This is a summary of my interview with Steve Grzanich, host of WGN Radio’s Opening Bell, on Monday, January 11, 2016. We discussed the U.S. Labor Department’s first job figures for 2016. These provide a yearly outlook for jobs creation and technical and engineering recruiting, which my technical recruitment firm specializes in. Included are my comments and suggestions and an unedited audio clip of our discussion including many interesting nuggets that time did not permit to be included on the air. I hope you enjoy it.
State Of Technical And Engineering Jobs
In my fields of technical recruiting and engineering recruiting, the unemployment rate is a lot better what the U.S. Labor Department announced on Friday, January 8, 2016. They reported that overall employment increased by 292,000 jobs and the overall unemployment rate remained steady at 5%, which continued to be the lowest figure since April 2008. However, technology recruitment is doing a lot better with the unemployment rate for engineers at almost zero!
Can We Catch Up In Science, Engineering And Technical Fields?
I was asked if it was too late to catch up in science, engineering and technical fields? I shared a positive outlook for our future technical endeavors including that there is always time to catch up. If you look back at our history, we weren’t the first in space. The Russians beat us, but we caught up and passed them up. At the beginning of World War II we weren’t the premier military power, but we caught up because of innovation. So we can catch up to the rest of the world in research and development, scientific, engineering and technical endeavors, but it is going to take a lot of effort including a renewed focus on S.T.E.M. education.
The Overall Strength Of Our Economy?
I also shared that the Labor Department figures point to overall strength of our economy with the 63rd straight month of jobs creation. Many sectors showed jobs growth including: a) Professional and Business Services which added 72,000 new jobs b) Healthcare employment rose again with 39,000 jobs c) Food Services and Drinking Places added 37,000 jobs and d) Construction added people for the 3rd straight month at 45,000 new jobs.
Three Fields In High Demand?
As proof of technical and engineering employment vacancies, I shared three areas that are hampering technical and engineering recruitment efforts due to short supply and high demand are:
1. In the confectionary industry, maintenance mechanics with high-speed packaging and filling equipment experience including Hayssen equipment.
2. In the construction industry electrical engineers and Project Managers with commercial construction and renovation experience.
3. Overall healthcare continues to grow including nurses and other healthcare professionals.
Are These Unemployment Figures Real?
Additionally, I was asked if 5% is the real overall unemployment rate? I said that it was not. If you add in figures for both: a) those who are involuntarily working part-time and b) those who have given up looking for work (and are not even counted in the BLS figures) then the real unemployment is almost double or 9.9%.”
In addition, I was asked if the figure of 93 million people being out of work, looking for work and not counted by the unemployment rate was an accurate figure? I shared that it wasn’t because if you look at the recent figures from the BLS the total unemployment figures were only 15,700,000. That breaks down into: a) 7,900,000 unemployed b) 6,000,000 involuntarily working part-time and c) 1,800,000 who have given up looking. As a result, I think that the BLS figures of 15,700,000 are a bit low, but the figure of 93,000,000 unemployed seems very, very, very high.
I also offered a few suggestions for job seekers including the mantras:
1. Resumes don’t get you hired, you do. Instead, focus on networking to generate interviews. There are two types of networking: a) traditional, which is telling everyone you know you are looking for jobs and b) Social media networking, which is the high technology version of networking, leveraging social media, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to generate interviews.
2. Numbers, numbers, numbers. This means to seed your resume and your presentations with a lot of quantitative information. This can include: a) any ways you made money for past employers b) any ways you saved money for past employers or c) any awards or patents.
To help with networking, I shared the 30-second elevator pitch, which is an excellent tool to help you network. During this pitch you want to convey three things: 1) who you are? 2) What you are looking for and 3) your 2-3 greatest strengths. For example, if you are a technical candidate pursuing a technology job advertisement within a software engineering firm, you want to emphasize impact your software coding had on your past employer.
Employment Among Recent College Grads?
I was asked why recent college graduates having a tough time landing a job? I shared that this directly relates to their school choices and the lack of good trade schools. For example, there is a shortage of good maintenance mechanics and building engineers.
Students and schools focus on liberal arts and pre-law training instead of S.T.E.M. skills. Our students rank very low worldwide in science, technology, engineering and math, which will adversely impact future innovation.