Tom Sweeney

It's a coming of age tale….

Posts Tagged ‘Labour Market’

Labour market: Finally coming around?

Posted by sweens on June 23, 2009

This is more of a question then a statement for me.  I am curious to see how everyone else perceives the labour market these days.  For myself, I have been busier as of late then I have been over the past few months.  Is this the same for everyone else?

Based on the market I work in – a Government town – the market should be quiet right now as many employees take long and extended vacations.  However, I have seen a recent increase in Government contract opportunities.  While I have not yet seen a drastic increase in private sector hiring, it may be coming.

 Is anyone else experiencing a growth in volume of open positions?

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Recession will change retirement plans…

Posted by sweens on May 11, 2009

When I was twenty one and was nearing graduation from University, I was continually flooded by professors, friends, family, etc; telling me how great it was to be my age.  I would have ample opportunities for employment as my generation was supposed to replace the baby boomers within the work force.  Sounded great at the time – but its not looking that way right now!

It seems to me that with the current recession we are facing, many individuals who had plans on retiring over the next few years are going to be putting those plans on hold.  RRSPs have been hurt with some people losing up to 50% (if not more) of their nest egg that they had planned on using for retirement.  It is not such a great time to be thinking retirement now is it?

As such, many of  these baby boomers who were supposed to be retiring in the next while are likely going to remain in the labour market while they try to rebuild their retirement savings.  This will likely mean less change within the labour market and the younger generations – like mine – will likely be shut out of many highly sought after positions for a little while longer.

Perhaps growing up or getting older is not looking as good as we all thought it would…

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Equilibrium: Apparently it applies to more then grade 10 science class…

Posted by sweens on March 23, 2009

Today I had a coffee with a professional who has a similar profession to my own.  During our coffee chat it was pointed out to me that there is a sense of equilibrium that exists within the recruitment world and the labour market.  This relationship is as follows:

 

The labour market always has either too many jobs with too few resources or too few jobs for too many resources (supply and demand). 

 

I thought this was an interesting way to look at the recruitment world because it is an accurate statement.  If the labour market were ever to balance out – where we would have an equal number of jobs to resources – there would be no need for the recruitment industry.  So what can we say when the industry is on either side of this equilibrium?

 

It seems to be common knowledge that when you are in the recruitment industry and the economy is booming and people are hiring – the times are great.  Money is to be made and it has been described as shooting fish in a barrel.  Smaller recruitment companies are formed and there is a lot of competition.

 

When times are bad, those smaller companies tend to fold or down-size and the whole industry is affected.  When the number of placements drops there is less to go around for everyone in the industry so things obviously decrease in size.  The larger companies can often look at this situation in a positive manner because smaller companies are more likely to fold during this time and offer them less competition during a recession and once the market comes out of the recession.

 

All in all, the recruitment industry is heavily reliant on the economy and depends on the fact that employers can not satisfy their own staffing needs, either due to too many or too few candidates.    

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Generation ‘X’ VS Generation ‘Y’: The Show Down (Part 2)

Posted by sweens on January 30, 2009


Let us continue with the blog entry from yesterday where we took a look at some of the generational issues that exist within the current labour market.  Today I would like to focus on the technological or communication differences between each generation.  Having a sound understanding of how each generation prefers to communicate can increase your odds of touching base with the person you are trying to connect with.

 

Traditionalists:

  By nature Traditionalists are private, the “silent generation”. Don’t expect members of this generation to share their thoughts immediately.
 For the Traditionalist an educator’s word is his/her bond, so it’s important to focus on words rather than body language or inferences.
 Face to face or written communication is preferred.
 Don’t waste their time, or let them feel as though their time is being wasted.  

 

Baby Boomers:

– Boomers are the “show me” generation, so your body language is important when communicating.
– Speak in an open, direct style but avoid controlling language.
– Answer questions thoroughly and expect to be pressed for the details.
– Present options to demonstrate flexibility in your thinking.

 

Generation X:

– Use email as a primary communication tool.
– Talk in short sound bites to keep their attention.
– Ask them for their feedback and provide them with regular feedback.
– Share information with them on a regular basis and strive to keep them in the loop.
– Use an informal communication style.

