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Health Care Legislation Passed by House Will Force Job Losses

In Uncategorized on March 22, 2010 at 10:24 pm

The Senate-passed healthcare legislation will unquestionably burden Americans with countless mandates, new taxes, penalties and higher insurance premiums. Small businesses will be hindered by stringent regulations and taxes that will ultimately force them to slash jobs. This bill comes at a time when unemployment stands as the most important problem facing the country today.

The House on Sunday night voted 219-212 to send H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – the health care bill passed by the Senate on Christmas Eve – to President Obama for his signature. Later, the House voted 220-211 to approve H.R. 4872, the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010, a package of amendments to the Senate bill. That measure now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to be considered this week.

The Senate bill imposes a penalty of $750 per full-time worker on companies with 50 or more employees that do not provide coverage to full-time workers. But the House reconciliation bill would increase that penalty to $2,000, with the first 30 workers exempted. If an employer offers coverage but the coverage is deemed unaffordable to a full-time employee, that employee can opt out to a new purchasing exchange. The company would then be assessed $3,000 for each of those employees up to a cap of $2,000 for every full-time worker on the payroll. This mandate becomes applicable in 2014.

The National Retail Federation expressed extreme disappointment at the House’s passage of sweeping health care reform legislation over the weekend, saying added labor costs under the bill will cost many retail workers their jobs.

“This is a historic moment, but not a cause for celebration. Congress has embarked on a dangerous, anti-job experiment in the midst of the worst economy our nation has seen in decades,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations Steve Pfister said. “How many lost jobs will it take before Congress reverses course?”

“Our nation simply cannot afford more job losses during this economy, and many businesses already struggling to keep their doors open may not be able to withstand this added financial burden,” Pfister said. “Retailers have told Congress all along that we value our employees and want to expand upon the millions of workers and their families for whom we already provide coverage, but that to do that we need reform that would lower costs. Instead, we’ve been handed employer mandates that do just the opposite while doing little or nothing about the cost of medical care, which in turn drives higher coverage costs.”

“We are particularly concerned about mid-sized companies that are large enough for the mandates to apply but too small to have the ability to absorb these added costs,” Pfister said. “They could be among the hardest hit. And small businesses that drive so much of the job creation in our country are going to be forced to hold their size under 50 workers to avoid the employer mandate threshold.”

Under the bill, seniors will see their Medicare benefits significantly reduced, resulting in limited choices and higher costs. While Medicare will be cut, Medicaid will be expanded, despite the fact that the program is going broke and states are struggling to keep up with the expiring federal matching program. Imposing an unfunded mandate will only exacerbate Medicaid’s problems.

“If health care is not funded properly through Medicare then the end result will be greater rationing of our health care system and fewer, more costly options for Medicare recipients”, said Peter Shanley, CEO of The Small Business Council of America (SBCA), a national nonpartisan, nonprofit organization which represents the interests of privately-held and family-owned businesses on federal tax, health care and employee benefit matters.  “The quality and availability of health care will go down and Medicare patients will be hurt in the long run.”

The new health law also empowers federal officials to dictate how doctors treat privately insured patients (Senate bill, pp. 148-149).  Never before in history, except on narrow issues such as drug safety, has this been done. The bill will require nearly all Americans to be in a “qualified plan,” then says that plans can pay only doctors who implement whatever regulations the Secretary of Health and Human Services imposes to improve “quality.”  That covers everything in medicine — whether your cardiologist uses a stent or does bypass surgery, whether your ob/gyn settles for a pap smear or orders a pelvic sonogram.  It could also cover reproductive issues.

There are many problems with the nation’s current healthcare system that can be rectified through medical liability reform, pooling health insurance, offering tax incentives, allowing states to customize programs, and reforming insurance regulations. Forcing a government takeover of healthcare, especially through parliamentary gimmicks, will not solve America’s healthcare problems – it will only exacerbate them.

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Top Green Jobs During the Recession

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Green Dream Jobs and green workforce development consultant Jim Cassio released data that shows the top green job titles posted by employers and in which cities over the past year – during the recession.greenjobs

Although a plethora of studies show the potential for green jobs going forward, many note the dearth of data on current green jobs in the U.S. economy. Green Dream Jobs, online since 1996, collects concrete historical and current data on the job titles employers are actually looking to fill.

