Is America Really Near Full Employment?

Employment expert weighs in on the truth behind latest jobs numbers

JobsThe latest jobs report has many people talking about “full employment” and the fact that America is allegedly near this state. However, what does full employment really mean, and is our nation truly almost to this place?

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment trends expert says, “The fact is that we are not at full employment yet.  We’ll know if we are approaching full employment when inflation starts to really pick up, which I expect to see within the next 6-9 months.  At that time, I believe the Fed will answer with more dramatic rate increases and we’ll virtually reach full employment.”

Wilson says that experts who are calling this ‘full employment’ are speaking too soon due to our rocky economic history.

“Normally, the general rule-of-thumb full employment indicator of around 4.5% can’t be relied upon right now.  We’re still in uncharted waters coming out of the freakish recession and the new tariffs, which means the economic and employment industries are struggling with accurate predictions,” says Wilson.

However, Wilson says that the jobs’ report is very good news, and right on track with what employers in this nation say they are experiencing.

“In talking to our clients, even though we’re not quite at the full employment level yet, employers are still having a difficult time finding good quality candidates for their open positions.  We haven’t seen significant wage growth that typically accompanies low unemployment rates, but I think that’s next on the horizon,” says Wilson. “We need to be careful to keep rapid wage growth under control, otherwise, the U.S. might face a brand-new set of problems that will be very tough to overcome.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

The Don and Mike Show, Podcast

Rob joined Mike Morrison of the Don and Mike Show for a podcast interview while onsite in California for ESCA. Rob’s interview comes in at the 17:42 mark.

“Mike was in California for ESCA Summer Educational Conference and Don was in Chicago for IFES … Interviews with attendees and recaps for this week’s show!”

Contact us with any questions you may have, we’re here to help: hr@employco.com

The Illegal Questions Employers Ask on Job Interviews

Employment expert weighs in on the most common illegal questions interviewees face

InterviewPrevious research has revealed that in 1 in 5 employers have asked illegal questions during interviews. And, a recent study led by The Associated Press and CNBC found that many job interview candidates say that they have still been asked inappropriate (and illegal) questions about things such as their age and intention to have children.

Rob Wilson, human resources expert and President of Employco USA (a Chicago-based employment solutions firm), says, “The reality is that many employers and hiring managers are asking questions that are either blatantly illegal or just hovering near that line. Yet I think it’s important to note that these people are not willfully thumbing their nose at the law, but that they lack the training and the knowledge required to handle interviews in a professional and ethical manner.”

Not to mention, says Wilson, the laws which regulate job interview questions are ever-changing. Questions which used to be considered par-for-the-course, such as questions about a person’s criminal background, could soon be against the law.

“People in many states are working to keep questions about an interview candidate’s criminal history out of the job interview process all together,” says Wilson. “They view these questions as discriminatory and depending on where you live, questions about a person’s criminal background have already been removed from job applications.”

So, what other questions are off the table when it comes to a job interview?

Wilson says, “Questions about a person’s age and marital status are no-go’s. And, while you can ask about any vacations or traveling plans a person has in the future, you cannot ask about their intention to have children…even if you see a visible baby bump! Additionally, you cannot inquire about a person’s religious or political beliefs.”

Employment expert Rob Wilson also adds that in many cases, asking about a person’s salary history could also be frowned upon. “There is a movement to remove questions about salary history from the interview process. Proponents say that this could help to repair the gender pay gap as well as racial pay gaps.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

Why So Many Americans Are “Ghosting” Employers

Employment experts talks new trend and how it’s impacting the hiring process

Ghosting“Ghosting” (when a person ends a relationship with no communication or forewarning) has been a hot-button topic in the dating community for years, but now the word is being used in employment circles to describe a new and troubling trend of job applicants who simply disappear off an employer’s radar.

“Ghosting isn’t just for Tinder users anymore,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment trends expert. “It seems that our booming jobs economy has led to applicants who simply ‘disappear’ during the interview process. According to LinkedIn, many employers now say that the tides have turned on them…instead of applicants desperately hoping to get a call-back, hiring teams themselves now find themselves dealing with unanswered calls and candidates who suddenly go MIA without warning.”

