April 2013 Vol. 9, No. 4
Free Agency: Opportunity is Knocking
Last month’s newsletter featured ideas about alternative ways to work, and several readers expressed interest in learning more about “Free Agency.” There is a big difference between free agency and temping. Free agents need to understand the art of the deal. Temps are represented by marketing experts in firms that specialize in placing people in short or long-term assignments. The firms are responsible for making all arrangements relative to each assignment.
Free agents are not consultants - that terrible catch-all and, often, misleading phrase referring to those who offer advice. Free agents may offer advice but they roll up their sleeves and do the work.
They are part of a total talent solution.
Opportunity is knocking.
The bottom line is that if organizations don’t need you full-time, they won’t hire (or engage) you full-time. For some this appears as a threat. For others this is opportunity knocking. No matter how you may feel, the migration to a contingent workforce is no longer merely a trend for most organizations, regardless of their size or lines of business.
What else do you need to know?
Opportunities in free agency are not limited by any particular career choice. There are physician and attorney free agents just as there are more traditional free agents. Free agents are increasingly treated as valued and trusted team members and are often re-engaged at times of high need. Age is not a barrier; market-driven qualifications determine eligibility.
Take a short trip to the past as predictors of free agency.
Go back a few years to the writings of a pioneer on the subject of free agency. Search for and read Charles Handy’s book, The Age of Unreason, written in the late 1980’s. It was this book that was first to change the way people viewed the subject of work. This book influenced an initial group of people to come to realize that they worked for themselves no matter who the employer of record happened to be at any particular moment in time. Handy’s second book, The Elephant and the Flea, continued his thoughtful prescription for leading an independent life.
A more recent author, Daniel Pink, wrote about this way to work in his book, Free Agent Nation:
For the record, this is what Daniel Pink had to say about free agency vs. jobs:
“The basic bargain at the center of work used to be that employees gave loyalty
and the organization gave security. That bargain is kaput.”
Other, more recent, books by Daniel Pink will give you additional insight into this new world of work. Check out his website at www.danpink.com.
Continuing the Conversation! Your first task is to determine your suitability for free agency.
Ask yourself, should I strike my own declaration of independence? The answer is a resounding “yes” if you have specific, market-ready experience to offer and if you are willing to maintain market-readiness no matter what the challenge. If you can’t answer in the affirmative, think again.
Study the advantages and challenges of working as a free agent.
Advantages: Explicit independent arrangements, while demanding, are often more exciting than those jobs that simply involve working as a member of the regular, full-time workforce. Free agency allows freedom for other activities between “gigs.” When an assignment is completed to everyone’s satisfaction, expertise is advanced and reputation builds. The pay is usually good, often more than what you were making (hour-for-hour) in regular, full-time employment. Unlike a dead-end job, a really bad assignment has an end date you may enthusiastically anticipate.
Challenges: The assignment usually involves a contract as a safeguard for both parties. Such a contract need not be complicated but it is a written commitment and an outline of conditions that are important to acknowledge. Sometimes the contract is complicated. Sometimes it is a simple, written understanding and an outline of conditions that are important to both parties. Should a firm seem reluctant to offer a well-crafted letter of agreement; free agents often draft the agreements themselves. Contracts/agreements should be reviewed by your attorney in order to avoid pitfalls, especially in the areas of compliance with wage and hour laws.
How are fees set?
One way to set fees is to bill for time. The advantage to the client is that they only pay for actual time spent on a project or assignment. One disadvantage to a time-based fee, from the organization’s perspective, is that there is no particular incentive for the free agent’s efficiency and there may be a fair amount of client uncertainty as to total costs of a project. Another way to set fees is to bill by the project. In this case, both parties agree to a fixed fee regardless of the time spent. You calculate your project fee by multiplying your billing rate by estimate time and add a cushion to allow for unexpected time/work. Whichever way you bill, you must remember that wage and hour rules or other laws/regulations apply.
Some mistakes are simply painful learning experiences. For example, charging too little for too big a job may be painful. Charge too much and you probably won’t be offered the assignment. Research the marketplace for your expertise: not knowing the value of the work you provide is certain to catch you in that old dilemma of being either too cheap or too expensive for an organization’s budget.
The most common pitfalls are misunderstand wage and hour laws, failure to complete an assignment for almost any reason, and shifting the terms of an agreement once the assignment is underway.
Top 10 tips for free agents.
1.You may like the idea of working as a free agent but may not be suited to the marketing/selling/billing
involved in this career path. Temp jobs may prove to be a better alternative for you. But, nobody says you
can’t alternate methods of positioning yourself.
2.Launching without constant market research ensures poor results. 3.Interviewing successful free agents in your field is part of your market research. 4.Never work “just” for the money. Advancing your knowledge and building your reputation are great reasons
to accept a project.
5.Focus your expertise and brand your talents/offerings. You must understand the power of creating your
Paint a “brand” picture using words people can see in their minds’ eyes without resorting to attempting to
interpret difficult words.
6.Make a client out of your current or former employer. This will help you to quickly establish your
7.Take a sales training (not an interviewing) class. 8.Create alliances with other independent professionals. 9.Commit to completing all assignments even during grueling gigs.
10. Setup your next assignment while you are still on assignment. A good way to do this is to set a
“come-back” assignment review date (before you complete the current assignment).
Best to you and all other readers who seek to declare their independence from the world of “jobs.”
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March 2013 Vol. 9, No. 3
This Month’s Q&A and Stop Looking for Jobs!
Q. I appreciated last month’s ideas about temping as an alternative to regular, full-time employment. What other ways are there to work in our maturity?
A. Happy you asked. I can think of at least two dozen alternatives to regular, full-time work. But, first let me tell you why alternatives are more important today than they were yesterday.
Have you heard of the “Protean Corporation?” No? For a comprehensive explanation, read Michael Malone’s The Future Arrived Yesterday: The Rise of the Protean Corporation and What it Means for You. The book describes what I’ve been telling you for years – “If you are not needed full-time, you will not be hired full-time.” In the Protean Corporation, a small number of key employees make up the core. They create the structure and the strategy for the organization.
The rest contribute in a number of ways.
How do non-core people contribute to these Protean Corporations while taking care of their own needs?
They may work as project workers when needed. They may barter work in exchange for gain-sharing. They may offer outsourced solutions because they live close to customers and are able to represent the organization in several ways. For example, as the local, trusted face of the organization, they may command a percentage of new sales they bring to the organization. Likewise, they may be paid by fees for service. They may work “in the cloud” from anywhere on the planet. Some may have long-term contracts for clearly defined services and clearly defined compensation. Few are consultants – that catch-all term that was so overused in our past. What I mean is – don’t call yourself a consultant unless you are one. The definition of a consultant is: A person who provides expert advice professionally.
For most workers and many organizations, this is new thinking. It is not. Large organizations have worked this way for years. Coaching and Talent Management firms live through the work of “adjuncts” – another term for independent workers who contribute for pay to firms only when needed.
So why do we think of jobs in a world where work itself is clearly defined by those who find multiple ways to earn incomes, to contribute to society, to stay relevant and so forth and so on? Why can’t we think of bringing our talents, skills and experiences to the world of work in the way that makes most sense in this day and age when market forces are so dynamic?
Think of the words of Theodor Geisel’s Dr. Seuss, who famously advised:
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.”
Q. Why are so many older workers still being laid off when the news often claims that employers are seeing their value? I’ve been out of a job for over 6 months.
A. According to the Labor Department, the average duration of unemployment (from jobs) by older workers was 53 weeks. We can’t analyze your situation without a lot more knowledge.
In our opinion, lengthy time-outs for older workers are, in part, because many have been laid off from industries that are downsizing (like manufacturing) or from jobs that have been supplanted by new technology or other irrevocable changes. Frankly, skills gained over time, such as in many manufacturing jobs, also resulted in higher pay than many organizations are willing to pay. These organizations’ hiring teams may cling to the old saw that “as soon as you find a better job at better pay, you’ll leave,” a long-held bias that is a challenge to overcome. And, yes, there is plenty of discrimination. Have you learned to deal with the obvious challenges mature workers face? Have you purchased our very affordable myth cards for mature workers? They will definitively show you how to position age as an advantage rather than as an apology.
Now, let’s return to my original answer to this month’s first question.
Rather than suffer for extended periods of time while seeking a job just like the job that sustained dear old dad (or mom), why not look beyond the old world of jobs and begin to explore new ways to work in order to take a step into the future you seek?
Identify and research organizations that could use your skills, knowledge and experience in part-time, project, or temporary positions. Although you can search the job boards for project and part-time work as well as contact temporary employment agencies, the most effective way to secure new opportunities is by networking. Develop referral sources that can introduce you to the heads of functions within companies where you can make a contribution.
