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Update on the Money Aspects of the article

Coronavirus – how it can impact your job and what you can do to protect yourself

by Sarah Wayland
March 18, 2020

We all receive emails from those companies we work with talking about their updated COVID-19 plans. I have admired the increase in employee coverage for catastrophic events, fees usually collected from the community on hold and many, many other positive messages the emails have expressed.

Today I got one from my bank and this is what they are doing for their customers –

  • Increased daily limits for Snapshot mobile check deposit.
  • Increased debit card ATM withdrawal limits.
  • Waived penalties for early CD withdrawals up to $25,000 (not available the first 6 days of CD term, or within 6 days of a prior withdrawal).
  • Options for payment deferrals on mortgages, home equity lines, personal loans, credit cards and small business loans. Call us to discuss your specific situation and we can guide you to the options that may be available to you.
  • Waived late fees for loans and credit cards, for clients in good standing with the bank, who identify that they have been adversely impacted. 
  • Expedited processing on SBA loan applications for qualified businesses adversely impacted. 

This falls in line with the suggestions I included in the Coronavirus article dated March 12, 2020 –

How can we protect ourselves from loss of income?

There are some things we can do if we anticipate missing income during the COVID-19 outbreak.

– Call lenders and ask about hardship assistance programs. This is a term for options like refinancing, forbearance and deferral. For instance, some lenders will allow you to skip a payment and add it to the end of your loan.
– Look into pulling cash from a credit card. It is best if you can check the credit cards’ charge and interest percentage on Cash Advances ahead of time and open a new card if your current card charges a lot for cash. Some cards are geared toward Cash Advance customers and have lower fees and interest rates as a result.
– Borrow money from a friend or family member

Some specific areas of financial support

– Mortgage or rent – if you are renting, you can ask for an exception from your landlord although you will need to make plans to pay that back; and if you are buying, ask for emergency assistance from your mortgage lender. In addition, you can contact your state to see if they have any assistance programs to help residents.
– Other expenses – some states also have emergency financial aid programs for other expenses.
– Utilities – the utility company may have a fund for hardship cases.

Some helpful information is on the “Need Help Paying Bills” web site (Link.) The information on this site is primarily unvetted, so please use with discretion.

What is recommended by the CDC and debt organizations is to plan for the worst and hope for the best. The sooner you can set up an emergency net the sooner you will feel less stressed.

Excerpt from Coronavirus – how it can impact your job and what you can do to protect yourself dated March 12, 2020

Make some phone calls Now and set yourself up for success!

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Interview Questions – Part I

By Sarah Wayland
March 17, 2020

In January of 2000 Lever Recruiting Software ( published a report on comprehensive interviewing questions and I found their information to be inclusive. The questions themselves are a direct quote from the report. The rest of the information is reiterated in the author’s words.

As a result, this is the first of two parts of interview questions you might expect at your next interview.

The Three types of Questions – Lever began their report by describing the three types of questions interviewers ask –

  • Behavioral are questions targeted toward understanding your behavior within the workplace and whether or not that behavior will be suitable for the position that you are applying.
  • Competency-based questions are designed to test one or more of your skills needed for the job.
  • Situational are questions asking about how you have behaved or reacted in past situations and circumstances in the workplace.

After souring the web and interviewing experts, Lever came up with a list of questions for the following areas.

Screening for communications skills –

No matter what your job, communication skills are important. Every time you interface with your prospective employer they are screening for these skills. They may also ask you specific questions during the interview.

  1. Tell me about a time when you were the expert in your field and needed to describe a project, situation, or challenge. How did you handle this and ensure all stakeholders understood your perspective and what you were describing?
  2. Describe a time when you had to rely on written communication to initiate a project. How did you communicate to ensure your ideas came across to your team and they understood all deliverables?
  3. Describe a time when you worked as part of a team spanning multiple departments. What forms of communication did you use to ensure the project ran smoothly?
  4. Tell me about a time when you were a team leader for a project or task. What did you do to ensure everyone understood the deliverables and met the deadlines?
  5. Give me an example of a successful presentation you gave. How did you prepare and explain everything to ensure it was successful?
  6. Tell me about a time you had to make a good impression on a client. How did you ensure you made a significant, positive impression?
  7. Give me an example of when you had to interact with a difficult client or customer. Were you able to change the experience from negative to positive?
  8. Tell me about a time you had to persuade a co-worker or manager. What did you do to persuade them to see things your way?
  9. Describe a time when you had to deal with a conflict with another person in your department or reporting directly to you. How did you handle it and what was the outcome?

