Jobs will be Created

We at Berman Larson Kane ( are excited about job creation for 2005.

Well the January job numbers were disappointing with only 150,000 being created. Manufacturing continues to lose jobs with a small increase in the service sector. Unemployment numbers edged lower, but the reason for lower numbers is an increase in discouraged job-seekers that are not counted in the UE figures. So for my interpretation of the big employment picture all remains about the same.

However, I did see a bright light that was over looked by many economists. The rate of productivity growth decreased to its lowest level in several years. The meaning of low productivity growth translates into rapid job creation.

Let me try to explain. We all know that the economy has done well during the past 24 months. But unemployment has remained high and job creation numbers remained negative to slightly positive. My simple reason is that for each percentage increase in worker productivity numbers translates into unemployment remaining a percentage higher because companies are producing goods at lower personnel costs. Or increases in goods are achieved with fewer workers, good for the profit of corporations but not good for job growth.

The fact that maybe productivity gains have peaked, will translate into very rapid hiring because the only way for companies to produce additional goods will be to hire additional personnel. And this will make the unemployed happy, will make us here at BLK delirious and will create competition for good employee’s, which will increase salaries. All good things for the country and long term for the hiring corporations!

We here at Berman Larson Kane ( looking forward to a good year.

Dual Free Wills and the Hiring Process

Here at Berman Larson Kane ( issue of “free will” is always present, as this toaster purchase so profoundly illustrates.

Visualize going to an appliance store and purchasing a simple low-tech toaster. You review the models, colors, features, warranties, and prices and make your selection. Now imagine the toaster having the ability to “review” YOU. What color is your kitchen? How many slices of toast will I be making each day, week, and month? Do you have plans to upgrade your kitchen in the near future? If you remodel, what assurance do I have of fitting in with the new décor? How many vacations will your family take? (So I can plan my non-toasting rest.) How often do you replace or rotate your appliances? Will you be cleaning my crumb trap regularly? What are your expectations of my toasting speed?

Well, as you can see, if a toaster had a free will, this simple purchase would become a very complicated, free-wheeling exchange. Each party – the purchaser and the toaster – has a free will, each has its own agenda, and each is looking out for its own best interest. Any answer that is not satisfactory to either party will negate the exchange. The possibilities of this purchase taking place are diminished with each question.

Now, take this toaster’s free will a step further, and imagine the toaster having legs, giving it the ability to leave your kitchen for any reason. When it arrives at your counter it decides that your kitchen’s color doesn’t compliment its own, so after two days the toaster leaves and returns to the store and awaits another buyer. Or worse, after 88 days of adjusting to its workings, the toaster decides that your microwave is unfriendly and departs. Even more insulting, the toaster runs off to your neighbor’s falsely perceived clean white kitchen, believing you neighbor only makes toast on Sundays, and leaving you with UN-toasted bagels.

Well, I am sure by now you get the point. Replace the toaster with “job-seeker” and the purchaser with “employer” and you can envision the complications of the hiring process. Or you can replace toaster with “employer” and purchaser with “job-seeker”.

Employers and job seekers should never lose sight that this free-will exchange is a continuous challenge to both parties during and after the hiring process.

At the very least, it continues to make the staffing business so fascinating to me. Even after 28 years of attempting to facilitate these freewheeling exchanges here at Berman Larson Kane (, I am always surprised by some new unique spin. Such is life as a recruiter.

2005 January Jobs a Rolling

Three workdays into the year, will job growth increase in 2005? We at BLK ( are feeling positive vibes from our clients.

Today, one client whom will be adding 50 plus additions to staff during the first quarter, place and order for 5 direct hires and one temporary consultant. The temporary assignment is for a HR recruiter to assist the client with additional hires making for good news on this horizon. Another NYC based client called for a proposal to staff 3 information technology positions to develop the automation of new business lines. Additionally ordering a temporary person to coordinate these projects. Another NJ pharma hired a temporary long term BLK contractor to assist with technical staffing and has our HR team on the lookout for two more. These clients are starting the year helping to lower our unemployment numbers. All being signs that employment should be increasing for the first two quarters and hopefully beyond.

During the month of December many clients had promised an increase in hiring, and these early orders are signs that they will be following through on these promises. Our BLK January newsletter’s lead article will address the increasing value of employees to employers as competition for talent re-emerges after 4 years of high unemployment. This should be great news for the job seekers.

One observation that is making this year different than other here at BLK is a increasing percentage of these hiring demands are coming from employers with less that 500 employees. Small business has always been an engine for new positions, but from my observations during the most recent 6 months they are beginning to run on all cylinders, surpassing the fortunes in momentum and career opportunity.