By seeking career options with organizations that need your talents in alternative positions, you’ll stay engaged, you’ll feel better about yourself and you will find that activity is its own reward.
We are inspired by Dr. Seuss and his childhood advice as well as by Mark Twain’s simple words:
“Years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in you sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
February 2013 - Vol. 9 No. 2
Q&A : The AGE of the SUPERTEMP
Q. Why has the unemployment rate continued to decline? Surely, we must be doing better. The news says that we are; so it must be true.
A. Have you seen the TV commercial where the discussion centers on the so-called fact that if news appears on the Internet, it “must be true because the Internet doesn’t lie?” The unemployment rate is not the result of more people working but of more people leaving the labor force. If you look at historical evidence, the labor force participation rate is continuing to decline as measured by the Department of Labor.
Watch the blame game begin as more of the inevitable economic shift continues. Think about how the game is played and who holds the reins. Think about how we measure employment and unemployment and think about the inaccuracies that result.
Act where you have control over that part of the game that affects you. Learning to work in a new world is within your control. The rest, in large part, is show biz.
Q. Where are the most “jobs” being created?
A. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most “jobs” have been created in local, state and federal government. There are fewer private sector “jobs” in the U.S than there were in 2008. The illusion of recovery is, in my opinion, just that – we are, at the very best, in “stagnation.”
Allow me to repeat; there are other ways to work; many more exciting and fulfilling than regular full-time jobs in the 20th century sense of the word.
Q. Do you believe that 2013 will see a resurgence of jobs in the U.S. workforce?
A. No. I believe that 2013 will see the expansion of other ways to work; in particular, what we call the “SUPERTEMP” – gigs for professionals and executives who are in high demand. The so-called 20th century stigma about temporary workers is over. The market for talent is in full swing because an employer that doesn’t need you full time won’t hire you full time. This looks like a threat to many folks but to me it is opportunity knocking loudly at the door to the future.
For many, cycling between regular, full-time employment and temporary or free agent roles will become a way of life. While this may seem stressful to many, think about the opportunity to learn as well as to stay abreast of marketplace changes that will keep you either employed or employable for years to come.
Another factor feeding the growth of part-time jobs is Obamacare. Companies are converting full-time positions into part-time jobs (defined as working less than 30 hours per week) to avoid the mandated health insurance coverage. Obamacare requires large employers, defined as having 50 FTE’s (Full Time Equivalent employees) or more to provide health insurance to full-time workers, but not part-time employees.
Q. Give me an example that proves your claim that temporary gigs are growing day by day.
A. Ask Carl Camden, CEO of Kelly Services, and he will tell you (as he told me) that the highly skilled and professional temps are the fastest growing side of his fast changing business in many, many parts of the world.
In other words, the professional temporary market has broken into the world of work. Professionals and executives are beginning to work in this world as eagerly as they once worked in so-called stable firms. They are seeing the power of innovation, the benefits of change as well as the opportunity to continue to learn and develop additional competencies. In case you did not know, temporary firms often offer portable health coverage.
Of course, there’s a downside. People worry about “flow” – meaning how to bridge assignments. In part, this concern is because the high-end temporary market is still emerging; but soon, very soon, organizations and people will see that this market is perfectly suited to highly skilled/experienced professionals who want flexibility and the opportunity to stay in the game of work long after others have been sent out to pasture from their mislabeled “permanent” jobs.
In addition to traditional temporary firms, Resources Global Professionals and the Turnaround Management Association are two such organizations that specialize in placing high-end temps.
Q. Is the new economy entirely market driven?
A. Pretty much – YES – at least in the private sector. But it is your careful planning and preparation that benefits both employers and individuals. See our 8-step strategic process in Boom or Bust!: New Career Strategies in a New America to understand the steps to achieving alignment. When optimized, alignment looks like this:
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January 2013 - Vol. 9, No. 1
Q&A About Facts that Affect the Emerging 2013 Workforce and Workplace
Several individuals sent me their most pressing questions in terms of emerging workplace or workforce challenges. I promised that I would not avoid answers that might prove painful to them (or you) but would present threats and opportunities within the researched facts. In no particular order, here are their questions and my answers.
Q. Do you believe the improving unemployment numbers? Should I be encouraged?
No, I don’t believe the numbers and you need not be encouraged or discouraged by these numbers. Old ways of measuring unemployment numbers are glaringly inaccurate. Allow me to illustrate certain discrepancies by using the words of statistician John Williams
“There are a number of ongoing problems with the released numbers. For example, the concurrent-seasonal factor adjustments are unstable. The birth-death model adds non-existent jobs each month that are then taken out in the annual downward benchmark revisions.”
Williams calculates that the total employment numbers throughout 2012 “have been overstated by about 500,000 jobs. Each month’s jobs number is boosted by downside revision of the previous month’s jobs number. Williams reports that “the 146,000 new jobs reported for November were after a significant downside revision to October’s reporting. Net of prior-period revisions, November’s seasonally-adjusted monthly gain was 97,000.” Take a look at revised December figures in a few weeks.
Current rates promoted by the government are known as “headline rates.” You will find them in the Bureau of Labor Statistics under U-3. These are the numbers that are almost always revised upwards after they have been publicized and given false reassurance to many struggling people (hence the “headline” designation). The BLS also has unemployment rates reported as U-5 and U-6, rates that are a bit more realistic because they do include “discouraged workers” who have given up looking for jobs. The U-6 rate is usually double the “headline rate.” It is still lower than the actual rate of unemployment according to John Williams, and other statisticians, who believes the actual rate of unemployment is north of 20%.
Do these numbers suggest that measuring “jobs” as the standard for defining “work” even makes sense any longer? Did it ever? Since when has “headline news” of any sort reflected the rest of the story? Ignore unemployment numbers. If you are unemployed your number is 100%.
You can easily see the truth and the threat in misleading stats. Can you see the opportunity? Virtual workers, temporary workers, independent and free-agent workers are fast becoming the norm. In fact, 40% of Americans no longer work in traditional, regular, full-time jobs and their number is expected to be 50% by 2020. People will now transition in and out of various ways of working – including jobs – because one size no longer fits all for very long. Are you looking in a number of directions? If you are not, it is likely you soon will.
Q. I am concerned about immigrants taking American’s jobs. Are you?
Well-targeted immigration is an important tool if America is to compete effectively in the 21st century. We need to continue to open new visas for specialized foreign students, engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs. They contribute greatly to our success as a global player in a growing field of global players. As an FYI, legal immigrants founded or co-founded dozens of technology companies including Google, Yahoo, Intel, eBay, and Sun. Some studies, such as the A. Kauffman Foundation study by Vivek Wadhwa (www.wadhwa.com), found that 52 percent of Silicon Valley startups were "immigrant-founded."
I often hear the argument that we have too many people in America to consider bringing more people to our shores. Nonsense. We have one of the lowest population densities in the world and calculated immigration will fill skills gaps in areas where we are not satisfying high-need, market-driven openings. Likewise, I hear the argument that we must educate our children and ourselves to fill these jobs. I agree but we are running low on time to get it right fast enough. It will take all of us to reach the future. If time is to be our ally, consider that we must increase both targeted immigration and highly specialized studies for our own workers of any age
Is the dearth of market-driven jobs for Americans a threat or an opportunity? You are well advised to think carefully about the direction of the market and what new directions mean to your choices of learning. Look beyond yourself to your children and grandchildren and consider such facts that up to 50% of recent U.S. college graduates are not securing regular, full-time employment. Ask yourself – WHY? Are we still preparing people for a past that is long gone? Is there an opportunity embedded within the threats that will help you and your children to see the future of the workplace as it is becoming and not as it once was? Are there other, better ways to learn beyond the traditional on-campus college-degree driven program?
Q. What are the most important tools in the Boomers’ toolkit?
The most important tool is not the resume. The most important tool is the tool that works. Speaking for myself, I have never used a traditional resume but rather concentrated on creating truthful documents that were short, readable and relevant to a targeted audience at a particular time for a particular opportunity. Don’t be fooled. The resume is one tool in a toolkit but it is not a cure-all for the absence of equally important tools.
Where does opportunity live within the threat of sending endless resumes to (largely) disinterested employers or prospective clients? It lives within your understanding of which marketing tool to use at which time. For a comprehensive social media site, go to www.theSocialMarketingDiva.com. Learn more about everything from creating a website to the best utilization of the latest social media tools including an effective LinkedIn profile.
Q. If you have advice for managing my career in 2013, what would it be? I recommend 4 simple rules for playing the new game of work!