Questions about your experience –

  1. Do you prefer to work as part of a team that is primarily autonomous?
  2. Can you describe one of your favorite teams that you’ve been a part of? What made this team your favorite? How would you replicate or improve this type of team at our company?
  3. What was the worst functioning team that you’ve been a part of? What made it challenging to work as part of this team? What would you do differently to make this team function better and/or be more enjoyable to work in?
  4. What does your ideal team look like? Describe roles, collaboration tools, and communication practices used.
  5. What do you think is more important for a team: technical skills or communication? Why?
  6. What type of employee development program would you put in place to help your team gain and improve skills?
  7. Would you rather give your team the opportunity to gain new skills or hire a new employee for those skills?
  8. How would you handle a member of your team who is not performing well?
  9. How would you handle a member of your team who is having communication issues with other team members?
  10. Can you give me an example of a time you faced conflict while working on a team? How did you handle and manage that situation and still fulfill your responsibilities?
  11. Describe a time when you had to collaborate with a team member in another department in your company. How did you overcome the differences in department goals?
  12. We all make mistakes in communication. Tell me about a time you wish you’d handled communicating with a member of your team differently.
  13. Tell me about a time when you had to collaborate with a member of your team who was not responsive. How did you handle that situation? Were you able to fulfill your responsibilities and hit your goals?

Questions to understand how you think through problems –

  1. Describe a situation in which you found a creative way to overcome an obstacle.
  2. Tell me about a time that there was a problem at one of your past companies and you went above and beyond the call of duty to get things done.
  3. Tell me about a time when you came up with a new way to solve a problem.
  4. What’s the most innovative or “cool” new idea that you have implemented? What was the outcome?
  5. What would you consider to be the best idea you came up with at your last job?
  6. Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and/or risks and developed preventive measures.
  7. Describe a time when you had to analyze information and make a recommendation.
  8. Describe a time when you had to think “outside the box” and how did you go about it?
  9. Give me an example of when someone presented an innovative new idea to you that was a bit unusual. How did you react? What did you do?
  10. Describe a time when you had to quickly solve a problem without managerial input. What was the issue? How did you solve it and what was the result?
  11. Describe a situation where you faced serious challenges in doing your job efficiently. What were those challenges, and how did you overcome them?
  12. How do you know when to solve a problem on your own or to ask for help?

We will continue this next week!

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Coronavirus – how it can impact your job and what you can do to protect yourself

Sarah Wayland, Women’s Employment Advocacy (.com)
March 12, 2020

The novel coronavirus began spreading a few short months ago, in December 2019. In March we already see the many affects the virus has on all of us.

In the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), as of yesterday (at posting today’s figures were not yet available), we have 938 cases across 38 states (including the District of Columbia) and 29 deaths. Of the 938 cases 92 are travel related, 75 are close contact and 771 are under investigation.

Last week a friend of mine’s husband was quarantined at the Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU), and was, gratefully, released a few days later. In addition to New York, the west coast is a hot-bed of COVID-19 per the CDC.[i]

Although the U.S. labor market was strong in February and the unemployment rate fell to a near 50-year low at 3.5 percent, that may be changing.

According to The Washington Post the global markets have shown volatility and fallen sharply as investors have monitored the coronavirus’s dampening effect on manufacturing, travel and consumer spending. Analysts are predicting that global growth this quarter could slow to the lowest levels since the financial crisis.[ii]

While analysts predict an increase of 140,000 to 170,000 jobs some of these gains are expected to be lost in the months to come if the coronavirus breakout doesn’t end soon.

Increased stress

The possibility of contracting the virus is stressful enough. If you are fortunate to be able to work from home that can help. Financial burdens are known to cause workers additional stress so the sooner you determine what you may do to shield yourself, the better.

Stress can also lower our immune systems depending on our susceptibility.

What can we do?

As workers, we can take initiatives to protect ourselves, and we should. Washing our hands every chance we get. If we can’t wash, we should use a hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching our eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Clean our work areas daily concentrating on those items we touch most frequently like our pad, keyboard, mouse and telephone.

If we are not feeling well, we need to stay home, regardless of the possible financial impact.

According to the CVC, here is how the COVID-19 is spread –

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

This virus can [also] spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects and it seems to be spreading easily and sustainably.[iii]

The incubation period is from two days to two weeks.

Although certain businesses cannot, many of the businesses that can are turning to telecommuting.

Per the Washington Post, “We’re about to see a major experiment in increased work from home,”… “Work that’s not based on person-to-person service provision, as with manicures, teaching or nursing, may not be affected at all.”[iv]

Here is what the CDC recommends we do to protect ourselves. These are excerpts from the Transcript of Mr. Benjamin Hanes on Non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI’s).[v]

…businesses can replace in-person meetings with video or telephone conferences and increase teleworking options. On a larger scale, communities may need to modify, postpone, or cancel mass gatherings.

The implementation of environmental NPIs would require everyone to consistently clean frequently touched surfaces and objects at home, at school, at work, and at large gatherings.

Secondary consequences of some of these measures might include missed work and loss of income. I understand this whole situation may seem overwhelming and that disruption to everyday life may be severe. But these are things that people need to start thinking about now.

Hanes also addressed the issue of increased availability of test kits, which he anticipates will happen soon.

Hanes’ recommendation is that we prepare for interruption and upset in our lives. That we talk with our employers about what the plan is if they have not already communicated this information; ask our children’s schools what their intentions are if we do not already know; plan for possibly being inside our home for days or even weeks; and count on missing income or other hardships as a result.

If you have not already, this is a good time to stock up your home with non-perishable items and paper products in case you do have need to stay in for long periods of time.

Can my Employer ask me to Stay Home?

