Posted on: January 11th, 2022 by
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Usually during the months of November and December employment goes up given the need for seasonal or part-time workers.  This year the opposite has happened.  In November 4.5 million people left their jobs.  In October, the number was 4.4 million resignations.  What’s happening?  There is a war for talent.


A lot of the turnover is occurring at the lower end of the pay scale.  Higher level jobs are available and companies are raising pay and incentives significantly to entice workers, and will train them in basic skills.  Opportunities are being offered for employees to quit their lower paying jobs for more stability, pay, flexible hours and much better benefits than their old, lower-level jobs.


Another phenomenon is the move from the big cities to the suburbs or rural areas.  This is caused by the move to remote work with those who can earn a good living while working from their home.  Also, the current low interest rates and low inventories for housing.  The surge in home sales has driven the prices of housing up dramatically, in some areas over 50%.  Why?  The home is not only the place where the family resides, eats and sleeps, but now it’s also the place where people work, children go to school (remotely), and provides recreation (notice the increase of home exercise products, streaming options, and games available along with their company stock).


The nature of work has changed in a fundamental way.  The impact of the pandemic has changed the way we look at our work versus life balance and our potential value in the marketplace.  It has also changed from a company driven workplace to an employee driven workplace:  Employees want to work remotely, ask for higher pay, not to commute to an office, want a more friendly environment, and so on.


So, what are the potential implications and guesses of future events?  Here are a few:

  • The housing bubble will come down as fast as it went up. Buy if you have to, but you may have to wait 5 or more years for the housing values to come back to your original cost.  Remember the 2008 to 2012 housing cycle?
  • If you’re being trained in a new technology, make sure you keep pace. Once the marketplace stabilizes, those with new skills and poor performance will be purged.
  • While remote work will continue in some functions and sectors, the number of remote jobs will decrease. Large offices will give way to smaller units outside of the big cities where a high level of technology is available
  • Expectations will change once workers start to come back to an office environment. It will be a difficult adjustment.  A lot will depend upon children going back to the classroom.  If the classroom remains closed, but employers demand workers return to the office, a major conflict will occur with the working family in the middle.


Make your decisions about the next 2 years carefully. The road is not a straight one.


For a FREE critique of your resume, send to: wkaufmann44@gmail.com


Posted on: January 4th, 2022 by
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Say you get an offer that is 15% higher than your present pay.  Should you take it?  The answer can be either yes or no depending upon the total value of the offer versus the total value of your current position and geographical cost comparisons.  Let me explain.


Discounting all other factors like relocation cost, family issues, and a new job fit, there are other factors to consider.  Here are a few:

  • Geographical comparisons – There’s a big difference between working in Yazoo City, Mississippi then moving to New York City. But what about moving from Zanesville, Ohio to Winslow, Arizona?  Use Payscale.com for pay comparisons between cities.  You’ll be amazed at the results:  Home/apartment, food, gas, utility and clothing costs all add up differently in different locations.
  • The value of your benefits – Healthcare costs are vastly different by organization. Some ask you to contribute 15% to 50% of the cost. Some will match your 401K contributions up to 6% of your salary, while other companies don’t have a 401K.  The value of your total benefits can be anywhere between 25% or 40% of your total compensation.  What about dental and eye care?  How long do you have to wait to be vested?  If you plan to leave in 3 years, you may lose the company contributions.  Read the fine print.
  • Incentive compensation programs – How much is the potential range of payouts? Are the objectives to payout reasonable?  Is a bonus tied to measurable goals or subjective assessments by your boss?  What has been the past history?  There’s a big difference between an incentive plan for a company that is growing incrementally at 2% a year and one that doubles its revenue every 2 years.  Companies in trouble or missing quarterly earnings usually can’t pay out incentives.
  • Stock options – Usually stock options are for the decision makers. Some companies give stock options to middle management, while others (especially start- ups that need talent but can’t afford big benefit plans) provide stock plans for employees to “buy in” to the stock of the company.  Check out the programs and plans of a company before accepting a job offer.  Again, read the fine print.
  • Other considerations – There are a number of smaller factors where any one of them may be important: Opportunity for remote work; training/development prospects; daycare; eldercare; counseling; financial coaching; legal assistance; gym member; wellness counseling; life and disability insurance; courses for certification; tuition reimbursement; educational assistance; parental, bereavement or family leave or paid time off.  While you can’t predict what you will need in the future, these benefits give you the support you need when you need them.