1.)First and foremost, learn to manage your career as your “business” not as your “job.” The truth is that no matter who is paying you – you work for yourself! 2.)Learn to plan, implement and measure strategy. Strategy’s underlying premise is that it is the alignment between changing marketplace need and individual preference that creates meaningful outcomes. 3.)Make learning your lifelong commitment. Businesses that don’t continue to learn don’t continue to earn. Neither will you. Learning fills in the gaps between what you used to do and what you must do next. 4.)Retire retirement. Some form of work is life lengthening and life enriching. I am not suggesting that late stage work need remotely resemble a job – but work itself, whether for pay, for fun, for the good of others, part-time, full-time or just-in-time, is good for you!
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December 2012 - Vol. 8, No. 12
Prediction: Boomers Returning to the Classroom
Last month we looked at the predictability of workforce change. I stated that alternative ways to work (as contrasted with the traditional 20th century JOB model) drives workforce change for the foreseeable future. (Write to me if you would appreciate receiving a copy of an upcoming presentation on Alternative Careers to executives in Sacramento. One slide from that presentation appears toward the end of this newsletter.)
I neglected to talk about the most obvious prediction in my quiver. I predict that Boomers will return to the classroom in droves (both the virtual classroom as well as affordable classrooms such as found at the University of Phoenix and through extended study programs).
Backdrop: U.S. companies face the serious challenge of finding the right talent in America. By some accounts, over 1 million new jobs are going unfilled because we don’t have enough qualified people right here – right now.
Factoids: Companies are seeking additional visas. For example, the House is expected to approve the STEM Jobs Acts that will award an additional 55,000 visas to students with doctoral and master’s degrees in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). According to the Seattle Times, for instance, Microsoft is so eager to find qualified engineers and programmers for “thousands of vacancies” that they have offered to “pay a bounty to the government in exchange for extra visas in order to import more foreign workers.” 10 percent of their workforce of around 58,000 are H-1B visa holders.
And, yes, the majority holds technical jobs – but, by no means are all technical contributors requiring advanced degrees. Immigrants continue to fill over a quarter of total patent applications in the U.S. in 2013. Likewise, did you know that while immigrants represent just 13% of the population, they launched over a quarter of all new business in 2012? By some counts, one-quarter of all STEM-focused companies in the United States count at least one immigrant as a founder.
Globalization is a fact of life. But this doesn’t mean you don’t get to play.
Pay attention. Invention, innovation and preparedness are not birthrights. Your answer to adding value to an investment in yourself is right in front of you. Online learning and other types of learning, such as found at the University of Phoenix, are about to overtake traditional learning.
From MIT to Harvard to UCLA, you are about to be surprised by both the affordability of higher education and the accessibility to achieving the fast results you might need. Time to learn is no longer measured in terms of 2-4-6 years. Time to learn is now measured by what you need to learn, how hard you are willing to work and how fast you can achieve market-driven results.
Is additional education in your future?
Consider: You are now part of a global workforce and must adapt just as organizations are adjusting to changing needs. Learning must be a part of everything you do for increased change is in your future. For a picture as to how I see how most of us must adapt to work in the 21st century, see the chart below:
The Bottom Line?
If you continue to learn in alignment with market-driven need, your mid and late-stage careers might prove to be, just as mine has, the very best work you’ve ever done!
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November 2012 - Vol. 8, No. 11
WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF-EVIDENT!
In terms of who will lead the country for the next four years, the dye is cast. But, in terms of how the workplace must adjust to the future, certain truths are yours to face. In a classic SWOT analysis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SWOT_analysis) (such as business leaders complete annually), these economic/technological/global/demographic ideas are presented here to stimulate your thinking and planning for 2013. 1.Forget about Politicians’ promises - they cannot promise you a job. This is your challenge and whether you work (in any capacity) or not is entirely dependent upon what you do next. Ask yourself: do you have a strategic plan for 2013? If not, why not?
2.No organization will hire you full-time if you are not needed full-time. Do you have a strategy for part-time, temporary, project, or just-in-time work? If not, should you? 3.The era of “jobs” is giving away to the era of “work” in all its iterations. Have you considered new ways to work? For example, career portfolios, new business enterprises, franchising, adjunct work and solopreneurship are but a few ways to work that may trump your 20th century dependency upon jobs. 4.No end is in sight for the unrest the world is facing. This fact alone changes many opportunities. Have you learned to pay attention to world change as it affects your choices locally, regionally, nationally or globally? 5.Invention and innovation are not birthrights. Are you paying attention to the technological and global surprises that are poised to change opportunities you hope to pursue? Are you adjusting to changes that affect your career? 6.Can you afford to overlook the challenges your competition (mature Americans) must face as you age? Can you stand apart? Almost a quarter of the labor force is now over 55. With over 40 million Americans 65 and older (double the populations of Canada and Australia), you are in a position to take advantage of demographic change. Do you know how to leverage this time and this age of your career and life?
I could go on but the bottom line is the question – are you ready for your future? Do you think about your own economic future as the only war where you can win the battle for your own economic independence and, have you asked yourself, are you willing to do what it takes to win your war for your future?
Q. Who will be tomorrow’s workers?
A. Good question for this month’s topic. I predict that Boomers will, increasingly, have a large role in labor force participation. But I am not claiming that they will continue to dominate the full-time job market. A large number of Boomers will work part-time or continue their careers as portfolios.
Think about it. Is it time to look at a career portfolio rather than a job resume?
The trends, such as increased employment of “interim” – “project-specific” and “part-time” or “just-in-time” workforce can create fear in your heart or opportunity in your head. The age bracket most likely to have been hired in these capacities over the last four years are the over 55-year-olds.
This is rather a good-news/bad-news perspective. If boomers that stay skilled and hone their competencies, work will be plentiful. If boomers migrate to lower income part-time work, less consumption will be the result. GDP will suffer as will our standard of living. Your choice! Learn now and continue to compete financially; or slow-down now and adjust.
I like the idea of long range planning – stay abreast of change and remain competitive now but prepare to embrace later effects of age and time in order to ensure that your advanced years stay filled with interesting and meaningful work of one sort or another. Your “encore” may, in fact, offer your best opportunity to “swap income for impact.” (Thank you Marc Freedman, Founder of Civic Ventures, which just changed its name to Encore.org, www.encore.org, for this quote.)
With Aloha for now. Look for our annual predictions in the December issue. Brad and Carleen will share their thoughts, and we welcome yours.
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October 2012 - Vol. 8, No. 10
Sources of Job Leads
(Note: The S-AGE is taking the month off and has invited Brad Taft to share his wisdom on a timely topic. Brad co-facilitates the AgelessInAmerica.com website, is a career transition consultant, and provides expert witness services in employment-related lawsuits.)
To conduct an effective search for a new career opportunity, job seekers must use a number of sources to identify job leads. The following list of sources has been developed using the results of a well-respected survey, the 2012 Source of Hire Report. The percentage of new hires from each source is listed after its name.
This study by CareerXRoads (www.CareerXRoads.com), a consulting firm that assists companies in developing effective recruitment strategies, has surveyed major employers annually for the past 11 years about what sources they use to hire new employees. Kudo’s to Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler, principals of CareerXRoads, for their contribution to the body of knowledge in the field of employment.
Networking is still the most effective way for job seekers to land new career opportunities. By identifying referral sources and developing relationships with them, job seekers can gain insights into organizations, learn about job openings that are not publicly posted, and gain introductions to hiring decision-makers.
Job Boards (20.1%)
The Internet is an effective source of job postings, and job boards are used by many organizations to publicize their open positions. The challenge for job seekers is to set themselves apart from the multitude of people who apply to these postings. Before applying for a job found online, job seekers should network with referral sources who can provide information about the job and the company and who could help the job seeker get an introduction into the organization, possibly to the hiring authority. Companies do not necessarily post all open jobs, especially senior professional and top executive positions.
Career Site (9.8%)
Just like job boards, the Internet provides companies with the opportunity to post its open positions on their own websites. The same challenge exists for job seekers to separate themselves from the throngs of people who apply online for these positions. Again, companies do not necessarily post all open jobs, especially senior professional and top executive positions.
Recruiter Initiated (9.1%)
Company recruiters network to identify and screen candidates, especially for hard to fill opportunities. Job seekers should identify and develop relationships with internal recruiters.
College recruiting for new graduates is still utilized by many companies. Alumni Associations have teamed up with university career planning and placement offices to offer job postings for companies and career support to alumni.
Companies are contacting previous employees to determine if they have an interest in returning, and individuals should include their former employers on their lists of target companies.
Social Media (3.5%)
While most companies report little or no impact from the use of Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn (LI) continues to grow as a “Channel of Influence” for source of hires. Companies are increasing their use of LI Job Postings, Groups, Company Pages, Marketing Campaigns and the Profile Database.