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) says that there are not laws that would prohibit an employer from requiring an employee to remain away from the work site as a precaution. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) general duty clause states that employers have an obligation to protect their workforce from known hazards. The COVID-19 virus outbreak could certainly fall under this clause.

If you are a salaried (or exempt) employee and if you have not already been informed how such a leave would affect your pay, check with your human resources department.

For those workers who are paid hourly you could be asked to stay home and, unless your employer has a specific policy about such a situation or you are a union member and have a bargaining agreement that covers catastrophic paid leave, the time you are not at work will go unpaid.

Make plans now in case of such an emergency.

How can we protect ourselves from loss of income?

There are some things we can do if we anticipate missing income during the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • Call lenders and ask about hardship assistance programs. This is a term for options like refinancing, forbearance and deferral. For instance, some lenders will allow you to skip a payment and add it to the end of your loan.
  • Look into pulling cash from a credit card. It is best if you can check the credit cards’ charge and interest percentage on Cash Advances ahead of time and open a new card if your current card charges a lot for cash. Some cards are geared toward Cash Advance customers and have lower fees and interest rates as a result.
  • Borrow money from a friend or family member.

Some specific areas of financial support.

  • Mortgage or rent – if you are renting, you can ask for an exception from your landlord although you will need to make plans to pay that back; and if you are buying, ask for emergency assistance from your mortgage lender. In addition, you can contact your state to see if they have any assistance programs to help residents.
  • Other expenses – some states also have emergency financial aid programs for other expenses.
  • Utilities – the utility company may have a fund for hardship cases.

Some helpful information is on the “Need Help Paying Bills” web site (Link.) The information on this site is primarily unvetted, so please use with discretion.

What is recommended by the CDC and debt organizations is to plan for the worst and hope for the best. The sooner you can set up an emergency net the sooner you will feel less stressed.

While this is a serious situation as we can die from COVID-19, try to look at your temporarily adjusted situation, if you are experiencing that, as fun – an adventure. Personally, I would rather go on a couch adventure with a season of my favorite show and some popcorn than be quarantined.

[i] COVID-19 Situational Summary by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated March 9, 2020 Link

[ii] U.S. labor market was strong in February, but coronavirus outbreak has upended future outlook by The Washington Post, Economy, by Taylor Telford and Rachel Siegel March 6, 2020 Link

[iii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), How COVID-19 Spreads Link

[iv] Quote from Julia Pollak, ZipRecruiter’s labor economist, see ii.

[v] Transcript for the CDC Telebriefing Update on COVID-19, Mr. Benjamin Hanes, February 26, 2020 Link

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Why Intel Enhanced Paid-Parental and Caregiving Leave

A Q&A with Intel’s global rewards leader, Julie Ann Overcash

By Stephen Miller, CEBS
February 3, 2020
Copy of the article below, since the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) restricts article reading unless you have a membership.

Technology giant Intel has enriched its U.S. paid-leave benefits, effective Jan. 1, to give more support to employees caring for their families and loved ones. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based firm’s offerings now include:

  • Expanded paid bonding leave for new parents, from eight weeks to 12 weeks, in addition to covering pregnancy leave covered as a short-term disability for birth mothers.
  • A part-time work schedule for up to four weeks with full-time pay for new parents. Intel also will provide breast milk shipping at no cost.
  • Eight weeks of paid time off (PTO) to care for a seriously ill family member and two weeks for bereavement leave.
  • Short-term disability coverage at regular pay for up to 52 weeks.
Julie Ann Overcash

Julie Ann Overcash, Intel’s vice president for human resources and director of global rewards and talent retention, recently shared with SHRM Online the reasoning behind Intel’s enhanced benefits.

SHRM Online: What motivated the company to expand its paid-parental-leave policies?

Overcash: We continuously evaluate our benefit offerings and look for ways to improve them. We believe that when our employees and their families are supported, [our employees] perform at their best. This is proven time and time again. By enhancing paid-leave benefits, Intel allows employees to focus on their families and loved ones in times of need so they can return to work with the proper support.

SHRM Online: Do expanded paid-leave benefits help to address gender-equity issues?

Overcash: We believe that by supporting the whole family, it allows for more equity in general across the workforce, since caregiving responsibilities tend to be shared more equally at home.

SHRM Online:  What’s new about Intel’s parent-reintegration/return-to-work policy, and what challenges is it intended to address?

Overcash: During their first month back, new parents can work part time with full-time pay. This allows them to ease back into their work schedule as they make adjustments at home. Additionally, parents who opt in receive a gift in celebration of the event.

SHRM Online: Are there limits on the relationships that are linked to bereavement leave for grieving employees? I ask because SHRM gets a lot of questions about how to set bereavement-leave policies and whether nonrelatives should be included.

Overcash: Generally, bereavement leave is for close family members, which qualifies as parents, siblings and grandparents. Our managers also try to provide some flexibility to employees who are grieving.

SHRM Online: Are there any other aspects that are unique to Intel’s program?

Overcash: We have also announced a new paid-family-leave benefit that allows paid leave for up to eight weeks to care for a seriously ill family member. We believe there is a lot of value in offering employer-paid family leave, as there are many employees who are caring for not only their children, but for parents and other family members as well.

We expect that due to the extra support [Intel is providing employees], we will see increased retention and employee satisfaction.