“The leading job tiles show the breadth of green positions across the economy,” says Rona Fried, Ph.D., CEO of SustainableBusiness.com, which runs Green Dream Jobs. “Most people think of energy auditing and renewable energy as green jobs, but leading non-profit organizations are major employers, and people needed to run projects and analyze data are in demand, as well as those in sales and business development. Engineers are also in demand for renewable energy operations and even in this economy, we’re still seeing many job openings in green building.”

“The data also point to the variety of skill levels employers seek – from executive skills as Executive Director of green non-profits (NGOs), to mid-level skills associated with analysis, project development and managerial positions, to entry level skills for positions like Administrative Assistant,” notes Jim Cassio.

Interestingly, the most frequently keywords used by job seekers to find job openings on Green Dream Jobs match many of the available positions: sustainability; climate change; wind, solar, construction manager, architectural designer, executive director, naturalist.

The top city for green employment over the past year is Washington DC, reflecting the many executive director positions at green NGOs. Other top 10 cities are those with aggressive green business incentives and policies: the San Francisco Bay area, New York, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, Portland, Oregon and Burlington, Vermont. The top 20 cities include Houston, Madison, Wisconsin, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego in California, and Philadelphia.

Although there have been fewer green job openings over the past year, there are a wide variety of employment opportunities in many fields and for people of all skill levels. As the economy recovers, we expect a surge in openings in the various renewable energies, as we saw in previous years. Green Dream Jobs will soon launch the Green Jobs Educational Directory to help people locate the hundreds of green job training programs under development across the US.

 Top 20 Green Job Titles

    Executive Director, Nonprofit
    Project Leader/Manager
    Sustainability Program Director/Manager
    Sales/Business Development Associate or Manager
    Marketing Manager/Coordinator
    Community Crew Leaders/Supervisors, Conservation Associations
    Business/Data Analyst
    Research Analyst/Manager
    Environmental Educator/Naturalist
    Account Executive/Manager, Sales
    Professor (various academic fields)
    Sustainability Analyst/Consultant
    Operations Manager
    Wind Energy Engineer
    Administrative Assistant
    Trainer, Training Specialist or Training Coordinator
    Electrical/Design Engineer
    Green Architect
    Green Building Project Manager
    Solar Process Engineer/Process Integration Engineer

More Than Half of U.S. Workers Say Their Jobs are ‘In Limbo’

In economy on September 4, 2009 at 9:51 pm

More than half of employed workers surveyed (1,000 employed US workers across industries throughout the country) said their jobs are stagnant, according to Development Dimensions International’s 2009 Pulse of the Workforce survey.

What makes their jobs stagnant? When compared to those who don’t think their jobs are stagnant, those who answered “yes” to this question are twice as likely to say they:

-Had no room to advance (32% of those who said their jobs are stagnant vs. 18% who said they aren’t)
-Are less likely to be asked to do more (14% vs. 27%)
-Are given fewer exciting challenges (3% vs. 26%)

Companies trying to grow again will feel the impact of this dissatisfaction. “The economy has forced organizations to focus on profits and the bottom-line, but this data tells us they’ve forgotten about the importance of also focusing on their people–putting their organizations at risk for high turnover, poor performance and low engagement,” said Jim Davis, vice president of workforce development for DDI.

Flight risk


Workers who don’t feel they’re being used to their full potential and have no place to go are more likely to leave–the only thing stopping them now is the economy (26% of those who said their jobs are stagnant vs. 9% who said they aren’t). Half of those who said their jobs are stagnant plan to look for another job when the economy improves and are more than twice as likely to move to another company if given the opportunity (77% vs. 32%).

“Companies that have taken their eye off of the ball when it comes to their employees will lose good people to other organizations and even competitors,” Davis said. In fact, 10% of stagnant workers will only wait another month before they make a change and 1 in 4 said they’ll wait no more than 90 days.

In a slump

The slumping economy has resulted in labor lethargy. Forty-six percent of workers who said their jobs are stagnant were twice as likely to “just do their job and go home” (versus 20% of those who don’t feel stagnant). They’re also less interested in what they do, and one-third as likely to say they’re excited to go to work.

Many of today’s workers are mentally checked-out of their jobs–their workloads are increasing, but they aren’t getting interesting challenges or opportunities to learn new skills. “This mentality is putting stress on the organization now, but will be even worse as the economy improves and as companies start to bring new employees in through the front door, their current employees will be walking out of the back door,” Davis said.