Print Advertisements (2.2%)
Although the Internet has become the “electronic want-ads”, companies still place recruitment advertisements in newspapers and professional and industrial publications.
Individuals hired on a temporary, part-time or project basis are in an excellent position to be considered for full-time opportunities by the company. The organization can “check-out” the person in the temporary role to determine if they are an appropriate hire for a full-time position.
3rd Party (2.1%)
Companies use external recruiters to identify and screen candidates, especially for hard to fill opportunities. Job seekers should identify and develop relationships with recruiting firms that can consider them for search assignments with companies.
Career Fairs (1.9%)
Organizations set up booths at career fairs to attract potential candidates, and job seekers should be on the lookout for career fairs that specialize in functions and industries that match their interests.
While considered a “shot in the dark”, job seekers who walk-in unannounced to companies may have timing on their side and may be considered for appropriate opportunities.
To plan and implement an effective job search campaign, individuals must develop a strategy that includes action steps to develop job leads through a variety of methods including the ones listed above. While the mix of sources of hire can differ from organization to organization, its clear from this survey's data that Networking is the most effective method for identifying job leads and getting hired. Setting daily and weekly goals, following up on all contacts including referral sources, and continuing to try new sources of leads are essential elements of a successful job search campaign.
For more information on planning and implementing effective job search campaigns, visit Brad’s website: www.WorkingMyWay.com.
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September 2012 - Vol. 8, No. 9
The Importance of Assessments at Every Turning Point in Your Career
The 21st century is a world where organizations will not hire you full-time if you are not needed full-time. This is a world where, in many countries, 3 to 4 years is the average length of employment in private sector jobs. This is a world where globalization, new technologies, economic uncertainties and demographic change have accelerated both the pace and demands of change. This is a world where change is one of the few constants.
Today, precisely because we must learn to work in many new ways throughout ever longer lifetimes, targeted and specifically directed internal analysis and self-assessment have become more important than in days of yore. Before the clock strikes midnight in your career, you may need to explore a wide range of new opportunities in order to remain gainfully, or meaningfully, engaged in the workplace.
•Are you at mid-career and are familiar options disappearing before your eyes? How might you redirect your career while there is still plenty of time for repositioning? Mid-career assessment assisted by qualified experts just makes sense. It’s rather like a 50,000 mile checkup for your car. Time to look at your options from the inside out before the car - or the career - gives out! Take a look at our free 50,000 mile checkup; does it suggest a time-out for planning to upgrade skills or change direction in advance of the next stage of your career? Does good planning begin with careful assessment before leaping into your next commitment? •It is said that demographics predict destiny. If this is so and you are at the time of life that you yourself might describe as a late-stage career, it is doubtful that your youthful goals apply to your mature self. Assessing your interests and then leveraging your goals at this stage of life just makes sense. For a comprehensive guide to assessing your life and work after age 50, look for the new Life Planning Network’s Live Smart after 50 on this site in the October newsletter.
But, wait… Other changes demand customizable assessment.
For example, let’s say that you are interested in buying or starting your own business. In the U.S. alone, 600,000 people seek to explore such options annually. Do you know the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs and can you manage your fear of risk? Is looking at yourself in a meaningful, directed way one of the keys to overcoming the challenges of taking risks – of changing your mindset from working for someone else to working for yourself?
Can you name at least two dozen alternative career paths to pursue? We can and state that aligning the right assessment instrument and process with the right coach just makes good sense as time, interests and opportunities shift gears. It is the first step in strategic planning toward achieving new goals.
Excerpted, in part, from my contribution to the Career Partners International (www.cpi.com) Blog – a Blog worth tracking!
This month’s questions…
Q. I am thinking about starting an import business of an inexpensive consumer product but am concerned that now may not be a good time to invest in such an endeavor since there is such a big push to “buy American.” What do you think?
A. Speaking in generalities, as the world’s largest trading nation, our prosperity depends on trade. Trade allows us to tap into markets and fosters innovation. It is both a key to economic growth and a tool in economic recovery. There is plenty of opportunity for both exporting and importing as the U.S. has at least ten free-trade agreements globally. However, it is not up to me to suggest that your business idea is one that will work or that you are even suited to this type of work. Do your homework. Interview both importers and exporters.
Q. If we are in economic recovery, why has median annual income continued to decline? What does this mean to the future?
A. Median annual income has declined 4.8 percent from $53,508 to $50,964 since the (so-called) recovery technically began in June 2009, according to a new study from Sentier Research (www.sentierresearch.com.) That's nearly double the 2.6 percent drop during the recession.
Especially hard-hit are Americans ages 55 to 64 who experienced nearly a 10 percent drop in income since 2009. Many reasons come to mind. (1) Certain jobs/careers are gone forever. (2) Organizations will no longer hire people full-time if they don’t need them full-time. (3) Longevity-based pay is a past-practice, especially in the private sector. You are worth what you’re worth today because (4) market-need drives value and certain occupations are no longer worth as much to the market as they once were.
What does it mean to the future? People must have what the market wants and they had better watch for changes that seemingly come from left field. Many more people will find that working for themselves is, at least, as good an option as working for someone else.
What does it mean to you? Where does your career fit in terms of meeting high-level market needs? Do you need to do more than one thing in order to safeguard your income? Can you reposition your skills and talent in order to fill one of the over 1.5 million jobs that are going begging today? Is it time to visit new opportunities in learning through any one of several educational options?
Q. I am considering starting a business selling to the Boomer generation but have been advised to cater to the “youth” generation. What are your thoughts?
A. The fact that the youngest Boomers are rapidly approaching the 50+ years is good news for Boomer businesses. Nearly half of consumer goods and services purchased are bought by people 50 and older. Boomers are not particularly brand loyal as a group and they welcome new products that make sense to their interests.
By 2020, the 60 plus generation will have skyrocketed. At 60, most Boomers are still very much in their vitally active years. Most in the public sector will retire in their 60’s (with pensions) and I can see many, many exciting markets for this demographic in a range of products and services.
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August 2012 - Vol. 8, No. 8
Think of Aging as Transforming; Sounds More Interesting, Doesn’t It?
Lots of questions this past month and, in particular, some of our readers want us to go “back to the Boomers” and answer questions about workplace/workforce challenges that affect them.
Q. You claim that many of us will work into our 70’s. Who will hire us? Seems like a dead-end to me.
A. I claimed that many of us will work into our 70’s but I never suggested that a traditional job, working for someone else, was the way we will work. I can think of dozens of options as preferable (for any number of reasons) for working later in life; whether for the money, for the fun, for legacy or to combat boredom and loneliness. IF you don’t know how to work except for someone else in a regular, full-time “job” – you’ve missed countless opportunities and will face unrelenting rejection. See a list of alternative opportunities at the end of this newsletter.
FYI: By 2030 when the first of the Boomers reach the age of 84, one in four Americans will be older than 65. If we don’t find new ways to sustain our longer lifetimes, we will leave an ugly, unsupportable burden as our legacy to our children.
Q. What is the average retirement age for older Americans?
A. If you mean voluntary retirement from traditional private-sector jobs, the average retirement age is around 62-65. Now, keep in mind that many younger-age involuntary retirements skew the stats as one result of dramatic market downturns. Also, it is still true that public sector retirements, complete with pensions, skew the overall picture of retirement age. So, the answer is: it depends! You call it!
On the other hand, when private-sector, pension-less workers are queried as to when they prefer to retire, it is reported that over 2/3rds state that they “PLAN” to continue to work until around the age 70. So what’s the problem? The problem is that they don’t plan at all – they hope or expect. (A recent study by the Future Workplace claims that 77% of Boomers and 82% of Gen X’ers are expecting to work into their 70s.)
Recently, Congress passed a bill that gave FEDS a new option for working additional years or for “phasing into retirement.”
On the emerging good news side of tough times, around 25% of private-sector organizations are adapting to alternative workweek structures and flexible options. It is becoming increasingly commonplace to offer reduced working hours, phased retirement, project assignments, job-sharing and telecommuting. Want to know more? Check-out the “Survey on the Strategic Involvement of HR in Fortune 1000 Companies” by Human Resources Services, Inc., (HRS). Look into HRS’s non-profit – The Center for Productive Longevity (www.ctrpl.org) whose mission is to stimulate increased engagement of people 55 and older.
Follow the evolving story of the flexible workforce and you will see progress every few months. It is not just a matter of whether the economy improves, stays at status quo or regresses further into recession. It is because organizations that don’t need you full-time won’t hire or retain you full-time. Labor costs are the single largest burden for most employers to bear, and they are fast-adapting to new ways in order to manage costs in a competitive global, technologically-driven economy.
