Digging Deeper into Job Market Data – The JOLTS Rate

Last month we saw the significant differences in the unemployment rate across education levels where the jobless rate of college educated professionals was half the national average.  Now, a new article from BusinessWeek shines a light on the large number of job opening that are going unfilled each month.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics JOLTS (Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey) states that 3 million jobs, or 2.2% of all jobs in the U.S.,  are open and unfilled.

The JOLTS rate has decreased from 3% a year ago, but the drop is relatively small compared to the rise of the unemployment rate from 4.8% to 8.1% during that same time.  Digging deeper into the job openings rate, the areas with more openings that the national average are  Education & Health Services at 3.2%, and Professional & Business Services is at 2.7%. Here s the graphic from BusinessWeek:

Business Week - JOLTS

While companies like IBM are going through rounds of layoffs, they are retraining their best and recruiting actively to fill thousands of job openings for analyst positions.

As the article states, the skills companies need to grow are shifting and government needs to recognize these trends and offer the right types of training programs.

In the short term, companies recruiting people with tomorrow’s specialist skills have to focus on the passive job seeker.  The importance of attracting and building relationships with those people with the right skills currently filling these roles in competitive organizations has never been greater.  Even if the job reqs are not there yet, the identification and relationship building in social media should start now.  It is likely that competition, and salaries, for these will only escalate as the economy improves.


May 12, 2009 at 11:47 am Leave a comment

The Future of the Social Web for Recruiting

Forrester Research published a new report this week on the future of the social web. This identifies the series of stages over the next several years that will transform the social web from disjointed communities to a shared social experience that will shift influence away from brands and replace current CRM systems.

Here are the 5 eras that will mark the steps along this transformation – see Forrester’s blog for more information on this report.

1) Era of Social Relationships: People connect to others and share
2) Era of Social Functionality: Social networks become like operating system
3) Era of Social Colonization: Every experience can now be social
4) Era of Social Context: Personalized and accurate content
5) Era of Social Commerce: Communities define future products and services

Forrester's Future of the Social Web

As a staffing firm, we want to look at their vision through our own lens to understand the implications for recruiters embracing social recruiting strategies. Here are some of the key ideas of the report that relate to us:

The social web will soon enable individuals to share their friend networks from a community like Facebook with sites all across the web. So when a candidate visits your corporate site or a job posting on a career site, their browser will show which of their friends have been there and how they felt about the content there.    The collective opinion of an individual’s network will immediately shape their opinion of your company.  The influence of the collective opinion is happening now across the web, but portable friend profiles like these will pull these influences into almost every web experience.

The new currency of tomorrow’s social web will be individual influence.   Those with large and passionate followers will shape your company’s employment brand.  Companies will shift their communications to focus on influence and social recommendations that boost positive word of mouth and referrals from brand advocates.

How content is delivered on the web will also change.  With a profile that travels with individuals from site to site, candidates can choose to reveal much more information about themselves to the sites they trust.  These sites will be able to present a much more customized experience with only the most relevant content delivered in the communities where visitors want to see it.  This creates a much more distributed web for brands that reduces the importance of the corporate site and even minimizes the amount of time people will need to search and surf to find what they are looking for.   The days of pushing candidates to a one-size-fits-all corporate careers page are over. Companies can take their rich content off their corporate site, make it shareable, and integrate in areas all across the web to join the conversation with exactly the type of people they want to reach.

We are entering an exciting era for corporate recruiting  and I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities this is going to present to us.

May 4, 2009 at 3:20 pm Leave a comment

Future of Staffing is Social

JCSI exhibited at the SHRM Staffing Conference in Las Vegas this week.  As usual, our booth was a fun place with our orange guerilla “Reqs” entertaining the attendees.  (see the pictures here on our Flickr page) .

Since we had a large booth space this year, we wanted to try something different.  The role of social media in HR wasn’t discussed in depth at the conference so we conducted several live workshops at our booth on the impact social media is having on staffing and recruiting today.   The feedback was very positive and many people stuck around to continue the discussion on an individual level.  I thought I’d share the slides with you here.  Feel free to contact me anytime to discuss this in more detail.