The point of this article is to show you the difference between pay and total compensation.  Some factors will decrease your total compensation (like moving to a high-cost city from a rural area), while others will increase your total compensation (a generous 401K contribution from your employer). Do your homework and come out ahead.


For a FREE resume critique, send it to: wkaufmann44@gmail.com


Posted on: December 29th, 2021 by
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Insightful surveys are being conducted about the causes of job changes and what companies can do to retain high performers.  One such survey was conducted by Explorance of U.S. full and part-time employees.  They are looking at the undercurrent drivers behind the surge of employee departures.


The usual causes of turnover are low pay, a hostile work place, Covid-related issues, a lack of training, no career opportunities, and overbearing bosses.  Beneath it all is a lack of knowledge on the part of management about the core issues causing discontent.  The usual surveys that ask yes or no or multiple-choice questions do not show the root causes.  As a result, feedback comes in the form of percentages as to how many “voted” one way or another.  What the feedback does not address is the “why”.


There are two reasons why the feedback is not as helpful as it can be.  There needs to be open question like, “What do you see as impediments to your becoming a better performer?”.  The Explorance survey turned up three findings:

  1. Employees want to provide feedback. 78% said they want to be surveyed. 50% said they received no surveys from employers in the past year, when a great deal of disruption has occurred due to the pandemic.
  2. 45% of respondents and 40% of managers don’t believe their feedback leads to meaningful change. This leads to 41% of respondents and 53% of Millennials are looking for a new job.
  3. Employers lack the tools to analyze the data to drive change. 98% of respondents say they always, usually, or sometimes provide responses to open-ended questions.


Responses to open-ended questions have the greatest potential to uncover key insights about employee concerns.  It can also demonstrate that management is listening and taking action.


An example:  As a consultant to a manufacturing company of a major brand, our strategy was to get open-ended questions screened immediately.  Then identify one issue that can be corrected in a visible way.  Later, provide the feedback on all the questions with action steps.


One issue that surfaced was a women’s bathroom with broken mirrors, toilets that didn’t work, a lack of paper towels, and unusable sinks.  Two days after the survey, the President of the company walked through the manufacturing plant (which caused a stir among the employees), went directly to the lady’s bathroom, went in (after clearing the deck), spent 5 minutes (which increased the employee stir), came out and said he was very upset and unaware of these conditions and thanked the employees for bringing this issue to his attention.  15 minutes later a crew was sent in to fix everything.


The ripple effect among employees was palpable.  A week later feedback sessions were held with an open Q&A session.  Issues were discussed along with pre-defined action plans. This is just one instance where management carefully crafted a strategy to respond to a survey before the survey was even given.  Smart management will win every time.


For a FREE critique of your resume, send to: wkaufmann44@gmail.com


Posted on: December 21st, 2021 by
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Is it a good or bad time to ask for a raise?  It depends upon some dynamics within the organization for which you work.  Answer some basic questions for your answer:


Is your company accelerating revenue and profit?  Are there many open positions that the company is finding hard to fill?  Are new employees being hired at inflated pay just to get them on board?  Are they receiving hiring bonuses?  Is your function at the core of the business?  Is your performance better than average?  Are you at the bottom or top of the salary range?  If you’re below the mid-point of the range your chances are better for a raise than if you’re near the top of the range.  These are the kinds of questions that suggest your chances of asking for and getting a pay raise, if not a promotion, are very good.