Q. What do you think is one of the biggest challenges our aging workforce/country is facing?
A. Unprecedented demographic change.
In part, I got interested in the subject of workforce/workplace change through my study of demographic changes faced by the U.S., Canada, Japan and other countries around the globe. While demographics are NOT the only predictor of destiny, understanding changing demographics explains a lot about how we will work, when we will work, how we will live, where we will live and what economic challenges will be inevitable in the very next turn of the page into YOUR future.
Take the time. Watch the following YouTube video (it’s lengthy but it affects YOU) for perspectives about the impact of changing demographics. You may not agree with everything that is said but I am confident that you will agree with most of what is put forth. Go to: www.demographicwinter.com/index or simply click on the following YouTube Link at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxUD8E-qbyI.
As promised last month, here are a few of my preferred ways to work for Boomers and Beyond!
Adjuncts , Coaches, Creative Artists, Entrepreneurs, Franchise Owners, Free Agents, Home-Based Business Owners, Mentors and Advocates, Portfolio Jugglers, Solopreneurs, Subject-Matter Experts, and Temps.
Which one tickles your imagination? Want to know more? Ask me!
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July 2012 - Vol. 8, No. 7
Smarter Planning Matters with Longer Lifetimes Ahead!
Half of all children born today in industrialized nations will live to see 100! Half of all high-school and college aged children will live to see 95 and 90! This means that half of each group will live longer!
What are the right questions to ask at the earliest stages of our anticipated longer lifetimes
in preparation for that part of life we call “LIFE/WORK?”
Continuing June’s newsletter theme, the S-AGE is here to help you to research a few facts in order to ask the right questions. This month’s focus is on emerging high-school and college-age workers.
Watch numerous fascinating interviews with top leaders by Fareed Zakaria about American education at: Restoring the American Dream: Fixing Education. Note the role YOU have in making changes happen for/to/with your children and grandchildren.
What are the questions you should be asking during your children’s high-school years? Who (other than you) is monitoring your children to make certain they are on track for their next learning experiences? Have your children’s strengths/interests been thoroughly and formally assessed? If not, why not? Are they capitalizing on these strengths? Have you ever considered that tutoring to a child’s strengths may prove more beneficial than tutoring to their weaknesses?
What are a few facts about college level education you should know? Over 50 percent of public two-year college students and almost a third of four-year students complete at least one remedial education course. With tuition and fees rising at a rate more than four-times the consumer price index, it does seem like an expense that might be better addressed elsewhere than the traditional campus setting.
According to research (see Rutgers study and others online), fewer than half of college graduates from 2009 forward have found their first full-time job within 12 months of graduation. Bad planning, at the least; poor market alignment, for certain; and terrible ROI at its worst.
What are a few of the questions you and your college age progeny should be asking yourselves both before and during the years of extended education? Ask yourself; why are so many young people not finding jobs soon after graduation from 4-year colleges? Is it that many are graduating with degrees the market doesn’t critically need? Are your children on track with marketplace need? Is this a place where “helicoptering in” may be vitally important for both the student and the parent?
Ask the S-AGE
Q. From Nevada: I despair over the state of our economy and of my inability to help my children reach a future that will be better than mine. My husband and I are seriously concerned that the world’s downward spiral will continue and that times will get worse. What do you think?
A. I think opportunity has never been brighter – it is only because new opportunities do not live within the framework of our life experiences that we think otherwise. Please take the time to view one of the most powerfully moving, funny, factual and optimistic commencement addresses I have ever heard. I promise it will be worth your time, even if you do not agree with everything that was said. The commencement address reinforced my generally optimistic view of the future for our children. http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/multimedia/fareed-zakaria-commencement
Q. From Massachusetts: What percentage of the U.S. population is really working?
A. If I could factually answer this question, I’d be a Wily Wizard instead of a Sagacious S-age. Wizards rely on slight-of-hand and magic; S-ages rely on hard-earned experience and knowledge. Who knows what the percentage is in real time and real numbers?
For example, the available workforce is NOT actually getting smaller because (according to questionable government statistics) 10,000 Boomers turn 65 each and every day. The arithmetic is suspect; 65 is not a given retirement age, and many Boomers are NOT retiring at 65. We’ve been adding to the workforce all along as younger people take their rightful place beside the Boomers.
Immigrants (legal and otherwise) by the millions are adding their numbers to the workplace. Many people have given up looking but not wanting to work. Others are working in non-traditional “non-job” ways. I could go on and on. The answer is: nobody really knows the actual percentage of the population that is not working in some capacity. I don’t. You don’t. They don’t. But, if you like government estimates, look up U-1 through U-6 reports on the web.
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June 2012 - Vol. 8, No. 6
FUTURE - PROOF YOUR CAREER LIFE CYCLE
Ask the right questions at each career stage; take the right actions on a timely basis
and you too will future-proof your career from start to finish.
How will you navigate a world of work where rapid change is one of the only constants in an inconstant world? Will you take responsibility for where, when and how long you will WORK regardless of chronological age or stage of work today? If you wish to “future proof” each stage of your career you need to ask yourself a series of the right questions at the right time linked to each stage of your work/life cycle.
Will you reach out to all generations for the help they are uniquely prepared to offer? In short, do you see the blindingly obvious truth that it will take all of us, working together, to manage the complexities of a future filled with unprecedented and discontinuous change?
Start Planning by asking Market Alignment Questions for earliest career planning stages.
Once upon a time, following one’s “passion” was enough of a basis for early-stage career planning. Now it is the “purposeful” alignment between your interests and changing marketplace demands
that matters most.
1. Do you know where new career opportunities are most likely to be found and, likewise, do you know which “jobs” are in highest demand right now? Similarly, do you know where the emerging options are hiding behind the next moment in time?
Study the current market on the Internet, on Job Boards, through Social Networks and by interviewing professors/instructors in the high-demand fields that interest you. Why take this approach? Because, while countless numbers of people are out of work, it is also true that employers are dissatisfied with the skills and employability of scores of applicants even as they struggle to fill key positions. By some accounts there is a shortfall of over 1.5 million prepared candidates for today’s jobs!
Take some time to study which jobs are unlikely to offer opportunities in the future. Technology and globalization have seriously impacted certain careers and have sent other careers to the scrap heap of history.
Reach out and interview people currently working in your areas of high interest. These early relationships may last a working lifetime and offer unexpected help at unexpected times of change.
2. Do you need a traditional college or university degree or do you need technical or vocational education?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there will be 1.5 million too few college graduates for in-demand work by 2020. Today, countless college graduates are interminably seeking employment in fields where market need is lowest. The right course of study in the right institution is an important investment in your future.
On a positive note, and in the face of ever-higher tuitions, explore on-demand, on-line learning. This is a fast emerging choice for students of all ages who seek specific degrees or knowledge at a fraction of the cost of location-based learning.
Developmental planning – market alignment questions for active early to mid-career working stages.
With many jobs in the U.S. typically lasting 3 years or less, you need to know how to navigate dozens of changes in your middle years.
1. Have you studied several ways to re-launch your career beyond the world of regular, full-time jobs?
Traditional job growth in the 2000’s is half the rate of previous decades and “jobless planning” is the basis of smart planning for a quarter of the U.S. workforce today.
The facts of change continue to emphasize that connectivity is more important than ever. Now is the time to build relationships and to begin researching many ways to work beyond the “job” market. Even if you are working in a traditional job today, it is wise to prepare for the world of work that is inhabited by Free Agents, Temps, Portfolio Workers, Franchisers, Entrepreneurs and others. Once you have developed a short-list of possibilities, interview people who have taken these alternative paths.
2. Similarly, have you learned that you must view your career strategically as “your business” and not as “your job?”
Gone are the days when mere tactics were enough to manage a career (your business) at every step of the way. Strategic planning models are found on the web. For a specific, lifelong, career-related strategic-planning model, go to the Services page on this website for more about the strategic planning methodology we recommend.
3. Do you have a mentor in your chosen career field or in an area where your skills may need refining; someone who has walked the walk and experienced the opportunities and learned from the pitfalls you are likely to encounter?
During all stages of a career, a mentor offers countless benefits to the mentee. In the early stages of your career, an older, more experienced mentor is often your best advocate with influential decision makers both inside and outside of organizations. As you enter your mid-stage career years, seek out subject-matter experts and absorb key information from their focused banks of knowledge.
If you are employed inside an organization, volunteer to participate in intergenerational transfer-of-knowledge programs. Such programs benefit mid-careerists who stand to gain from the hard-won experience of others. Similarly, participate in technological mentoring. You may be the one doing the mentoring which will increase your visibility with those who must learn from you.
