past.

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