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Boomers Have Much to Offer and Can Positively Affect the Success of Working with Millennials

by Sarah Wayland of Women’s Employment Advocacy .com
February 18, 2020

I was born at the end of the baby boomers (dating myself here), and I returned to college a decade ago finding that working with my fellow students invigorating.

Work groups in business school were the norm and I was collaborating with students who were the same age as my children at the time. My middle graduated from college the same year I did. Fortunately, our graduation ceremonies were not on the same day.

My experience is that whatever group I participated in excelled. We won contests, aced assignments and learned a lot together. When I realized that I was a hot commodity in the quest for group assignments, just as I had my favorite group participants, I felt both complimented and the weight of responsibility.

Who Says You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?

When I first started at school text was new and my cell didn’t text. So, I took my phone and traded it in for my first smart phone, texting away with my fellow students.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “there are at least four generations now in the workplace: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z. Managing a multigenerational workforce with so many different perspectives, experiences, values and goals poses a unique organizational challenge… However, “generational differences” aren’t always the real issue.”[i]

Hirsch quotes Jennifer C. Deal, a senior research scientist at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, NC and co-author of What Millennials Want from Work: How to Maximize Engagement in Today’s Workforce (McGraw-Hill Education, 2015); “most intergenerational conflicts are fundamentally about power or clout,” she said. “A young person who wants more clout wants to be noticed. They have new ideas that aren’t being listened to. An older person wants their experience to be recognized and appreciated. Everyone wants to be heard and respected.”

What Deal says above, in my experience, is the key. I remember in my 20’s and 30’s as a young professional being dismissed and feeling frustrated and unappreciated. If I can make it better for another young professional, I want to do so. Because ‘that’s always the way we’ve done it’ doesn’t mean it’s right, or ‘if I had to go through that, so do they,’ is a weak argument.

Taking Some Responsibility

When working in the business college collaborations, I quickly discovered that it was most productive for the group if I listened to everybody’s input and then offered my opinion, if I had one, with a quick explanation of why I came to that conclusion. I also found that recognizing interesting or innovative ideas, whether we adopted them or not, was helpful to my fellow students. Treating them as a colleague, on equal footing, went a long way to develop respect with my peers.

If I didn’t understand what somebody meant (harken back to the text), or how they reached their conclusion, I would ask. This was important for two reasons. The first is that I gained perspective that, believe me, I would not have otherwise had. Such a perspective makes me more competitive in the workforce as I learn how the younger generations minds’ work around combining technology into solutions, for example, and second, I found that often this would lead to an opportunity to showcase my contribution of experience.

As the oldest, most experienced person in the group I felt it was my responsibility to do my part in assuring the age difference gap was spanned and, therefore, we were as successful as possible. Everybody put in effort, to one degree or another. I did not let it bother me if somebody seemed to “slack,” because I found over time that they either participated or weren’t invited back. I also made certain that I did not do more than my share unless necessary.

Christina Rouvallis explains in her SHRM article that “the issue of intergenerational tiffs will become more relevant as the number of people age 55 and older in the workplace continues to grow—from 35.7 million in 2016 to 42.1 million in 2026, according to projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.”[ii]

That’s me – planning to work for a good long time, and with all of you youngsters if possible.

Recently I met with a college friend and we caught up. I was fascinated with her position at one of the best companies in town where she manages the SEO/Marketing Division. I had a lot of questions for her and she is so sharp! I would not want to do what she does, or she what I do, I suspect, but I sure did enjoy our conversation and I learned a lot.

In Rouvallis’ article, she quotes Scott Warrick, a Columbus, Ohio-based employment attorney and author ofSolve Employee Problems Before They Start (SHRM, 2019); “as part of his conflict resolution training, Warrick encourages people of different generations who clash at work to talk out disagreements and be empathetic listeners by putting themselves in the other person’s position. “If I am 69 and I’m in conflict with someone in Generation Z or Generation Y, I have to first understand them and (stet) be understood,” he explained.

That is exactly right.

After all, we are all working for the company. So, if we all try to do what is best for the company, which is probably not squabbling about our perceptions of each other, then I think it’s easier to keep our minds open to the possibilities.

As I said above, what I have learned and continue to use in my day-do-day work experiences is that if I don’t understand why somebody else suggests or says “x,” regardless of their age or experience, I need to ask. As I understand what they’re saying it gives me the opportunity to be recognized for my experience and to use it to advantage.

Those of us who are older need to take responsibility to try and bridge that gap. It’s not that I am trying to “take it easy,” on anybody who is younger, but I do have a lot more practice communicating (at least twice as much), working from a variety of power or non-power positions, with different levels of influence and clout. In the best of all worlds I hope that my fellow workers learn as much from me as I do from them.

If any of us “boomers” are expecting things to be the same as they were when we were 20 or 30, we are not considering our environment and that will eventually be a job-ending perspective.

So, if you are like me and are older, then I hope you will go back to work after reading this feeling like maybe you can look at things from another vantage point and benefit more from your fellow workers, regardless of their age and/or experience.