The point is that all generations have something to teach as well as something to learn. By setting-up cross-generational mentoring and transfer-of-knowledge programs, organizations will transcend many of the unpleasant challenges usually experienced between generations in the workplace.
4. Have you achieved your earliest goals or courageously changed course when it became clear that the initial course needed correcting?
If you are several years into your work/life, a formal mid-career checkup by a qualified career coach is recommended. This form of specialized coaching will help you to take a hard look at your current situation and set a path for a future that makes sense to your mid-career goals and changing market demands.
Transitional planning – market alignment questions for active late-career stages.
10,000 people turn 65 each day in the U.S. and average life expectancy is now 81! Most “retire” by 62. Many others are retired by 59 or earlier.
At a minimum, 1/3rd of these people have no pensions and few safety nets in a relatively
high cost-of-living nation.
Do the arithmetic and don’t call it math! It doesn’t add up to sustainability (to use an overused word) as many, if not most, of the 35% will outlive their money if they can’t continue to work – later in life - in some capacity.
But, let’s not just talk about money. Let’s talk about life’s broader meaning and agree that we have been given longer lifetimes for good reasons – more good fun, more good work, and the legacy of lifetimes well lived.
And, by the way, it is good news for the Boomer generation that the workforce can’t do without many of you because the Gen X generation is so much smaller than yours! Think about the possibilities for flexible work arrangements, transfer of knowledge programs, phased retirement offerings by employers, project-job banks for qualified retirees of almost any age….and more!
1.When should you begin planning for your late stage career?
Many people begin to ponder their future in their 50’s. Interestingly, this is also the age when most begin to feel the sharp barbs of discrimination when seeking new employment. While you are thinking about your future and late stage career options, keep in mind that the definition of work is not just about jobs. Work is defined as work for gain, work for the good of others, work for meaning, work for fun, work for learning (yes, learning is work) and it may be full-time, part-time or some-of-the-time. The process of researching late-stage opportunities is much more fun when you still have gainful employment on your side of time. The probability of living a long life is boosted when some form of work continues throughout much of your longer lifetime.
2.What if you seek to remain gainfully full-time employed for many years to come?
Then, be prepared to remain market-ready and competitive. This requires constant learning and development as well as a deep understanding of the vagaries of market-driven pay.
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May 2012 - Vol. 8, No. 5
Here Comes the S-AGE!
Q&A this month: The numbers of questions asked of the S-AGE are heating up from a simmer to a boiling point. Add your voice to the Q&A. It’s both fun and informative. Just write to email@example.com. We will answer your questions about all generations in today’s workplace/workforce. After all, it will take all of us to WORK our way out of the mess we’re in!
Q. (from Colorado): Why aren’t more companies teaching practical skills to employees in order to prompt learning?
A. This is happening although change is neither fast enough nor targeted enough to meet the demands of a nation attempting to reposition for the future. What’s missing?
1.) There is too little alignment between organizational change and individual learning. This requires training (let’s call it “learning”) across a spectrum of offerings. Take a look at Living Social’s Hungry Academy for an early, straight-forward, organizationally-sponsored, skills-learning example.
2.) From early stage through mid and late stage careers, periodic career checkups are a must if organizations and people seek alignment. Accountability for learning must be mutual in order to be effective.
3.) Active participation by people like you to help increase substantive organizational and individual competitive value. Take a page from the mixed reviews of the “Occupy” movement. Occupy Human Resources. Make the case. Good planning can be shown to save organizations’ money while increasing peoples’ value and their return on investment.
Q. (California): My daughter recently graduated from a 4-year university with a degree in Liberal Arts. She has not been able to find a job in over a year and is working as a waitress. What’s happening and why aren’t college degrees as important as they once were?
A. One of the challenges we face as parents, as students and as institutional leaders is that we are still living in and preparing our children for 20th century opportunities. The harsh realities are that 1 out of 2 Liberal Arts graduates are not readily finding jobs. There are many sources on the web about which careers are least likely to result in jobs immediately following graduation and which are the most likely to pay off. Start investigating.
S-AGE advice to parents and students: be very careful about following “dreams” that are not linked to market realities. Do yourselves a favor by investigating and re-investigating the 21st century world of work before either - or both - of you commit to funding a future that is NOT likely to be in demand.
S-AGE advice to 4-year institutional leaders: If you don’t prepare students for the future of work; someone else will and some institutions will collapse inward on their own petards.
S-AGE advice to institutional career coaches: It is critically important that you invest resources into improving your institutional career center experiences. When coaches continue to coach as they always have, when they don’t have to live in the world they are preparing students to enter, an unfortunate outcome can be expected. Institutional partnering with private sector career/talent management firms, populated by coaches that do live in the realities of the private sector, just makes good sense.
S-AGE advice to all: No institution, no organization, no country, no political leader; no one else is responsible for your career but you! Learn the new skills required to operate in this world; take advantage of learning and development options offered by organizations, community colleges, extended study programs, talent management firms, tutors and more.
Q. (actually a Comment)(Massachusetts): I hate job boards – they have prevented me from overcoming age-related rejection.
A. The S-AGE agrees – job boards and resumes are both often irrelevant and both are principally screening-out tools. There are some new practices and tools emerging that will overcome these obsolete barriers. But, until then, target, target, target your resume to what the employer states they want (think advertisement vs. resume) and leverage networking to avoid some job boards.
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Remember when we told you that media-hyped unemployment statistics are manipulated?
There are many, many ways of measuring unemployment: The media version unemployment numbers, the full unemployment numbers, the underemployed numbers, the discouraged worker numbers and the workforce participation rate numbers.
As of January 2012, 9 million people were removed from the labor force because the government said so – not because they were not attempting to work.
Could it be that many of the decreases in unemployment rates come not from people finding new jobs but through reducing the workforce participation rate? While you’re at it, don’t buy that this change is simply effected by removing people 65 and older; it is not.
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April 2012 − Vol. 8, No. 4
Captives & Phasers
The following is another in our series of excerpts from the soon-to-be-released book – WORK!
This month’s excerpt is from the chapter about part-time “Captives” and Phasers.
This is the era when competition has made it probable that most organizations will manage staffing as a variable cost. One way to accomplish cost goals while safeguarding productivity is to change the definition of the regular, full-time workweek. - Carleen MacKay
The McKinsey Global Institute recently found that 58% of 2000 companies surveyed expect to have more part-time, temporary or contract workers. Likewise, Manpower also recently surveyed 41,000 organizations and found that 25% have strategic initiatives for managing a variable-flexible workforce. Not to be out quoted, Kelly Services confirms that about a third of American workers are not working in regular full-time “jobs.” The temp and free agent world is doing quite well, thank you.
These and other changes do not suggest that only contingent workers will help to manage costs. One of the latest trends to watch is the reconfiguring of traditional workweeks.
We invite you to look at the following options now before decisions are made by others that, had you understood the mutual advantages of a different perspective of standard workweeks, you might have influenced outcomes and optimized your investment in your career.
Who are the Part-Time “Captive” Workers and Phasers?
In this context, part-time “captive” workers are integral members of the core team who maintain regular, part-time hours. For those who work 32 hours, benefits are likely to be a standard part of their package. While some firms have modified the minimum hours to 24 (with benefits), most have not. One exception is Hawaii where, when people meet certain specific requirements, 20 hours is enough to qualify them for insurance benefits. For those working less than 32 hours, healthcare benefits, in the short term, are unlikely to be a part of their package although they may retain other benefits depending upon the employer and the state in which they are employed.
Phasers are part of the core team during the later or last stages of their careers. The process of phasing begins by cutting standard working hours to 32 while the phasers retain all benefits of employment. It is during this time that transfer of knowledge and mentoring programs offer exciting opportunities for phasers, the emerging workforce, and the organizations they serve.
Phased retirement in the educational sector is well established with details worked out well in advance of any such arrangement. From the educational institution’s perspective, the phased retirement option must be workable for both parties. If the phased retirement proves to be unworkable (although rare) from the institution’s standpoint, it is not offered as an option. Typically, but not universally, people who are age 55 or older and who have completed 10 years of service are eligible for consideration of phased retirement when they initiate the request for phasing.
Phasing is gaining in acceptance in private sector companies. These organizations, demographic experts across the nation, and researchers including the Stanford Center on Longevity, AARP, and the MIT Age Lab have reminded us that older workers continue to learn and to contribute much later than once imagined.
Our very economy is dependent upon coming to grips with changing perspectives of chronological age; perspectives that are hangovers from the 20th century and bear little resemblance to 21st century realities. In simple words, many organizations need people to continue in some capacity because there are far too few qualified people in the immediate next generation to take their place and because good talent and good minds are bad things to waste!
