Archive for the ‘Employment Trends’ Category

Study Focuses on Older Workers at Fortune 500 Companies

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

employee background check, employee screeningA recent report ranked Fortune 500 employers by the percentage of workers they have over age 50. gathered data from public records and surveys of employers and employees, to illustrate for job seekers 50+ which industries tend to employ a disproportionately high or low percentage of mature workers.

The results show that the airline industry employs the most workers over age 50, and that American Airlines was first in the nation, with nearly 40% of its workforce over age 50.  Toward the other end of the scale is Google, Inc., with just 13 % of workers over 50. stated that the study did not provide insight into whether employers are committed to hiring older workers, or whether they do or do not appreciate older workers. They further said that a low percentage of older workers does not imply that the company is a bad place for older people to work—they just have fewer than would be expected and may therefore be less accepting of older workers.

Additional findings from the study:

  • The average among the Fortune 500 is 25.6% of employees age 50+.
  • Companies addressing high turnover rates strategically recruit mature employees, because age 50+ workers turn over at one-third the rate of younger peers.
  • In any given organization, the percentage of employees age 50+ ranges from 6% to 39% on average.

The top Industries for the number of workers over 50 are:

  1. Airlines
  2. Utilities
  3. Insurance
  4. Retail
  5. Chemicals
  6. Aerospace & Defense
  7. Packaging & Containers
  8. Forest & Paper Products
  9. Food Production
  10. Beverages

The Top 10 Fortune 500 Employers Of Older Workers

  1. American Airlines                              39%
  2. Eastman Kodak                                  38%
  3. TravelCenters of America                 38%
  4. Delta Air Lines                                   37%
  5. United Air Lines                                 37%
  6. Weyerhaeuser                                     36%
  7. Edison International                          36%
  8. Northeast Utilities                              36%
  9. United Services Automobile Assn.   35%
  10. KeyCorp                                                35%

The Bottom 10 Fortune 500 Employers For Older Worker

  1. Consol Energy 14%
  2. Nordstrom                                              14%
  3. Chesapeake Energy                                14%
  4. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold   14%
  5. Electronic Arts                                       13%
  6. Google, Inc.                                             12%
  7. C.H. Robinson Worldwide                    12%
  8. Goldman Sachs Group                           11%
  9. Auto-Owners Insurance                          9%
  10. AECOM Technology                                 6%

Also appearing in the bottom 20 are companies such as Target, Whole Foods, Best Buy, Hershey, Polo Ralph Lauren, Amazon and Philip Morris.

Are Employers Holding Off on Hiring the Perfect Employee?

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

employee screening, employee background checkAhead of tomorrow’s Bureau of Labor Statistics April jobs report, private staffing firm ADP released their National Employment Report for April, which indicates that U.S employment continues to improve—but slowly. Employers added 179,000 jobs in April, bringing total employment to a level 1.35% above April 2010.

While April’s figure was down from 207,000 added jobs in March, and lower than the increase of 198,000 predicted by the Bloomberg survey, it appears that the bottom has been reached, and the trend is toward recovery. Small to mid-sized service providers are growing the most jobs, adding 138,000 in April, while goods-producing jobs remain stagnant with just 41,000 additional jobs.

But are employers themselves the reason for slow job recovery? Are they holding off on filling open positions? Some studies seem to indicate exactly that. Employers are not cutting jobs at the same rates they did in 2010, but they’re not in any hurry to fill job openings. According to the Conference Board, a research organization, the number of job openings advertised online has grown to 4.2 million, continuing a trend that began in the spring of 2009.

4.2 million jobs waiting to be filled, and only 179,000 jobs added in April? The problem seems to be a hesitation on the part of employers to commit to hiring. Recruiters say it takes longer to find qualified candidates, and even longer to get them hired. Hiring cycles that used to last two months are now stretching into six or even eight months.

One recruiter said that hiring managers are not only taking longer to hire; they are holding out for better candidates. Companies are bringing in between five and six candidates for second-round interviews—twice as many as in 2007. And once they identify the perfect hire, they start over. The thinking is that if there is one great candidate, there must be 10 more even better.

The frustrations for job seekers must be incredible. Plenty of companies have good jobs open and ready to fill, but they are taking 180 days instead of the 60 to make a commitment. They want each hire to be the perfect hire. And when there are plenty of candidates to choose from, what’s the hurry?

If you’ve found the perfect candidate, don’t overlook proper background screening. The best pre-employment screening process includes employee background checks, employee credit checks, and criminal background checks. You’ll know you’re hiring safe when you screen employees before offering a position.

Survey Shows Workers On Time More Often

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

employee credit check, pre employment backgound checkA survey of nearly 3900 employers and 2500 employees by the job site,, shows that employees are improving in one area: showing up for work on time. Over the last two years, the number of workers who said they arrived late to work at least once a week declined from 20 percent to 15 percent.