The reverse is also true if your company is not growing or producing increased profits.  Are employees around you leaving or is there a staff cut rumor?  Is turnover becoming a problem?  Are you asked to work more hours or is the pressure to produce more becoming a habit?  Are your competitors hiring while your company is remaining static?  If your company is publicly held, is the stock price up, down or the same as a year ago?  These are the kinds of questions that suggest you may want to test the market.  The marketplace will tell you a lot about your function and the demand for your expertise.


Here are some other questions that will help answer the question about a raise or promotion:

  • Are you getting calls from recruiters? Are the opportunities equal to or better than your current job?  Are there promotional opportunities?  Is the job 20% to 30% higher than your current pay?  Are the jobs in the same industry (easier transition) or different industry (more difficult)
  • The economy is surging, but not for everyone. Are your skills in high demand?  Can you leverage your experiences in a way that a company can see your potential contribution?  Have you upgraded your skills through on-line courses or a new certification?
  • Do you enjoy your work and the people around you? Are you comfortable and learning new skills and experiences through your boss?  Is the culture of the organization compatible with your style?  Are you getting the training you need to improve performance or the development you need to assume more responsibilities?
  • Test the market by researching similar jobs in comparable companies through website boards to give you an idea of your compensation range. It will provide you with information as to where you are in relation to your function, industry, company and competitive position.
  • Determine how to differentiate yourself from others. What do you have to offer a company that few others can claim?  Skills?  Experience?  Measurable results?  Education?


Now is the perfect time to evaluate your future direction.  The marketplace is hot for talent.


For a FREE resume critique, send to: wkaufmann44@gmail.com


Posted on: December 18th, 2021 by
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Short-term inflation is currently running over 6%.  Wage gains, on the other hand, is running an average of 3.2% for 2021 and projected to be an average of 4% for 2022.  High performers can expect a higher wage gain, but probably not much more than 6%, equal to this year’s inflation rate.  So, what do you do?


Some facts and projections:

  • Prices for food and many others goods are rising equal to 1962’s highest rate of inflation
  • The supply chain is expected to unwind in 2022 leaving a problem the first half of the year
  • Productivity (how well we perform on the job) is down by 5.2% in the third quarter of 2021
  • That is the largest decline in productivity since 2Q of 1960
  • Labor costs have gone up by 9.6% due to inflation
  • In a recent survey, 76% said inflation was the biggest problem over unemployment (21%)
  • Weak productivity and rising costs are a problem for you and me


While the stock market has shown brilliant resiliency, it can’t last too much longer without a rebalancing of some fundamental concerns, like inflation, productivity and company earnings.  These factors are more important now than unemployment.  Why?  Because when inflation begins to hurt individuals enough, they move from the unemployment line to a job, or if employed, they will seek a higher paying job or ask for a bigger raise in their pay, or move.


Some actions to consider:


Prepare yourself with multiple options:

  • Check the marketplace for similar functions and also jobs one level up, as in a promotion
  • Find out the value of your job by comparing it to others in the same and different industries
  • If you’re underpaid in your current job, document your measurable results over the past two years and talk with your manager about a raise or promotion.
  • Check out what other companies are paying for a similar function. Is it the same or better?
  • The best job would be a promotion in your own company. Second best: With a competitor.
  • Why a competitor?  You understand the industry and don’t need a lot of training for value
  • A nice raise with your current company would take third place. However, if you get a 10% raise with your current company, but another company would pay 20% or 30% for your skills and experiences, a family discussion will give you the answer you need.
  • A word of caution: When considering a move, always look at “total compensation” rather than just “annual pay”.  Your annual pay may be $75,000, with total compensation of $85,000, but with another company total compensation could be $100,000.  The difference is in the cost of benefits to you, the 401K match, a  year-end bonus, commuting costs (remote or office?), promotional opportunities, training, and others.


Now is a very opportunistic time for you to assess and plan your career moves.  Whenever the marketplace is in a state of turmoil like now, the resourceful individual will move ahead.


For a FREE critique of your resume, send to:   wkaufmann44@gmail.com

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