Think of how powerful a phased approach to leaving full-time work might be for you. You gain the time to develop other interests while avoiding the abrupt plunge off the high board of the work pool into a future you don’t understand and for which you may be under-prepared.
Is it time for you to consider “teaching” your organization’s leaders about the advantages of changing the definition of a regular workweek or phasing?
DID YOU KNOW?
There are now more people with dogs (43 million) than with new babies! For more information, Click Here.
DID YOU KNOW?
Using the most conservative numbers we can find, we are still down 7.5 million “jobs” since the January 2008. Do the math!
Divide the number of jobs lost by the 36,000 net monthly new job growth and it is 17 years before we get back to pre-crash levels. This, of course, does not allow for another recession at any year in between.
DID YOU KNOW?
By 2030, 18 percent of Americans will be 65 and older, the Pew Research Center projects. Most will not have pensions.The question is bigger than who is working (or not) today:
Can we keep people earning, in some capacity, for longer than in the past?
Re-read this month’s topic for ideas about how you might continue to work in your energetic maturity.
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March 2012 − Vol. 8, No. 3
Here Comes the S-AGE!
Q. What do you think of the “rosy” picture painted by lower unemployment stats? Should we relax a bit?
A. I think it is good news – except – it doesn’t account for retirements from pension-rich public sector employees who are not (and will not) file for unemployment benefits; nor does it account for the people who are so discouraged that they have simply given up and so forth.
Furthermore, monthly jobs reports are seasonally adjusted and they are not the most important news to follow. Reports are indicators that offer the masses hope; and hope is, of course, a good thing.
But remember! All the while the politicos make “job” promises that they don’t have the power to guarantee; only YOU can prepare for your future!
Please: no ticker-tape parade just yet!
Now, for the rest of the not-so-rosy story:
The workforce overall is dwindling. According to the Labor Department, the labor force is at a 30 year low with just about 63% of so-called eligible workers actually working. Why is this important? The Labor Department and others, such as McKinsey and Company, project that the workforce will grow by just 0.7% in the current decade – half the pace of the 1990’s.
But, wait - there’s more that can and will influence employment. What types of jobs (and other ways of working) will be available over the next few years? Well, there will be plenty of low-paying health care and social-assistance jobs as our nation ages and there will be a mad dash for these jobs by many people, including folks from the class formerly known as the “middle.”
Couple this information with a Boomer generation that can’t afford to retire and who will still constitute 25% of the available workforce by 2020 and, while you are thinking about this, add the reality that anyone, anywhere can build and sell a better light bulb – well - you get my point that future is not the past and hope is not a plan.
And, in keeping with the question, to paraphrase one of my favorite authors, Mark Twain, about relying on so-called statistics: “Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.”
Prepare yourself and your children for the jobs and other ways of working that are coming – not the jobs that have been buried in the history of another time. Even today there are approximately 3 million job openings that are going unfilled in the U.S. because of a skills and educational mismatch. Fight for advances in relevant education, not just advances in college degrees. Understand that targeted lifelong learning is a requirement – not an option – for those who must stay gainfully employed or employable. Setup your keywords to follow the business trends in your community; study your demographic situation; connect with your local Chamber of Commerce as well as with local networking and professional groups.
Recognize that your community is unique and opportunities are always both local and global no matter where you live.
Allow me to illustrate this point with a short story about my recent presentation in Honolulu at the Aloha Chapter’s Meeting Planners International event on the subject of Emerging Opportunities in the Aloha State.
There is sunny weather ahead for the tourism and event planning lines of business in Hawaii because of the Pacific Rim countries (including Australia) that have boosted their tourism business. To the surprise of some people in the audience, the Australians flocked to Hawaii in 2011 and the Japanese had returned sooner than expected following the recent, terrible tsunami.
The point of the story is that while some attendees have been carefully watching economic and demographic changes all along, others learned, for the first time, of these and other changes in tourism. Still others had not heard that their State’s representatives who are working hard to pass a bill in Washington that would loosen vacation visa regulations for the Chinese. Imagine the influx of tourists to lucky Hawaii if this comes to pass.
China, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand (and others) have the potential of doubling visitors to the Islands of Hawaii in the blink of an eye.
Grid development deals (similar to NAFTA) are in the works with these countries.
Think about what this knowledge means to workforce planning by organizations (and people) seeking to compete in the future. Think about what really studying your community might mean to you?
And, think about how much fun it is for me to rub it in that, even at the advanced age of 504 Wizard years, I was privileged to present this information in my favorite part of the world! Now that’s planning!
Q. I enjoyed last month’s eye-opening newsletter and it prompted me to ask two questions about workplace/workforce changes: (1) What do you think about the effectiveness of annual performance reviews and (2) if you do not think most performance reviews are very effective, what do you recommend in their place?
A. I am not a fan of “report card” reviews for anyone - in any role - at any level - ever. Rather, I prefer goal setting and reviews with specific and measurable outcomes set at intervals that make sense to the goals of the organization as well as to the goals of the individual.
I see two components that are absolutely necessary in measuring performance:
1.Specific, measurable, actionable and realistic individual goals time-framed to the next performance discussion (not tied to a moment in time but to the expected completion of the goal or goals). Included in this measurement must be mutually agreed upon skills or career development goals. 2.Specific, measurable, actionable and realistic team-goals time-framed to outcomes in team performance.
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FEBRUARY, 2012 - Vol. 8 No. 2
Here Comes the S-AGE!
Q. What do you see as the #1 shift in the U.S. workplace?
A. The growth of the independent – contingent – free agent - flexible workforce. The majority of skilled workers and subject-matter experts, from all generations, appreciate independent work as a viable alternative to the once-upon-a-time world of work that was defined by regular, full-time jobs.
I believe that the mature workforce will lead the way as subject-matter experts and experienced skilled workers in the world of independents.
From my new book – WORK – an excerpt about free agency:
“As one of the fastest growing segments of the workforce, thousands of people are declaring their independence and striking out on their own. This way of working, while not new, is now the venue of multiple generations of workers.
From an organizational perspective, free agents are increasingly viewed as part of a total talent solution in private, public, non-profit and educational sectors. Look for a big shift from engagement by procurement/purchasing departments to direct engagement by hiring managers with (or without) Human Resource involvement. Likewise, free agents will be “real” members of the team, sharing in decision-making and projects side-by-side with core team members.”
I am no longer just one of the few who believe that independents (free agents - all) will become a majority within a few short years. MBO Partners, one of the leaders in the independent consulting sector, recently released MBO Partners Independent Workforce Index in which they predicted that “The US is entering the fast lane on the road to the independent majority. By the year 2020, more than 50% of the private workforce will be independent. This shift toward a new workforce will accelerate in 2012 as both individuals and organizations embrace new models of work.”
A recent Aberdeen study of organizations hiring contract or free agents makes the case that “the top reason companies choose independent talent is not cost – as is often assumed – but rather access to specialists with unique skills and talents that produce breakthrough results.”
Q. We are overwhelmed by inter-generational conflict in our firm. The anger between generations is palpable. Do you have any ideas to help us overcome this problem?
A. The answer is seldom simply “generationally-focused” as different life experiences, cultural nuances, new technologies as well as the effects of a high degree of change have increased their impact on organizations and people everywhere. In other words, I can’t diagnose your situation but I can tell you “what” we typically do in terms of targeting the larger challenge of 21st century workforce readiness.
Educate: People need to understand the impact of structural change and why it will take all of us to work our way back to economic prosperity. This is NOT our father’s workplace nor is it our mother’s workforce. It is a new place and a new time – a shift so deep that it is akin to the shift in the 20th century when we moved from the agricultural to the industrial world. We offer some very interesting presentations on the subject as depicted in the events section of our website. Align: Find the mutual wants and needs among generations rather than searching for the differences. For instance, we know what most people need at every stage of their working lives: Most need more work-life balance; more flexibility in terms of being measured by results rather than time; ongoing learning and career development and an increasingly flattened organizational structure.
Employers need to manage variable costs, become increasing agile and flexible in order to improve efficiency, effectiveness and productivity. Simply stated; the organization needs to learn and to handle the speed of change just as individuals must.
Careful alignment between both is the key to developing a winning – working business model.
Mix: Teams that are purposefully inter-generational and multi-cultural in design, tend to bond much more quickly than traditional teams separated by age and titles. This promotes communication among the generations, fostering a better understanding and breaking down the myths and barriers that separate them. Learn: People, like organizations, that don’t learn together - don’t last together. Effective learning is a multiple-methodology effort. One size does not fit all situations nor does it fit all generations. Implement measurable transfer of knowledge programs. We suggest you take a look at Steve Trautman’s work in this area – see www.stevetrautman.com . Expand flexible workforce: For example, offering phased retirement to mature workers, is one way of increasing the ratio of a full-time workforce to the flexible workforce.