At a time when employers are asking for more productivity out of their employees, it’s a bit surprising that tardiness is actually going down—unless those same workers are realizing how valuable their jobs really are. A quick check of unemployment figures, or seeing friends and family lose jobs and struggle with finding work, could be inspiring employees to do what’s expected, like being on time for work.

CareerBuilder does not ask respondents to explain why they are increasingly making it to work on time; however, they are asked why they’re late. Among the reasons given:

  • Traffic (listed by 30% of respondents)
  • Lack of sleep (listed by 19%
  • Bad weather
  • Delays in getting kids to school

Some of the more creative reasons employees gave for coming to work late were wardrobe issues, dealing with pets and public transportation issues.

But those common reasons for being late to work pale in comparison with these, supplied by hiring managers:

  • I was attacked by a cat
  • My karma was out of sync
  • I injured myself with a fork
  • My car is infested with bees
  • My hair is hurting my head
  • I’m not late: the clock is wrong
  • I knew I was going to be late, so I stopped to buy donuts for everyone

While these inventive excuses are entertaining, tardiness is nothing to laugh about. In fact, nearly a third of employers said they have terminated an employee for being late.

Ready to Hire Employees? Here’s How to Do It Better

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Some employers are out of practice when it comes to hiring employees. Maybe it’s been a couple of years since you’ve had enough business to justify adding staff–so if you’re a little rusty, check out these quick tips for sorting through the applications, resumes and interviews and getting the best new employee possible.

  1. Revisit your needs: What do you really need help with? Where are the gaps in your current production or service offerings and how can you best fill them? Perhaps you need to hire three people, not one, as you planned. Or even better, a thorough needs audit may reveal you only need one new staffer, not two.
  2. Revisit the position you’re hiring for: Has it changed since you last filled it? For example, the employee who’s currently fulfilling the role may have taken on more duties through the recession. If so, adjust the job description and tighten up your requirements before you place any ads.
  3. Consider the new ways of recruiting job candidates: You might not have heard that not many job seekers use the newspaper’s classified ads anymore, but it’s true. Online job boards, social media sites, Craigslist and local news sites are probably your best bets for placing ads.
  4. But you might not need to advertise at all: word of mouth can be the most effective method to get new employees through the door. When you and your staff spread the word that you’re hiring, you’re more likely to have people you know apply for the job: customers, friends, family members and friends of friends will start coming through the door. These are likely going to be people already familiar with your company and its products or services. They may have a good feeling for the company culture and require less time to get up to speed.
  5. Hire for attitude, train for skill: Making sure a new employee fits your culture and has a passion for what you’re all doing there is vital to long-term success. Skills are important, but a positive, cooperative employee beats a grumpy, difficult genius any day of the week!
Hiring? The best pre-employment screening process includes employee background checks, employee credit checks, and criminal background checks. You’ll know you’re hiring safe when you screen employees before offering a position.

Hiring Tip: Look For Employees Who Fit Your Culture

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011,, employement screening If your businesses not only made it through the recession, but is gearing up for higher sales or productions, congratulations! You’ll probably be venturing back into the hiring pool, too—and if it’s been a while since you’ve dipped a toe in it, this is a good time to re-think your previous strategies and try something new.

Hire for Good Fit and Train For the Job
Sure, experience counts for a great deal when you’re hiring a new employee. But for long-term success, a number of companies look at how well employees fit their culture, not how many years of experience they’ve gathered.

Zappos is an online mega-store, which started out selling shoes but now sells clothing and accessories, too. Zappos‘ employees work hard toward common business goals—and they think of themselves as a family. And when it comes to hiring new employees, Zappos’ carefully-crafted company culture rules. (You can’t let just anybody into your family.) They look for people who are “fun and a little weird.” Potential hires also must embrace the company’s nine other core values, including “be humble,” “do more with less” and “deliver WOW through service.”

Another example of success is Southwest Airlines—pretty much the only profitable airline around. Southwest hires for attitude and trains for skills. Their interview process includes group tasks, which help determine if an applicant has the right attitude and/or leadership abilities. They want more employees who have fun, don’t take themselves too seriously and are “passionate Teamplayers.” At Southwest, they know that “Happy Employees = Happy Customers. Happy Customers keep Southwest flying.”

If you’re going to be hiring employees soon, you might want to adopt some of these ideas as your own.

Tips For Hiring Employees Who Fit In

  1. Look for passion: for your company, your product or service, and for life.
  2. Find out if an applicant has the same values as your company: if fun is important in your company culture, a dour employee won’t be as successful as one that loves to have fun.
  3. Embrace individuality. Don’t limit your hiring to clones of yourself or other employees.
  4. Ask applicants to do something unusual: Like write an essay about their hobbies, goals or grandparents. Have them meet your team, send in a video, or list their top ten movies, books, or albums.