May 4, 2009 at 1:14 pm Leave a comment

Employment Branding is Important

I am a big proponent of importance of a strong employment brand in recruiting so Ken Horst’s post “Employment Branding –  Your Agency’s Big Lie” on RecruitingBlogs.com struck a chord with me.  Ken states that agencies can’t build employment brands with ads, and unless you are listed on Fortune’s “Best Places to Work” your money is better spent on lottery tickets.

Ken is absolutely right about the fact that a company’s employment brand is determined by your target audience and not by your ad agency.  No slick ad campaign is going to deliver the personal preference required to build a brand. Right now, your company culture is being discussed, debated and shaped actively in social media communities all over the web.

Social media has made it easy for people to tap their vast online networks to discuss company cultures and career opportunities.  This is a world of “digital discoverability” where your Google results are your reality. Candidates are reading blogs mentioning your brand on Google, following your employees on Twitter, and reading company discussion forums on sites like Indeed and Glassdoor before they take your call or click “Apply Now” on your site or on a job board.

Ken states the first responsibility of a talent acquisition leader is to “make it easy for your recruiters to find and hire quality candidates”.  I’d argue that making it easy for your ideal candidates to find you in their communities online is just as important.  In this ERE article on the top recruiting trends for 2009, John Sullivan said “Nothing is hotter around the globe in recruiting than employment branding.” “Key focus areas include increasing media coverage, increasing visibility online, building your “green” brand, and countering negative perceptions.”

For a glimpse into our point of view on the impact of social media on talent acquisition, check out the recent presentation we delivered at our SHRM Staffing Conference workshop.

April 24, 2009 at 12:37 pm Leave a comment

Marketing Your Content Online

SocialMediaExporer.com is one of my favorite blogs. Every day you can find thought-provoking opinions, engaging writers and valuable insights on the social media.   Just after Easter, Kat French posted her “10 Commandments of Content Marketing” where she summarizes what it takes to success in social media. I like this list because effective recruiting online is all about sharing and distributing your content across web platforms for the right audience at the right time.  Here’s her list and every one of them applies to our social media staffing strategies:

1. Thou shalt make thy content portable.  The beauty of the social web is that if you make good content easy to share, real live people will be your “channels.”  If your content is really good, the persistent will figure out a way to share it even if you don’t make it easy.  But why make them work that hard?
2. Thou shalt remember that “content” is not just text.  Photos, audio content/podcasts, and video should be included in any content strategy.
3. Thou shalt not use the word “viral.”  It makes you sound like the middle-aged dad trying to use his teens’ slang, and is generally running about 2 years behind.  Good, portable online content can become popular.  A virus on your computer is generally a bad thing, remember?
4. Thou shalt not refer to your program as a “campaign.”  Content marketing is a long-haul proposition, and really part of your overall communications plan.  Are you going to stop any other parts of your communications plan when their “campaign” runs it’s course?  No.  And as long as there’s a web, you’re going to need to provide content.
5. Thou shalt not begin without an editorial calendar.  Unless you like beating your head pointlessly against a brick wall.  Then by all means, go right ahead.
6. Thou shalt delegate clear roles and responsibilities.  Or thou shalt be cursed to play “ownership hot potato” while your stale content just sits there on the web.
7. Thou shalt honor thy legal department.  Nuff said.
8. Thou shalt match thy content to the environment.   Content strategy is no longer limited to the bounds of your primary URL.  Develop Facebook-y content for Facebook, etc.
9. Thou shalt not allow thy website content to get as stale as week-old bread.   Or thou art not allowed to whine when visitors go away to spend time elsewhere.
10. Thou shalt reward thy enthusiasts appropriately for sharing thine content.   That may mean sponsoring a blogger. It may mean sharing some high-PR link love to someone who is talking you up.  How you reward them is something to determine on a case-by-case basis, but don’t forget to do it.

April 23, 2009 at 12:43 pm Leave a comment

Unemployment Rates and Education Levels

With unemployment levels surpassing 8% nationwide, this recession is impacting people in everyone’s neighborhood. But the severity of the job market isn’t evenly distributed. In an April 14 NY Times article, Harvard economics professions Edward Glaeser discusses how our current unemployment rates differ based on education levels.

Continue Reading April 16, 2009 at 7:46 pm 1 comment

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