A place to grow

More than half of workers did not feel stretched outside of their comfort zone with their development or job opportunities–two areas where companies could be providing their workforce with experiences to keep them engaged. This is proven by the fact that 24% of people who are being asked to take on new challenges that stretch them are also more excited to go to work.
People who said their career is stagnant also were half as likely to be recognized for their efforts (56% vs. 27%). “For most people, the paycheck isn’t enough. They need to feel valued and challenged,” Davis said.

Summer slacking

So what are people doing pass the time at the office? Workers were just as likely to check their Facebook page during work hours (15% everyday) as they were to help a co-worker meet a deadline (14% everyday) and more likely than they were to ask for or take on an extra assignment (9% everyday).
And many chose to skip the office trip altogether, as 1 out of every 5 workers played hooky (called in sick when they weren’t) up to 3 times this summer.
“Look at the people who sit around you in the office–one has probably called in sick, skipping the water cooler to go to the pool instead, another is more likely to update their Facebook status than take on a new assignment,” Davis said. “People are just trying to get by in their jobs and companies aren’t taking measures to re-engage their workers and improve productivity.”

Most Prestigious Occupations in America

In Uncategorized on August 4, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Every year at this time, The Harris Poll asks whether an occupation can be considered to have very great prestige or hardly any prestige at all. This year there are some changes as well as some stability in what occupations are considered ‘prestigious’.

The survey was conducted between July 8 and 13, 2008, among 1,010 U.S. adults. 

The occupations at the top of the prestige list:

•Firefighter (62% say “very great prestige”),
•Scientist (57%),
•Doctor (56%),
•Nurse (54%),
•Teacher (51%), and
•Military officer (51%).

Least Prestigious Occupations:

Looking at the other side of the list, only 15% or fewer adults regard the following occupations as having very great prestige:

•Real estate agent/broker (5%),
•Accountant (11%),
•Stock broker (13%),
•Actor (15%).

Substantial majorities of adults (from 65% to 80%) believe that these occupations have “hardly any” or only “some” prestige.

Additionally, several occupations are regarded as “very prestigious” by more people this year than they were last year:

•Business executive, up six points to 23%,
•Military office, up five points to 51%, and
•Firefighter, up five points to 62%.

However, even with this improvement, business executives are still near the bottom of the list with 62% of Americans saying they have only some prestige or hardly any prestige at all.

Interestingly, the most recent Executive Quiz results conducted by The Korn/Ferry Institute reveal that nearly half (47 percent) of employed executives are either somewhat or very dissatisfied with their current position. The lackluster job market has not only left executives unhappy with their jobs, but survey results also uncover a lack of trust for corporate leadership.

When asked what best describes employee morale within their company, 45 percent of employed executives said either “fair” or “poor,” followed by 42 percent who said “good” and only 13 percent who said “outstanding.”
“The global recession has left fewer employees to do more work, often for less pay. Stress levels are high and some executives are getting burnt out. However, irrespective of the business cyclicality, companies must take proactive steps to keep key employees engaged if they want to retain them for the long term and be seen as an employer of choice.”

Two occupations lost four or more points since last year:

•Farmers, down five points to 36%,
•Accountant, down four points to 11%.

Biggest Changes over Last 30 Years

The Harris Poll first asked this question, but with a shorter list of occupations, in 1977. The biggest change since then has been a 22 point increase from 29% to 51% in those who believe teachers have very great prestige.

Two occupations have lost substantial ground since 1977: scientists, down 9 points to 57% and lawyers, down 10 points to 26%. In addition, two have remained unchanged – priests/ministers/clergy at 41% and journalists at 17%. Also, two have remained very stable – entertainers, down 1 point to 17%; and bankers, down 1 point to 16%.

So What?

While some of the numbers may fluctuate from year to year, one thing remains constant, especially in the past two decades. The professions that are at the top of the list and considered to have very great prestige are ones that are not considered to be high-paying jobs – firefighters, nurses and teachers. The ones at the bottom are ones that may have a lot of fame attached to them – athletes, actors, entertainers – or are ones that have the potential to earn large salaries – business executives, stockbrokers, real estate agents. People do not equate money and fame with prestige. These are two completely separate concepts to the American public.