New Jobs, New Careers & the New Year

From my staffing hat perspective 2004 was a better year then the prior three years. The economy had some positive job growth. Wages for contractors, consultants and temporaries stabilized with some even increasing. The number of clients requesting our BLK ( ) to fill direct hire jobs grew and our “Tier” program experienced another year of exponential growth. We at BLK are still not at levels of past years but are moving rapidly towards our previous highs.

But still with all of this positive news unemployment remains too high, qualified job seekers remain under and unemployed. High competition for job seekers continues for many skill sets. While wars for talent exist in a few niche markets like nursing, scientific and regulatory. The job-outsourcing model seeks its level of optimal efficiency along with the off-shoring phenomena. Giving mix signals to both employers and job seekers.

As president of BLK my prediction for 2005 is for a continuing march towards improving job growth. The economy will continue to create new and better jobs as the dollar weakens and our USA products become more competitive around the globe. Many of our clients have or are reaching peak worker productivity numbers and will need to add to head count to continue to grow sales. All of these signs point to a return to excellent job creation.

As for my predictions for the next decade they are extremely positive. During the next 10 years the oldest members of the baby-boom generation will reach retirement age. This retirement trend will gut the ranks of managers and skilled workers leaving a gap to be filled by a new generation. Many have predicted that we do not have enough “generators” of any letter to replace these workers. For example, I recently read an article that a high percentage of librarians are close to retirement age. The art of being a librarian is only being taught in a few schools and the future holds an extreme shortage of librarians. Will GOOGLE replace this art?….I think not… time you visit your local library take a close look around….the next book you are searching for may never be found, if we don’t start making adjustments…..we will experience this in many other occupations and this my friends is the best news for our new college graduates…..who can be assured that they will have many choices beyond “McJobs”.

Corporate Gifts and the Holidays

My desk is covered today with an assortment of food items. Gift boxes of goodies coming from a variety of vendors from whom we at BLK ( purchase products and services. It’s very nice to be thought of during this holiday season, and these small tokens of thanks are nice warm gestures.

As I open the gifts each day (before they are devoured quickly by BLK staff) and the cards that accompany them I feel a twinge of ungratefulness. Why am I ungrateful for being fed by people and companies that we do business with? Many of these vendors have added no personal touch. I am left with feelings that BLK is just one more customer on their list. The gifts reflect this lack of personalization. Omaha Steaks (I am a vegetarian), selection of nuts (allergies not considered) gourmet chocolate (diet out the window) wine (one day at a time?) cookies (diabetic?) fruit basket (the safest bet).

Not one vendor called ahead to thank me for the business, personalize the note or better yet stop by our office to offer their tokens of thanks. An accompanied telephone call of “thanks” or better yet a “visit” to our office would mean so much more. For along with the thanks, would come a discussion on our needs for the future. This celebrated moment would be and opportunity to learn of our experiences with these services. And most important a moment for these vendors to “personalize” their thanks. And myself the customer will at least have the “illusion” of being an important client.

I will send all of these vendors personalized notes and calls of thanks. But secretly I hope for voice mail keeping this masquerade alive.

Holidays and Spirited Worker’s Productivity

The holidays are upon us, with excitement for all. Warm wishes, good cheer, a gift of thanks, toasts to the New Year and worker distractions championing productivity lows is all around us. We at BLK ( are working very hard to overcome these distractions.

I feel like a “scrooge”, no maybe I am a scrooge, because getting the happily employed to expedite the perils of the unemployed sometimes feels like crashing a party with gloomy news. What I mean is those who have jobs, especially corporate recruiters, have the empowerment to make an unemployed or underemployed person’s holiday season go from one of doom and gloom to one of high hope and excitement.

A scene for the movie Kramer vs. Kramer ( depicts this situation perfectly. Dustin Hoffman is desperate for a job because of his upcoming divorce hearing. He arrives at the headhunter’s office to find they are in the mists of a raise your glass holiday party. The recruiter tells Hoffman to return after the New Year and he will schedule his interview. Hoffman in a rage picks up the recruiter’s phone, shoves it in his ear and tells him to dial his client. The recruiter very taken by the hostile situation obliges Hoffman, gets him the interview and Hoffman lands the job before his divorce hearing. He leaves the office happy and in good holiday cheer.

Well I guess my point is that we in the employment field, especially those here at BLK ( should never take for granted the ability our careers have to lend a helping hand to others lives. It is without a doubt the single most important aspect of our jobs in all seasons. So I guess the holidays should be celebrated by all of us with our family and friends, but our office/work time should remain focused on helping make our job-seekers’ holidays the best they ever had. May the HR spirit of the holidays be upon us all.