Q. How late in life should most people work?
A. It depends on the person, their health, their financial situation, and their need to contribute in some tangible way. The answer really is both a matter of choice as well as of recognizing the sheer impact of a global (or national) population that retires too young. Think of the impact on economies and societies when millions of people living longer lives become overly dependent upon younger people and stretched social systems. Did you know that worldwide the number of people over 60 years of age is forecast to be one billion by 2020 and two billion by 2050 which is 22% of the world population? (Source: hsph.harvard.edu.)
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January 2012 Volume 8, No. 1
2012 Workplace and Workforce Predictions
Happy New Year to our 3100 readers in the U.S. and Canada!
This is the year the oldest of the Boomers turn 66!
Begin the 2012 work year by asking yourself the following questions:
- Are you committed to living both your life and your work forward no matter your age today?
- Do you have plans to invest in yourself in order to continue to work for a fee, for fun, for others or for
any mix of these reasons? Will you do what it takes?
- Have you thought about the benefits a late-stage qualified career coach has to offer you?
- Are you prepared to think beyond yourself on behalf of future generations and do what it takes to
continue to take care of your own life, including work, in order to leave the world a better place for
Exploring the Changed World of Work, First in a series of 6 articles
(Excerpted, in part, from Carleen MacKay’s new book - WORK© - currently in the final stages of development)
Before we take you on a journey to explore other work options available to you, let’s look at the world of jobs one last time. After all, JOBS are one way to work.
What is the truth about jobs? Look first at the hard facts of job loss according to McKinsey Global Institute’s research: “The “jobs” picture in 2011 showed that there was a decline of 7 million U.S. jobs since December 2007 and that there was a 23% drop in rate of new business creation in the same time frame, resulting in as many as 1.8 million fewer jobs.”
Now, ask yourself! Why is it that there are thousands of unfilled “job” openings and thousands of companies that can’t find qualified applicants?
And, one more question: Is jobless recovery a part of the new normal for many people?
Answers to the first question – why is it there are thousands of unfilled “job” openings
and thousands of employers that can’t find qualified applicants?
1.Might one reason be that we are simply under-prepared as a nation – old and young alike - to meet the
changing demands of education and skills that employers require? YES.
2.Might another reason be that moderate job creation in our Mainland is the most likely scenario for a
global future in which new businesses are opening everywhere and nowhere? YES.
3.And, are we a nation of people that believe more in the mythical land of “hope” than the land of reality in
which we must race to prepare for the “jobs” that demand new skills and competencies? Let’s HOPE
Answers to the second question – is jobless recovery a part of the new normal for many people?
1.Might it be that increased productivity is not dependent upon hiring more people but about getting more
output from fewer people? YES.
2.Might it also be that neurally intelligent business will take even more jobs but, likewise, create more
3.Must those of us who wish to remain in “jobs” understand that this new, interconnected world will
continue to shift the emphasis as to which jobs will be available and where? YES.
Who are the new “job” workers? They are people whose qualifications are in demand and whose skills and competencies meet current needs. They are the young college students who dream dreams but link their pursuit of degrees specifically to the demands of marketplace change. They are the people found in the educated class of workers and the highly skilled class of workers who have the basics that today’s “jobs” demand and who have continuously upgraded their skills or competencies in order to meet new market-driven demands.
They are the people who are willing to do what it takes, at any age, in order to gain admission to the new world of “jobs.” They are the people who, while still employed, are continuing to learn and develop their competencies no matter how safe they feel in their current job. They are the people who regularly “check-up” the status of their skills and talent in advance of being booted out of the regular, full-time workforce because they have fallen behind.
But, remember: The age of monolithic corporate structures is, most likely, over for all but smaller core teams, and many people who are working in “jobs” today will work anytime, anywhere and in many ways tomorrow. In fact, it is important to remember that going to work, in a job, for a company, is the equivalent of putting all of your eggs in their basket.
Let reality tell you that this is a time of major shift; just as the industrial revolution was a time of major shift in the 20th century.
What must you remember? Every year, surveys are conducted about how companies are unable to fill “mission critical” positions. The harsh realities of the 21st century are that the “jobs” go to mission critical people – not to the people beating endlessly, sometimes hopelessly, on the doors of the future.
If your talent is needed full-time some-of-the-time, you will be hired full-time some-of-the-time. If your talent is needed full-time, you will be hired full-time.
If you are hired full-time, it is likely that the job will be relatively short-lived (in the private sector anyway). If your talent is not needed full-time, you will not be hired full-time! If your talent is not needed in the “job” world at all; you will need to find another way.
Check out other sources to verify information about structural change in the world of work: The McKinsey Global Institute and The Aberdeen Group are leading providers of fact-based research that support our claims.
ASK THE S-AGE!
Q. Do you believe retirement ages in the public sector will be raised? I work in the public sector and have less than 5 years before retirement (with pension) at age 55. Am I likely to be at risk?
A. The question is not IF retirement ages will be raised but when and for whom? We are living well into our 80’s and paying lifetime pensions is “unsustainable.” An Associated Press survey in 2011 found that 50 states have a combined $690 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and $418 billion in retiree health care liabilities. Initiatives to raise retirement ages are in the works. In California, for example, a 2012 state ballot proposes to increase minimum retirement to 65 for public employees, except for safety officers. Will this ballot pass? Will these proposed changes affect you? Who is to say? But if you ask me to place a bet, I’d say it is likely that proposed changes, when they are passed, will affect those with have longer than 5 years left to work.
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December 2011, Volume 7 No. 12
2012 Workplace and Workforce Predictions
from The S-AGE & Our Readers
Remember - this is not the old America. It is not even the America it will become. America is in the process of becoming. What it will become for you in 2012 will depend upon what you do next!
Many business leaders have lost confidence in the American economy and will remain cautious in terms of hiring. So, whether you believe the worst is behind us or ahead of us, I have two simple questions of you: What will it take to face the simple truth about your road ahead? What will you do now to determine your future?
Now is the time to seriously explore your options. This is the time to build a strategy; a strategy similar to a business strategy. Why? Because your career is your business not your job! My prediction is that people who learn to do what it takes to work in the 21st century will outlast the serious challenges we face today in order to emerge better-off tomorrow.
AS PROMISED - OUR READERS PREDICT 2012!
1. From Colorado
Age discrimination will NOT be as hot a topic as it should be.
Chances of economic collapse are 50/50.
2. From Kentucky
As the economy struggles to recover there will be a further increase in opportunities for Boomers in the franchise industry.
3. From Massachusetts
More of the same in terms of the so-called return of “jobs” – meaning that many, many people will remain unemployed, at least in a traditional sense, and most of these folks will run out of unemployment benefits.
4. From Illinois
Following a tough couple of years, we are regaining (and will continue to regain) jobs in Illinois.
5. From Northern California
(2) There will be bottom-up solutions suggested such as the State panel (which is being led by a multi-millionaire) that is floating an initiative for changing the tax formula in California since our legislatures are holding their “no solutions” stances rather than listening to the public.
6. From Arizona
Our economy is tied to Europe; if they fail to recover, we will fail to rebound in 2012. On the plus side, U.S. companies will continue to build strength in the Asia-Pacific region.
7. From Silicon Valley
Expect good news from the technology industry. Outside of several anticipated innovations in the technology arena, I suspect recovery will be erratic at best.
8. From New York
Private-sector jobs will grow and government jobs will shrink fast in 2012 as people scramble to ensure their pension payouts.
9. From Texas
For your readers, who lead or coach multiple-generations in the workplace, I recommend Ira Wolfe’s new book – Geeks, Geezers and Googlization. The insight will benefit those of us who want to minimize generational misunderstandings in the 2012 workplace.
Thanks to all for your glimpses into the near future. The overall theme is obvious; a little good news is anticipated, a practical suggestion or two has been offered and more tough news is predicted. We even received a “Mayan” prediction for 2012 from one reader. We suggest you look this up
A HOLIDAY NOTE FROM THE S-AGE
A generation set out to change the world - and they did - for better and for worse. The future will be defined, in significant part, by this same Boomer generation. As you move into a new year, ask yourself:
Are you willing to see life and work as played forward no matter your age or circumstances today? The past is gone; the future will be what you make of it. If you need to continue to earn, will you invest in yourself in order to continue to work in some capacity? This may mean a return to a formal course of study or purposefully seeking out some qualified help to help you pursue new options. No matter the struggle, will you – each and every day – think beyond yourself on behalf of future generations and actively do what it takes to leave the world a better place for them? And, will you be thankful for this holiday and the people you love and who love you? Love is, as all good Wizards know, the real reason for the season!