[i] How to Manage Intergenerational Conflict in the Workplace, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), by Arlene S. Hirsh, February 5, 2020 (Article)

[ii] ‘OK Boomer’ and ‘Lazy Millennial’ Shouldn’t Be Ignored, SHRM, by Christina Rouvallis, February 11, 2020 (Article)

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Employee Benefits and You; For a fruitful conversation with your employer – understanding their perspective on benefits.

by Sarah Wayland, Women’s Employment Advocacy (.com)
February 12, 2020

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Research & Surveys article[i] the possible 2019 benefits (more than 250) offered by employers were categorized and prioritized as follows:

  1. Healthcare and Health Services
  2. Investment and Retirement
  3. Leave and Flexible Working
  4. Family-Friendly and Wellness
  5. Programs and Services

Here’s the big news for workers – employers were more likely to increase the benefits they offer than to decrease them.

As a worker, I encourage you to ask your employer for what you need – even if they don’t provide it yet. You can get your work friends to ask, too, and the more requests they get for catastrophic health insurance in hourly wage positions such as fast-food, for instance, the more likely they are to offer such a benefit.

Full-coverage health insurance increases payroll costs 30%, according to ADP.[ii] That is why many hourly workers have no health insurance. Catastrophic health insurance may be possible. It does cost drastically less, and at least you have some coverage.

Much of the employee retention benefits talk last year and already this year is about how to help employees repay student loans[iii].

I know two of my children graduated with more than $80,000 in debt, each.

One was unable to secure a position that really worked for him for a few years and, after working with the student loan people as much as possible, finally defaulted as they expected him to pay $1,000 a month. He bought insulin instead and we thought that was a good decision, so his father and I interceded. Meanwhile, he has managed to land a job at Apple, which he really enjoys. This also affords him the ability to pay more toward his student loan debt than he has since graduation.

The other graduated with his Masters’ degree and has been teaching ever since, so he is working on paying those student loans as quickly as possible.

As a worker, I like to know what the company can expect to gain (or not lose) in return for the benefit I would like them to provide. For instance, in O’Connell’s SHRM article[iv] he addresses a variety of reasons why developing a student-loan repayment program, although expensive, may be worth the effort.

He points out that the downsides to how student loan debt may affect you, as a worker, aren’t necessarily obvious. It stands to reason, then, that it may also be unclear to the company how much it is costing them.

According to O’Connell, when an employee has serious concerns about what is going on outside of work, they can get distracted or unfocused. Worry about money can also steer them toward a second job, further affecting their day-to-day performance.

The companies’ goal is to retain employees for several reasons. But I find, and O’Connell’s article supports, that money is always an effective argument. Replacing employees costs employers money.

According to Glassdoor[v], the average company in the United States spends about $4,000 to hire a new employee, taking up to 24 days to fill a position. During those 24 days, is that position “covered” by others, or does the company hire a temporary? Hiring a temporary is a good idea in many situations, and if the budget for that position is $x, the temporary is going to cost extra.

O’Connell’s article also addresses other hidden employment costs.

  • Early turnover of new hires.
  • Deferred productivity for new employees – I always plan on six months, but according to Glassdoor’s article, it can take up to eight months for an employee to become comfortable. This is why many companies have a 6-month probationary period.
  • Each new employee also needs technical and physical setup – possibly new equipment, email, access to the software programs, etc., and that costs time and money.

I did not find what, exactly, “expensive” is in O’Connell’s article, but based on my experience and according to the article, the $4,000 to replace an employee who, say, had to change jobs to make more money in order to manage their student loan debt, is the tip of the iceberg. Much more lies beneath the water line.

In today’s workforce climate, each company wants to hang on to skilled, loyal employees. I hope that this article has provided you with useful information on how you can leverage the companies’ cost to garner your desired benefit. I also hope it has encouraged you to ask in the first place and be proactive. Get your work friends who also want the same thing to be brave and ask as well.

[i] 2019 Employee Benefits; US Employee Benefits in 2019, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) used their 2019 Employee Benefits Survey assessing more than 250 benefits. (Article)

[ii] Calculating the True Cost to Hire Employees, ADP , by Jea Yu (Article

[iii] Young Workers Put Student Loan Aid Near Top of Desired Benefits; Help with loan repayment is valued more than 401(k) contributions, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) June 5, 2019, by Stephen Miller, CEBS. (Article)

[iv] The Business Case for Employee Student Loan Payment, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) January 25, 2020, by Brian O’Connell. (Article)

[v] Calculate Cost per Hire, Glassdoor, July 5, 2019, by Glassdoor Team. (Article)

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Employment Declining: Women, Gig Work and AI

by Sarah Wayland
Women’s Employment Advocacy (.com)

As predicted in my video Q4 2019 Economic Challenge we are beginning to see the job growth slowing as of December 2019, according to NPR’s Scott Horsely in his article Women Now Outnumber Men On U.S. Payrolls dated January 10, 2020.

What I did not expect, though, was that over 50% of jobs are held by women. This is the second time in history we have experienced this and the last was during the Great Depression when “a wave of layoffs hit male workers first, temporarily giving women an edge in the workplace. The period was even dubbed the Mancession,” according to Horsely. However, that didn’t last as women’s jobs went next.