Today’s “1” Job Numbers

U.S. non-farm payrolls grew by just 112,000 jobs in November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said today, down from October’s 303,000 gain and far short of economists’ consensus forecast. This year, economists’ forecasts have been off by an average of 93,000 jobs per month, but who’s counting? October’s job boom was apparently a mirage, caused by September’s hurricane frenzy, and prior months’ gains were trimmed. So does anyone really know what is going on?

Here at BLK we continue to see a steady stream of new job orders and clients are making hiring decisions in shorter timeframe than in the prior 3 years. So although the economists are disappointed in these job creation numbers, our limited sample at BLK seems to point in a much more optimistic upward trend during November. Orders for December have also been steady across a number of disciplines.

Reality Check: Today at the gym I meet a friend (former Information Technology Manager) who has been unemployed for the past 24 months. We had a conversation about these numbers and his response “I only care about ONE number, and ONE job for me” put this all into a very real perspective. Our leaders need to find a way make all productive by creating systems that generate good jobs for talented people like my gym friend. We at BLK apologize again for another talented person that we can’t match with one of our clients. I pray that someday in the not to distant future we at BLK can at least create the “ONE” job for each of you.

Staffing Process Warranty

We at BLK had a very successful month of November. The common success denominator was process cooperation between the job-seeker, BLK-staff and the hiring-authority. The very essence of this cooperation revolves around the foundation of all relationships “trust”.

The job-seeker trusted the BLK staff to match their career desires with the appropriate hiring-authority. The hiring-authority trusted the BLK staff to identify the right talent. And the BLK staff trusted its internal processes and team to seamlessly orchestrate the match. Sounds simple in theory, but is very complex in execution. All three parties have multiply responsibilities, implied and un-implied warranties and the need for continuous communication. The process can breakdown at any point with a negative impressions and disappointments experienced by all.

I am very interest in leaning from each of you about some of these disappointments. We at BLK work very hard at meeting our hiring-authorities and job-seekers requests. But I know that by the large numbers of visitors to our website that our processes can be improved on, so I look forward to your comments. Thanking you in advance.

A Thankful Week

Maybe the job creation numbers are really getting better as BLK clients placed orders for 17 new assignments this past week. Including an increase in HR and IT direct hire and contract assignments. (Click on “job-search” on our webpage to view openings). This keeps the mood here at BLK very positive as we work hard to match the most qualified job seekers with these employers. Interviews have already taken place this week, with numerous additional interviews schedule for next week. This increase in contingency business combined with an exponential rise from repeat “Tier” clients keeps our short Thanksgiving week busy and thankful.

Our BLK “Tier” program continues to lead the industry in repeat business and has revolutionized our clients pricing & service modular. (If you are reading about this program for the first time call Susan Cocchiaro, CTS, PHR 201-556-2883 for an online demo and she will explain the process). As the president of BLK, I am so proud of the warm reception this “Tier” program continues to receive from hiring authorities. I also never stop giving thanks to the wonderful BLK staff that promotes this “Tier” process with new and established clients. And although this “Tier” process is design for hiring authority convenience; it is the job seeker who ultimately is the beneficiary as they secure new improved employment.

As I look forward to the Thanksgiving week I am optimistic that improved job creation numbers will help those unemployed secure meaningful employment in the not to distant future.

Changing Job Requirements

Today was a good day and a rough day here at BLK If it was a good day for several of you job seekers who secured some new and exciting positions through our BLK staff. If you are a hiring authority you are pleased with the excitement of adding to your human capital with these great talent acquisitions. Both parties are wide eyed with high expectations.

But if you had a challenging day as a job seeker, it is because the hiring authority, change specifications after your successful interview. We had two of these situations develop today.

One client after interviewing several qualified candidates as per their initial skill requirements. Decided to upgrade the position to a more senior level. The net effect of this learning curve is that several days of BLK researcher and recruiter work that was devoted to prescreening these candidates was wasted. And of course the poor job seeker (the ultimate suffer) lost time interviewing, suffered expectation disappointment & return to either a job that is no longer satisfying or worst yet continues in the unemployment ranks.

Another Client decided to put several positions on hold until next year. This again had the same effect of generating job seeker disappointments, BLK wasted effort and in this case disappointment from the hiring authority who really wanted to line up new talent before the start of next year. The good news about this scenario is that the client plans to resume a rapid hiring pace after January 1, 2005

So how do we all prevent these mid-course corrections? We at BLK do everything to help the client qualify the staffing need, suggest a time line for fulfillment and review the availability of talent. And yet still these situations arise. I would be very interested in hearing suggestions from you on how to prevent or minimize these occurrences. Thanks for your patience’s and I look forward to always offering each of you the “Best Staffing Options”