Wilson says that the problem is such that some companies have even instituted changes to their hiring process, including putting multiple conditions on job offers. He also adds, “Instead of narrowing it down to just 1-2 qualified applicants and cutting everyone else loose, companies are now wisely holding onto all possibilities before assuming that their search is over. With so many job openings, applicants can now play fast and loose with opportunities, and sadly many of these applicants take the coward’s way out and simply disappear without any further communication.”

Along with this growing trend of ghosting job opportunities, Wilson says that many employees are now quitting their posts in droves. “According to the  Bureau of Labor Statistics, the amount of employees who have voluntarily left their jobs is almost DOUBLE that of the number of employees who were fired. And, in March of this year, 3 million Americans quit their jobs out of their own volition.”

While Wilson says it is wonderful that so many jobs are opening up and Americans now feel safe to quit their positions or seek new opportunities, he cautions that ‘ghosting’ possible employers is in very bad form and could come back to bite you in the future.

“Even if you decide you do not want to work with a company, it is a bad idea to just cease communication without giving the employer any idea of what is going on,” says Wilson. “You never know when you could wind up looking for a job again, or when you could find yourself at an industry event or networking dinner with that same hiring agent. It’s always best to treat people the way you would want to be treated, even in the hiring process.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

Update: This blog post was quoted by Benefits Pro in an 07/13/18 article, read more here:
https://biv.com/article/2018/07/one-five-bosses-are-judging-their-employees-taking-lunch-breaks-study

Benefits Pro

Suicide in the Workplace is Rising: What Employers Need to Know

H.R. expert talks warning signs and suicide prevention in the workplace

DepressionIn the heels of the recent tragedies of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, many employers might wonder how they can best support their employees and colleagues who might be struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. This is a valid concern, as workplace suicides have become a more common event in recent years.

According to the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, suicides have increased by 35% in the last 10 years,  and The Wall Street Journal says, “As suicide rates have climbed in recent years, so have instances of employees ending their lives at the workplace.”

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and human resources expert explains, “Of the 44,965 suicides in 2016, 291 of these deaths occurred in the workplace, which is a record high of workplace suicides.”

The trauma of a workplace suicide can be deeply devastating for coworkers and colleagues, even for those who did not directly witness the event or know the employee involved. “People instantly start to blame themselves and wonder what they could have done differently. They might feel anxious or have difficulty concentrating. The ripple effect will touch the entire office, whether your company is large or small.”

So, what should employers do to help support their staff?

“Every company should consider having an employee-assistance program for times like this. You can hire a therapist, particularly one with experience in suicide prevention. Create set times during the week where each employee will have time to sit down and speak with the counselor,” says Wilson. “You could also consider putting literature from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline somewhere in the office, such as the employee break room or kitchen. And, when you see an employee who seems especially rundown or overworked, you might consider having a one-on-one chat with them and making sure they are okay. Encourage everyone to use their vacation time and to take time away from the office to clear their head.”

Wilson concludes, “The sad reality is that we are having a mental health crisis in our country at the moment. Some industries are having a particularly hard time right now, such as the New York Taxi Workers Alliance which recently shared the news that yet another taxi driver had taken his life due to extreme financial strain, making him the 6th NYC cabbie this year to make this heartbreaking choice. But, no matter where you work, our country’s current climate is tense, combative and anxiety-inducing. We all need to reach out and support one another a little bit better.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

Why Teens Don’t Have Summer Jobs Anymore

Fewer teens are getting summer jobs, but what does this mean for the economy as a whole?

Summer JobSummer jobs among kids ages 16-19 has declined by 30 percentage points since the 1970s. What is the reason for this lack of teen employment, and what does it mean for the economy?

Rob Wilson, employment trends expert and President of Employco USA, says several factors are at play. “First, stores such as Macy’s and Sears have closed hundreds and hundreds of stores in recent years, and thousands of jobs have been lost as a result.”

Once the mecca for teens looking to socialize as well as earn cash, these shuttered retail stores could spell trouble for teens.