Most Accountants Loyal To Their Companies

The accounting profession, when compared to the rest of the U.S. job market, has held up well in terms of job losses, shedding less than 2% of jobs since June 2008. Perhaps as a result, accountants are loyal to their employers with 57% saying they plan to stay with their companies once the economy improves, according to a new survey by Ajilon Finance, a leading specialty finance and accounting recruitment firm, in conjunction with the Institute of Management Accountants’ Inside Talk Webinar Series.

In contrast, a smaller but still significant number of accountants – more than one-fifth (23%) of the 458 accountants surveyed – say they plan to look for new jobs when the economy rebounds, according to the survey. Impressively, however, when asked where they see themselves in five years, 44% of accountants anticipate serving in a more senior role at their current company with a much smaller 25% saying they see themselves at another company in five years.

“Despite the deterioration of the overall job market over the past year, accountants are still in great demand nationwide,” said Jodi Chavez, senior vice president of Ajilon Finance. “That said there is still a strong core of highly-skilled accounting professionals available for hire. Companies which are gearing up for the transition to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the implementation of XBRL-tagged financial statements or even just for the coming tax season should take the opportunity now to snap up top accounting talent while it is available.”

Jobless Americans Turning to Career Resource Sites

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2009 at 9:46 pm

comScore, Inc. released a June 2009 overview of the career services & development category, which revealed that more than 65 million Americans visited the particular category in June, representing a 10-percent increase versus year ago, ranking it as one of the top-growing site categories. Seven of the top ten sites in the category achieved double-digit gains during that period.

CareerBuilder LLC led the category with 21.7 million unique visitors, followed by Yahoo! HotJobs with 17.9 million visitors (up 23 percent vs. year ago) and Monster.com with 14.5 million visitors (up 6 percent). The next three sites in the ranking have each achieved substantial growth in the past year, with Indeed growing 59 percent to 8 million visitors, Job.com Sites up 46 percent to 7.4 million visitors, and SnagAJob up 48 percent to 4.7 million visitors.

Top Career Resource Sites
June 2009 vs. June 2008
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore Media Metrix
  Total Unique Visitors (000)
Jun-2008 Jun-2009 % Change
Total Internet : Total Audience 189,873 193,896 2
Career Services and Development 59,031 65,221 10
CareerBuilder LLC 22,033 21,704 -1
Yahoo! HotJobs 14,535 17,861 23
Monster 13,605 14,472 6
Indeed 5,046 8,046 59
Job.com Sites 5,049 7,378 46
SnagAJob 3,160 4,662 48
Simply Hired, Inc. 2,882 3,876 35
JOBSONLINE.NET 2,294 2,996 31
OPM 973 2,765 184
BRASSRING.COM 2,249 2,005 -11

 

Top 10 Occupations Searched* on Career Service & Development Sites
June 2009
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore Marketer
Occupation / Search Term Searchers
Customer Service 273,310
Warehouse 257,484
Sales 216,784
Receptionist 178,787
Medical Assistant 161,232
Clerical 149,728
Construction 144,554
Driver 132,947
Retail 127,751
Security 107,219

 

WorkTree.com, the nation’s largest paid-membership job search portal, recently announced their top job search trends for the month of May, compiling data on many trends such as typical careers searched, desired salaries, and level of education.

The results show that the top careers being searched are in the fields of:

   Information Technology
   Human Resources
   Accounting/Finance
   Engineering
   Manufacturing/Operations

Sales dropped out of the top five most searched list from the previous month. These five fields represent 43% of all career fields searched during the month of May.

WorkTree.com also notes a drop in the salary level sought by its members. More than half of members searched for jobs in the $40,000 to $80,000 range, as compared with the previous month, where 21% of all searches were in the $90,000 to $120,000 range. In May, that salary range represented only 10% of searches. Typical education levels also dropped slightly. Nearly 71% of all searchers hold bachelor’s or master’s degrees as compared with 76% the previous month.

“We continue to see large numbers of highly qualified individuals actively seeking employment,” Board of Managers Chairman Allan Martin said. “One particularly interesting statistic – the willingness of people to relocate for work – is on the rise. It is the first time in many months we have seen that the number of new members willing to relocate is actually greater than the number of people unwilling to relocate for a job.”

Manufacturing Ranked Top Industry of Importance to Economy

In Uncategorized on June 9, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Despite more than a year of bad news as the manufacturing sector continues to contract, a new annual index released today by Deloitte LLP and The Manufacturing Institute shows that Americans view manufacturing as the most important industry for a strong national economy.