Remember, even if you think you’ve found a perfect-fit employee, it’s always smart to conduct a thorough pre-employment screening. Checking an employee’s background, including credit check and criminal records check, is the only way to know for sure that you’re making the best and safest hiring decision.

What Employee Traits are Employers Looking for Today?

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

pre employment screening, background check employeeHiring employees
has been off the to-do list for business owners struggling to recover from a down economy and for those who are again starting to do well after a couple of tough years. So, what has changed? Have employers’ needs changed due to a different economic reality? Have potential employees changed, too?

Ask a dozen employers what they’re looking for in employees today, and you’ll probably hear a variety of answers—as well as some commonalities. Here are a few answers we’ve received to that question:

Attitude: “I’m seeing a new commitment to work from potential employees,” says Andrea, a floral shop owner. “A respect for me as an employer and a real desire to work is replacing the ‘you owe me a job’ attitude that some employees exhibited over the past several years.” Andrea says hiring for attitude is her #1 goal. “Positive people contribute to a great company culture and make customers feel great about dealing with my company.”

Appreciation: “I want people who appreciate my company and my customers,” says Kevin, a heating and air conditioning company owner. “They represent me with every interaction and I can’t afford to hire employees who are not customer-centric.” Kevin makes sure he asks every potential employee to give examples of how they have gone above and beyond for customers in their previous jobs. “If they can’t answer that question, I won’t hire them.”

Excellent references: With so many more people looking for work, it pays to know whom you’re hiring. Checking with previous employers, running pre-employment screening checks and calling references are more important then ever before.

Easier recruiting: Your best new employee could be a link or two away. “I ask my contacts on LinkedIn for referrals when I’m hiring,” said Jeanne. “And, I ask my employees if they know of a good person for a particular position.” Employees usually try to make good recommendations, since it reflects directly on them.

Community involvement: “I always look closely at applicants who say they volunteer or are otherwise active in the community,” said Mark. “Their contacts usually become my customers.” And it goes both ways. Mark says he works toward supporting the groups hisvolunteer with. “It makes for a better community, which is important when times are tough.”

Can “Toxic Bosses” be a Business Liability?

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

employeescreeningblog, employee screening, pre-employment screeningBullying in schools is all over the news right now—and for good reason. Workplace bullying has been a trend as well. Can so-called “toxic bosses” be a liability to businesses? The answer is a resounding “yes.”

There are strong feelings on both sides of this argument; but today we’ll focus just on the information employers need to be aware of.

The Healthy Workplace Bill gives employers incentives to prevent workplace bullying with policies and procedures that apply to all employees. The bill would protect “workers from what can be considered malicious, health-harming abusive conduct committed by bosses and co-workers.” Is such legislation necessary? Some say yes; others say no. A survey conducted by The Workplace Bullying Institute in September, 2010, which found that 64% of all respondents supported such a bill, while nearly 24% were opposed. 12% had no opinion or were not sure.

17 states have introduced legislation in recent years to curb workplace bullying. None have become law, but in New York, the Senate recently passed a measure that would allow workers who have been abused on the job—either physically, psychologically or economically—to sue their employers in civil court. The bill applies to organizations of all sizes—not just larger employers. It holds employers responsible for bullying behavior of workers and supervisors.

Some experts think that if New York’s measure becomes law, a chain reaction across the country is likely to occur. The bill includes a broad definition of bullying, including repeated insults, epithets and derogatory remarks. It also includes “conduct that a reasonable person” would find humiliating, intimidating or threatening.

Employers are already seeking advice on how to avoid litigation from some New York law firms. Others already have a handle on creating a positive, anti-bullying culture—always a good idea, but especially now. New York’s anti-bullying legislation says that employers “may not be held liable if they take steps to prevent or promptly correct abusive behavior.

How to Prevent Workplace Bullying

  • Create a policy that prohibits bullying by supervisors and co-workers.
  • Avoid hiring workers with a history of bullying (pre-employment background screening is a must).
  • Avoid hiring workers with abusive tendencies by asking the right interview questions.
  • Provide training on proper workplace behavior for all employees.
  • Take a look at your own management style: high turnover and yelling are good indicators that you could be perceived as a bully.

Defining the difference between discipline and bullying is a tough one—but if in doubt, ask your employees. Some reports say that between 16% and 21% of employees have experienced “health-endangering workplace bullying, abuse and harassment.” Florida State University’s College of Businesses conducted a survey in which 23.5% of respondents working for companies with 100 or fewer employees reported experiencing supervisor bullying on a weekly basis. The number for 100+ employee organizations was slightly less, at 21.3%.

Using Social Media to Recruit New Staff

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

employee screening blog, pre-employment screeningAnd the survey says… more Human Resources professionals are using social networks to augment or replace traditional recruiting techniques. According to a social recruiting survey by Jobvite, an online social recruiting service company, 83% of businesses polled said they are already or planning on using social networks to find new employees this year.