I hadn’t expected to see this phenomenon in my life time, but Horsely says that this unusual situation reflects the long evolution away from men-dominated industries like manufacturing and more toward the service side of the workforce, where women tend to excel.

Gig Work, or Freelancers, are also Affecting Employment Numbers

“The stereotype is a person performing one job for one employer. But that describes only about two-thirds of workers,” says Jonathan Rothwell* of the NY Times in his article Earning Income on the Side Is a Large and Growing Slice of American Life dated December 18, 2019.

His article details a few points that I find interesting when looking at the current employment landscape.

There is clearly a rise in self-employment and has been over the last four decades.

According to Rothwell*, when we are talking about self-employment statistics, the data depends on how the measurement is defined.

In 2017 according to the IRS, 17% of American workers filed returns indicating self-employment earned income. This is not measured as how much time they spent working for themselves or if it is their only form of employment, but just if they earned income.

Jonathan Rothwell*, the NY Times (December 18, 2019)

Rothwell* says that this measurement is different than that of the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), because the information used to collect that data tracks self-employment on what the individual spends the most time doing. Thus, BLS’s 10% self-employment number, compared to 17% from the IRS.

This leads us to the Forbes article titled Dire Predictions For The Job Market In 2020 by Jack Kelly. (I do not recommend reading this article unless you have a strong stomach.)

As the gig economy becomes mainstream, corporations will realize that there is little need to maintain expensive corporate offices, pay benefits and bear the burden of full-time permanent employees. Instead, companies can offer project work for people when they are needed. These contractors can work from home, won’t receive benefits and will save money for the corporations.

Jack Kelly Senior Contributor, Forbes (December 16, 2019)

I’m not saying the sky is falling, I am pointing out that companies are looking to cut anywhere possible and when businesses with payroll have an average of more than 30% (Average Family Premiums Now Top $20,000, Employers Say – Society for Human Resources) of the salary going to benefits, not having to pay that theoretically can save hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of dollars by outsourcing the work to freelancers who are paid on a 1099 as an independent contractor. This also saves on the other perks that are provided to attract talented employees.

I do not see entire corporate parks sitting empty with shrubbery growing up between the cracks never to be used again. I think companies who want to save money will use gig workers as they can, not across the board.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is Here

This freaks me out if I go down the road of how am I going to work for another two decades when I could be replaced by a computer – the visual of me with a dirty face sitting in an orchard with torn gloves chomping on an apple that looks like it’s seen better days – so I decided to look into what it could really mean for those of us who work.

I found a great article in Fortune written August 1, 2019 titled Your Job Will Be Automated-Here’s How to Figure Out when A.I. Could Take Over by Gwen Moran

Moran points out, in brief, that lower-end jobs that have redundant tasks nearly 100% of the time are those that will be, most likely, replaced first. This, unfortunately, is also where many women find their work, according to Horsely.

While the prediction is that over time many jobs will change with AI, I found the following statement to be particularly poignant.

Chui and his team estimate that roughly six out of 10 jobs are made up of 30% or more tasks that can be automated. CEOs, financial advisors, insurance agents, and others all fall into this category.

Michael Chui, Ph.D., a partner at McKinsey Global Institute (MGI)
Fortune article

The good news is that while perhaps 30% of any job is up for grabs Dr. Chui has isolated several main areas where AI could replace the worker – physical work, data processing and data automation. There are other areas in which automation is not such an easy task – such as unpredictable physical work, interactions with stakeholders, applying expertise and managing others.

Moran also points out that “automation develops and is adopted slowly, but comes on fast once it’s hit the mainstream.” Dr. Chui says that they “model it out as eight to 28 years.”

Barriers to automation include the high cost of new technology, even after it’s proven effective and a plan is in place. Here is a great example – replacing truck drivers with AI.

“People worry about two million truck drivers in the U.S.,” Chui says. Even if the technology was ready to deploy and there was a positive business case for them, he estimates it would cost hundreds of billions of dollars to replace every truck in the U.S. That kind of cost is a big barrier.

Gwen Moran, Fortune (August 1, 2019)

Dr. Chui also points out that there is resistance to change. While automating truck drivers may be a great idea, many people are not “comfortable with the thought of vehicles without drivers barreling down the road at 70 miles per hour,” says Dr. Chui.

Now I feel even better about my job probably not being automated any time soon.

The last thing that Dr. Chui recommends is to look for partial automation, where many AI intrusions will most likely start.


This brings me back around to where we started at the top. There is certainly contradicting information in the news about how strong or weak our economy is remaining or becoming. What I find is that touting unemployment statistics and construction growth isn’t enough to really see the big picture any longer. People are supplementing their incomes either out of desire (48%, according to Rothwell*), or out of necessity, indicating the widening inequities.

I already see that a phone app has replaced some of the repetitive tasks in my favorite hotel and that sometimes I find an automated bot standing where I had never seen one before to helpfully answer my questions.

My belief is that for a variety of reasons the job market will continue to remain tight:

Because as society ages and is living longer so stays employed longer, this edges out other job seekers; and as the financial burden of baby boomers and retirees on the younger generations increase they will probably have to pay more and will, therefore, inevitably earn less, according to Kelly.