“When so-called ‘anchor’ stores such as Sears or J.C. Penney close down, it becomes very problematic for the mall as a whole,” explains Wilson of Employco USA. “Filling that retail space is very difficult, and with giants like Sears experiencing a major decline, that means that many malls across the country are going to be left with huge vacancies. This puts all the stores within the mall at major risk, from your kiosks to your pretzel stands to your small clothing stores.”

In addition, teens are now shifting their focus from flipping burgers to working internships in their desired field of employment, especially as President Trump has now made internships more widely available to teens. Continue reading

Podcast: Legal vs. Illegal Interview Questions

Rob, Scott, and Jason discuss legal vs. illegal interview questions; from laws that prohibit hiring discrimination to questions that you can and cannot ask. Plus, some recommendations on best practices for interview scenarios.

Employco also has an upcoming live webinar discussing “Legal Recruiting and Hiring” on June 21st. Register here: http://www.employco.com/blog/2018/06/06/webinar-june-2018/

Interview Questions

Contact us with any questions you may have, we’re here to help: hr@employco.com

Webinar: June 2018

Legal Recruiting and Hiring

Webinar, June 2018

Join us on Thursday, June 21 for a live, 30-minute webinar designed to provide you with information on the latest legal trends and requirements related to recruiting and hiring new employees.

The recruiting and hiring process is complicated enough without the additional burden of having to worry about potential legal concerns and discrimination claims. Several federal and state laws influence a company’s search, evaluation, and selection of new employees. To help avoid discrimination claims, information requested from the applicant should be directly related to the position he or she is interviewing for.

Registration is FREE for current Employco clients and first time participants (the cost is $249 otherwise).

Webinar Registration

California Says “No Medical Marijuana at Work”

Employment expert explains why groundbreaking bill was shot down, and what employees need to know

CaliforniaLast week, California made the decision to shelve a law which would have offered workplace protections to employees who are qualified to use medical marijuana. In part, the bill could have allowed these qualified users to be “under the influence” of medical marijuana at work, provided that they were not unduly impaired or having a negative impact on the company.

“Critics of California’s AB-2069 said that the bill was too broad and impinged on an employer’s ability to maintain a drug-free workplace,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment solutions expert. “This is an issue that is only growing in size and scope, as many states now allow marijuana use, either medically or recreationally or both. This has led to some very murky waters for employers, especially as some states prohibit the discrimination of employees with a medical marijuana card, while other states do not.”

So, what should an employer do to navigate this issue?

First, Wilson advises employers to get familiar with their state’s specific legislation. He also says, “If your employees are part of a collective bargaining unit, then it is likely that drug stipulations already exist, including specific limits for drug use. For example, in a recent case, an employee was found to be under the influence while on the job, but he claimed his medical marijuana card gave him permission to use while working. However, a drug test revealed that he was 10 times above his prescribed limit.”

Continue reading

How to Decrease Employee Turnover

Employment solutions expert talks employee retention and ‘on-boarding’ new employees

Employee TurnoverEmployee turnover can be very costly, yet employee retention rates have been decreasing in recent years. In fact, one recent study found that one-third of employers expect to lose employees this year. So, what can companies do to better retain their top talent?

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment solutions expert says, “Employee retention is no longer as simple as giving your workers adequate compensation for their efforts. In order to keep top-performing talent on staff, employers really need to make an effort to stand out from the crowd and make their firm a place people want to work.”

Wilson says that “on-boarding” is one way to make sure that employees stick around. “On-boarding is a new term which H.R. professionals are using to describe the way in which companies can help new employees have a smooth introduction to the team. It’s an ongoing process that lasts far beyond an employee’s first day, and it’s meant to help keep workers engaged and inspired, which in turn can help increase employee retention rates.”

The employee engagement expert says that on-boarding should be done with intention and foresight. “You should chart out your employee’s first 3-6 months with the company,” says Wilson. “You want to integrate them into the firm and make them feel like they are part of a community, rather than just another cog in the machine. You can do so via social engagements, in-office mentoring, and team building exercises. On-boarding is quickly becoming part of every progressive and forward-thinking company, and it’s one way to help keep employees from feeling disengaged.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.