In the sense that referral hires in general are stronger and of higher quality, it’s fitting that social network recruiting would be a natural way to attract the great-fit employees who already know about your company and are inclined to stick around longer.

Jobvite’s survey indicates:

  • 46% of respondents plan to spend more on social recruiting in 2010 than in 2009
  • 38% will spend less on third-party recruiters and search firms
  • 36% will spend less on job boards
  • Only 17% use no social networking or don’t know if they will use social networking for recruiting new staff

Why less on job boards? Respondents rated job boards last for candidate quality; referrals were rated highest. Only 17% of companies surveyed planned to spend more on job boards in 2010 than they did in 2009.

Another interesting fact is that Jobvite’s first survey in 2008 showed that more than twice as many recruiters used LinkedIn than Facebook as a social network recruiting tool; Twitter didn’t even appear as a response to “what social networks do you use for recruiting?” This year, 78% of those surveyed indicated they use LinkedIn, 55% use Facebook and 45% use Twitter.

HR managers are also using social network tools to research candidates through LinkedIn (over 70%) and Facebook (nearly 50%). About 60% used search engines to research job seekers—perhaps as simply as Googling each name.

With both the cost of recruiting and the number of candidates for every position going up, it can make sense to take advantage of low-cost or free tools to improve the quality of your next group of job interviewees.

And don’t neglect to conduct thorough pre-employment screening before you hire! No social network will tell you whether a new hire has a criminal history or is a financial risk to your company.

More Employees Seek Housing Assistance than Child Care Assistance

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

employeescreeningblog, employee screening, pre-employment screeningMany employers offer employee assistance plans to help staffers find child care, elder are, legal counsel or financial services. These plans are good for employees, offering a lifeline to help when they really need it. They’re good for employers, too. Employee assistance plans foster loyalty and reduce the stress level to make the workplace a better place for everyone to be.

ComPsych is a company that offers employee assistance plans to over 13,000 companies worldwide. They track calls to monitor trends regarding what employees need help with. Their latest report shows that more calls from January to June of 2010 were about housing than any other category—even child care.

Since ComPsych started tracking employee assistance calls in 1984, child care issues were the number one reason employees called. Not so this year. Of the 25,000 calls received from January to June 2010, 41% were moving-related. 77% of these callers needed help finding an apartment, and two-thirds of them said it was related to foreclosure.

Not only were housing-related calls up 14% over this six-month period, but requests for help with child counseling increased 12% from the same period the year before—perhaps due to increased child trauma around housing issues, like foreclosure and moving.

Calls for help with elder care and health care issues remained steady at 17% and 10%, respectively. Child-care calls dropped nine percentage points from the first six months of 2009. With many parents out of work, perhaps child care is one less worry to deal with. But the spike in housing assistance calls is reflective of the continued housing crisis in the U.S.

Now, as banks and mortgage companies across the country announce freezes on foreclosure proceedings, thousands of homeowners who are behind on their mortgages will likely be able to stay in their homes for the foreseeable future—not making mortgage payments and not facing eviction.

Perhaps the number of housing assistance calls to ComPsych will decline over the next six months.

Alternatives to Traditional Salary-and-Benefits Offers

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

employee screening, pre-screening, employment screeningUnemployment is still stubbornly clinging close to the 10% mark. Talented people have been out of work for 12, 18, even 24 months or more. Many are getting desperate; some might consider “desperate” an optimistic view of their situation.

If your company is hiring, plenty of highly-experienced workers might be willing to do almost anything to land a position—any position. We’re hearing reports of job candidates agreeing to more employer-friendly hiring conditions, such as working for greatly-reduced salaries, accepting limited benefits packages, trying out performance-based pay and taking temporary positions.

Some employers see offering temp-to-hire jobs as a win/win way to add needed staff without maximum risk. Others are using contract freelancers in the same way, with even less risk, since they do not come onto the payroll until a hiring decision is made. Several innovative companies are offering an ownership stake in lieu of higher salaries and benefits—which works well for risk-taking, entrepreneurial types of employees.

These new-reality ways to add staff without increasing expenses or risk are worth considering if your company is teetering on the edge or rebounding from the recession. But remember—whether you offer lower salary, part-time work, temporary positions, or a stake in your company, don’t make the mistake of skipping the pre-employment screening process.

Reducing risk by hiring temporary or part-time employees is a wash if you increase the risk to your company by leaving out background checks. All contract, temporary and part-time workers should be properly pre-screened. And before you offer a stake in your company to a new employee, don’t you want the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ve conducted all the criminal and credit checks you can?

Who knows how long unemployment will remain at this rate, or how much longer employers will be able to hire such high levels of talented employees under favorable conditions?