Paired with the fact that income is ever falling behind the growth of necessities, driving some to use gig work in addition to their regular employment, according to Rothwell*.

Because while women dominated jobs are growing faster than traditionally men dominated positions, many of those are service-based at the lower-end of the job market according to Rothwell*, and; therefore, are more susceptible to the possibility of being replaced by technology, according to Morgan.

Staying aware of what’s happening in the workforce and keeping a pulse on the job market is a must for those of us who wish to flow with the changes and the opportunities that are guaranteed to come.

*Jonathan Rothwell is the author of “A Republic of Equals: A Manifesto for a Just Society,” recently published by Princeton University Press. He is the Principal Economist at Gallup, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a visiting scholar at the George Washington University Institute of Public Policy. You can follow him on Twitter at @jtrothwell, and listen to his podcast, “Out of the Echo Chamber.”

The 2019 Gallup Great Jobs Survey was funded by The Lumina Foundation, the Gates Foundation and Omidyar Network. Data are available on the Gallup website. Results are based on mail surveys conducted Feb. 8 to April 1, 2019, with a random sample of 9,671 adults 18 and older in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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Are Resume’s Still An Applicable Tool?

This is a great article from Undercover Recruiter, one of my go-to’s for up-to-date recruiter information.

Excellent question – Do Recruiters Still Read Resumes? (By Ushma Mistry, January 15, 2020)

I do as do my recruiter friends, but that doesn’t qualify for an appropriate sample. This article quotes 10 professionals from such well-known resources as Glassdoor, Indeed and LinkedIn.

Here are some of my favorite excerpts from the article (see the third one down further) –

Kerri-Ann Hargreaves, Director, H2 Consultancy says, "For me it is a talking point. It helps me to build a profile of you."
Jeff Berger, CEO and Founder, Talent Inc. among other things says, "An estimated 98% of large organizations use software known as an applicant tracking system (ATS) to scan resumes and eliminate the least-qualified candidates for a role. On average, these 'bots' reject 75% of resumes before the recruiter sees them. Writing an effective resume has become both an art and a science; to be successful, your resume must be carefully constructed to sail through this screening technology and entice recruiters once it reaches their inboxes."

Wow, okay. Here is the meat of the matter.

Resumes today go through the ATS (Applicant Tracking System) that 98% (so, all large organizations) use to cull out 75% of resumes before it even hits somebody’s e-desk. You have a 25% chance of getting your resume through to the initial decision maker. That doesn’t mean it even gets past them to the ultimate decision maker.

I suggest that as ATS’s get more flexible, more mid-size companies are getting on board using this technology. It can be daunting when 100 people on average apply for each position you have open. I would use the software, too.

Writing an effective resume has become both an art and a science; to be successful, your resume must be carefully constructed.

Jeff Berger, CEO and Founder, Talent Inc. (pulled from the above quote)

This is why I provide DIY eBooks and videos on How to Write an Effective Resume.

According to these professionals this is ultimately a yes and no answer. Recruiters all use resumes to one degree or another in conjunction with social media.

Alan Leung, Lead Talent Aquisition Advisor, HCSS puts it succinctly "Yes, it's just that the resume has transformed to also include an online portfolio (i.e., LinkedIn, Github, etc.) highlighting your work."

This is also why I provide DIY eBooks and videos on How to Leverage your Social Media.

I do not expect most individuals to know how to carefully construct such a resume! That’s where professionals such as myself come in.

Scenario – You are not working and you have six months to find the right job for yourself while you try to pay your bills on unemployment. Perhaps you have some savings. I don’t know about you, but the benefit seemed to barely cover the necessities.

When you have a successful resume, six months is an average cycle in my experience for landing a replacement position depending on other factors like type of work you are seeking, experience, etc. Should you invest money that you might not really have right now on a resume writer, talent agency, career consultant, or even a DIY product such as Women’s Employment Advocacy (.com) provides?


You get to work faster which costs you less in the long-run, generally you do not have to work as hard and have more support so it’s less difficult. It is not a risk, it is an investment.

As far as I’m concerned, you are worth investing in, aren’t you?

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Happy Workers According to Indeed

Sarah Wayland – Women’s Employment Advocacy (.com)
Link to Article

This time of year is fun because my favorite resources come out with their annual employment articles with 2019 data and what to expect from 2020. The best jobs, how to utilize your LinkedIn account, updated resume tips and so much more.

Indeed just released their list of the Top Rewarding Careers compiled from 2019 data.

“These jobs (are) ranked for strong workplace relationships, employer support and positive working conditions. While these are only a few of the elements that can contribute to job satisfaction, you should take some time to identify your own core values and what makes you feel fulfilled at work.”[1]

Indeed “12 Jobs with High Job SatisfactionIndeed Career Guide January 2020

You can use Women’s Employment Advocacy’s free two-step questionnaire to refresh or determine your core values. I recommend re-examining this periodically as it does change with experience.

One of the things I really like about this article is that it has jobs across the spectrum of pay, educational requirements and skills.