There is a wide perception gap, however, between the public’s highly positive views of manufacturing’s contributions to America’s economic success and their negative views about pursuing a career in manufacturing.
The survey, Public Viewpoint on Manufacturing, which assessed public perceptions and understanding of a wide range of issues related to manufacturing, shows that the majority of respondents (71 percent) view manufacturing as a national priority with 59 percent agreeing that the United States manufacturing industry effectively competes on a global scale.

These results fall in line with public perceptions that manufacturing plays a larger role in overall economic prosperity compared to the technology, energy, healthcare, retail, communications and financial services industries.
“The public’s ranking of manufacturing as the top industry of importance to our economy, as well as its belief that U.S. manufacturers can compete globally, is very telling,” said Craig Giffi, Deloitte LLP vice chairman and U.S. Consumer & Industrial Products industry leader. “Americans clearly still believe that manufacturing remains the backbone of the economy.”
Most also agreed that America’s manufacturing industries have a significant impact on their standard of living (81 percent) and on national security (68 percent). When asked what industry they would most want to have creating 1,000 jobs in their community, respondents listed manufacturing as their top choice, followed by technology, energy, healthcare, retailing, communications and financial institutions.
While Americans view manufacturing as the most important industry for a strong national economy, the Index shows that they are not pursuing careers in manufacturing. Only 17 percent named manufacturing as among their top two industry choices to start a career, and only 30 percent of parents said they would encourage their children to pursue jobs in manufacturing.
“These are jobs Americans want for their friends and neighbors — but not for themselves or their family members,” said Giffi. “America’s belief that manufacturing jobs are not clean, safe or interesting may have been accurate at one time, but it’s no longer the case.”
“This survey sheds light on a massive disconnect we are facing in manufacturing,” said Emily DeRocco, president of The Manufacturing Institute. “People have an outdated image of manufacturing and the career opportunities available. Cutting-edge technology has transformed manufacturing in ways that are hard to imagine if you haven’t visited a factory lately. Jobs now require postsecondary education, skills certification and credentials across a broad range of high-quality, middle class career paths. The reality is that manufacturers offer high-paying jobs and rewarding careers for American working men and women. Our job is to close the gap between perception and reality, which will help fuel the industry’s growth and prosperity.”
Respondents agreed with that conclusion. The majority (77 percent) believe that the United States needs a more strategic approach to develop its manufacturing base, and 74 percent said that the United States should further invest in manufacturing industries.
Finally, though Americans believe manufacturing is disadvantaged in the areas of corporate tax policies (46 percent), trade policies (45 percent) and general government business policies (45 percent), they are adamant on what gives the United States the upper hand. By far, the public sees technology use and availability (77 percent), skilled workers (74 percent) and energy availability (72 percent) as resources that give the nation its competitive edge.

Bad economy causing thirty-five percent of workers to dismiss vacation plans

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm

With only a few days until the official start of vacation season, money, anxiety and guilt are causing some workers to scrap their vacation plans. Consumers have become increasingly concerned for their jobs, and more than a third (35 percent) of workers say they haven’t gone on or aren’t planning to take a vacation in 2009; 71 percent of those indicate it is because they just can’t afford it, according CareerBuilder’s annual vacation survey. The survey was conducted from February 20 through March 11, 2009 among more than 4,400 workers. Additionally, close to one-in-five workers indicate that they are either afraid of losing their jobs if they go on vacation or feel guilty being away from the office.

Taking a vacation doesn’t necessarily mean a clean break from the office. Half (50 percent) of employers say they expect employees to check in with the office while they are away, with 40 percent indicating it’ll be necessary only if they are working on a big project or there is a major issue going on with the company. Close to three-in-ten (28 percent) workers say they plan to contact the office at least once, regardless of what they are working on, while they are on vacation.

“While the current economy may be causing workers anxiety about taking a vacation this year, a break from work is essential for maintaining healthy productivity levels in the office,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “Workers should plan ahead and make it a goal to use their vacation benefits; 15 percent reported that they didn’t use all of their allotted time last year. Utilizing your time off is even more important now due to the added responsibilities and pressure that some workers may be faced with due to the current economic situation.”

Just when will things start turning around? According to Richard Buczynski, chief economist at IBISWorld, the US economy will continue to decline by 3% in 2009, and will not return to its normal course until 2011. The full report, entitled ‘Economic Crisis: When will it end?’ is now available at the firm’s website. To view it, click here.