 

Generation Y:

– Use action words and challenge them at every opportunity.
– They will resent it if you talk down to them.
– They prefer email communication.
– Seek their feedback constantly and provide them with regular feedback..
– Use humour and create a fun learning environment. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
– Encourage them to take risks and break the rules so that they can explore new ways of learning.

 

 

Many of the articles I have read on generational gaps within the work force talked about how each generation came to embrace the trends they demonstrate on a daily basis and how the majority of these trends arose from events or social norms that existed and changed during their time.  For my generation it was events like the Oklahoma City bombing or the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal.  But more importantly for me, it was the fact that my generation relies so much on technology as it is something we have constantly been a witness to.

 

My generation is all about access to information.  When can I get it?  How fast can I get it?  Is mine giving me a better result then yours?  As such, Generation Y uses technology to its fullest extent.  We live in a world now where most 13 year old adolescents can type faster and navigate around a computer better then their parents because they have been on MSN, Facebook or MySpace for years.  We would prefer to text our friends rather then call them.  Just one of the ways this generation works.

 

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT IN THE LABOUR MARKET?

 

I would suggest that this is worth mentioning because technologies are changing and so are the people who are in the labour market.  More people from Generation Y are in the work force and in order to be able to connect with them, you need to think about the best way to do that.  I for example, monitor my email like it was my sole purpose on this planet.  But I have an issue with the phone.  I would rather respond to a voicemail by sending someone an email.  When I need to touch base with someone my first choice would be to send them an email.  I have even negotiated a contract with one of my candidates over text messaging before (their choice – not mine). 

 

Now I realize that when you begin a new professional relationship you have no idea what age the person on the other end is – unless you are meeting them face to face so this may be difficult to use in person.  But as more Baby Boomers leave the work force and more Generation Yers enter it, the demographic of the labour market is undoubtedly going to change.  Jobs are being posted on places like Facebook and MySpace.  Email campaigns can be a huge success and more and more people will be carrying a BlackBerry so they can juggle between SMS, MMS, Email and PIN messages. 

 

I would suggest that in order to be successful in the fast paced environment the work force has become these days, people should be aware of who they are dealing with and what the best ways to connect with them are.  While I think that this blog has been pointed towards older generations coming on board with technology and following what younger generations are doing, this needs to be the opposite for younger generations who wish to connect with someone from an older generation and realize that their way is not always going to be the best way to get things done.

 

Like any new large movement, the technological one and age of networking is a powerful one and those that choose not to embrace it run the risk of being left behind.  It is however important to remember where we came from as it is impossible to move forward without knowing where you have been.    

 

Please read the following articles for more information:

 

http://honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/committees/FacDevCom/guidebk/teachtip/intergencomm.htm

http://counselingoutfitters.com/vistas/vistas05/Vistas05.art70.pdf

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Certifications… Are they really all ‘that’??

Posted by sweens on January 23, 2009


Today’s blog is going to deal with certifications and how they can impact your resume. Certifications are becoming more and more of a ‘requisite’ in the market these days and I suspect that this mentality will only get stronger in the coming months.  While I and many of my colleagues are not ‘hung up’ on certifications, the labour market and employers these days certainly and putting a huge emphasis on certifications.

 

Certifications can offer many things to many people both from the employee and employer stand point.  When we think about reviewing or assessing a resume it is almost like someone checks for the certification and then decides to proceed with reviewing your experience.  Rather then reviewing your experience and then checking to see what certifications you have. 

 

While I do not necessarily agree with this method of assessing resumes, so many positions these days require certifications and the reason for that is because so many people have them.  Whether it is an MCSE, PMP, ITIL, CISSP CMMI, etc; there are more and more people within the work force who have these certifications/designations now.  This has lead employers to demand these certifications when they are looking to bring in new candidates.

 

IS THIS GOING TO CHANGE?

 

My personal opinion is that this trend will continue to grow rather then weaken.  The reason I feel the market will continue to sway that way is because with more and more people hitting the street due to current downsizing initiatives, people will look to increase their odds of gaining employment in the future and in order to better there chances they will turn to certifications.

 

I believe that once IT does return to a high level of employment, there will be more people with certifications then those without certifications.  That situation will likely increase the demands employers will put on certifications.  It is for that reason that you can not simply think about your current situation with your employer because you may not be there forever and when you leave, how attractive are you going to look for future employers?

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