Here is a recap of what Indeed lists as the top rewarding careers –

  1. Flight Attendant – national average salary is $15.96/hour
  2. Library Technician – national average salary is $16.20/hour
  3. Welder – national average salary is $17.72/hour
  4. Probation Officer – national average salary is $44,345/year
  5. Electrical Engineer Technician – national average salary is $23.11/hour
  6. Paralegal – national average salary is $50,379
  7. Urban Planner – national average salary is $62,852/year
  8. Registered Nurse – national average salary is $33.53/hour
  9. Mail Carrier – national average salary is $74,593/year
  10. Human Resources Manager – national average salary is $74,719/year
  11. Dental Hygienist – national average salary is $37.80/hour
  12. Physical Therapist – national average salary is $80,383/year

If you want more information from the article, please use one of the links.

In case you want more specific information like the average salary in your neck of the woods, please go to Women’s Employment Advocacy’s free resource guide and scroll to the end – you can find that information through the Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI) and your area’s Employment Office.

Here’s to another great year!

[1] Indeed Career Guide “12 Jobs with High Job Satisfaction Rates.” Indeed Career Guide Jan 2020 Link

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Why you should share your salary

Published by Tim Herrera, The New York Times
Copy of the article below – Published Mon, Nov 18, 2019 02:02AM EST

*Note – links with (NYT) following require a New York Times subscription. If there is nothing following the link it is going elsewhere.

So how much do you make?

It’s a loaded, deeply personal and often uncomfortable question. And, when we’re asked, what many of us really hear is this: What’s your worth as a person?

“Money is so tied up with really complex and difficult emotions, like shame, success, fear of failure and how people view you,” said Brianna McGurran, a money expert at the personal finance blog NerdWallet. “So when you’re talking about how much you earn, or how much you’re saving, a lot of people end up tying that to their self-worth.”

She added: “Salary is so close to our identity. It’s the core part of all of this.”

That money — along with sex, politics and religion — is a topic best avoided in polite conversation is a cultural concept many of us are raised on (NYT), and taboos around discussing income can be particularly sensitive.

But unlike not disclosing what’s in your savings account or your 401(k), there are direct, concrete consequences for falling victim to salary secrecy, including wage suppression and a lack of transparency around pay inequity, which disproportionately affects women and minorities (NYT).

Yes, it’s O.K. — and perfectly legal — to talk about it

What many workers don’t realize is that it is unlawful for private sector employers to prohibit employees from discussing wages and compensation, and it has been since the National Labor Relations Act (NYT) was passed in 1935. (There are exceptions, including for supervisors, agriculture workers and domestic employees.)

Open discussion of salaries among peers and co-workers, experts said, is a powerful tool to fight pay inequity. Not only does it serve both selfish and altruistic means — it simultaneously puts you and your co-workers in a better position during salary negotiations — but pay transparency can even protect companies by “minimizing the risk of disparate treatment claims and increasing job satisfaction for workers,” said Angela Cornell, the director of the Labor Law Clinic at Cornell Law School.

Still, prohibiting or discouraging workers from openly discussing salaries, whether codified or implicitly built into a company’s culture, is somewhat commonplace in workplaces.

“It’s been the law of the land for many years that employers can’t have policies or practices or discipline employees for discussing wages,” Ms. Cornell said. “But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a common practice.”

Changing tides

In just the past few years, cultural norms and legislation have begun to unravel some of the forces that discourage open salary discussion, sometimes even tilting pay negotiations in favor of employees.

A handful of states (NYT), including California, Connecticut and Massachusetts, have banned employers from asking job candidates for a salary history, which shifts some leveraging power back to candidates. In 2014, President Barack Obama signed an executive order (NYT) “prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who choose to discuss their compensation.” And in some industries, including the news media (NYT), unionization has become a powerful force in fighting for worker wages.

Jill Duffy, a writer, said for years she has been open about sharing her salaries, and that she has been able to use that knowledge to “negotiate raises because of the information I got.”

“I went in feeling confident about my worth and my value and what the company could afford to pay me,” she said.

Other times, Ms. Duffy said, having that information is “just sort of confirming suspicions” that a company can afford to pay more than it currently is.

The best approach: Win-win

Having these conversations is much easier said than done, but there are ways to gain confidence in discussing your salary.

Most important, Ms. McGurran said, is to be open and genuine, framing these conversations as beneficial for everyone involved. She suggests starting with people who are more senior than you, “maybe someone who has helped bring you on, or a previous manager, or someone who you really trust and wants to see you succeed.” This can give you a bigger-picture view of your company’s salaries.

From there, try to approach peers, co-workers or fellow alumni in off-campus, laid-back settings, all while keeping the focus on the salary and not the person.

“Try not to make it about your peer or colleague,” she said. “It’s not about trying to fish around for gossip,” Ms. McGurran said. She added that the websites LinkedIn (NYT), PayScale (NYT) and Salary (NYT) can be good resources to find a baseline. (For even more advice on salary negotiations, read this article.)

Ms. Duffy, the writer, agreed that a win-win approach is the best way to get salaries out in the open.

“When you come at it from that clear sense of, ‘I’m doing this for both of our benefit, I’m not doing this to shame you,’” she said, “people are generally more willing to share.”

Ms. Duffy added, “It’s important to know your own worth.”

How do you approach that conversation? Tell me on Twitter @timherrera.

Have a great week!

— Tim