NorthBridge Blog

There’s been enough bad news on the employment front of late, so here’s a positive sign that echoes what we’ve mentioned before: Chicago is developing into a tech jobs powerhouse, and that’s a view that’s shared among the skilled workers we need to draw here to support future growth.

Chicago #1 Tech HubA new survey found that Chicago is being viewed by tech sector employees as the hottest new market in the country. Respondents were asked which big city housing markets were most poised to be “transformed” by the tech industry, and Chicago beat out Houston, Boston, Denver and Philadelphia for the honors.


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Pat DuganWe’re not telling anybody anything newsworthy when we mention President Donald Trump’s stated objections to illegal immigrants taking jobs on this side of the border.

Whether or not they’re actually stealing those jobs from native Americans—many of whom haven’t shown an interest in being migrant produce pickers or low-wage janitors and maintenance workers—is a question for somebody else to answer.

TrumpBut Trump’s election has definitely resonated with many foreign temp workers who are here legally, working on H-1B visas.


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Pat DuganIf you’re looking for another sign of how Illinois has strugg;ed in terms of job creation lately, you only have to look at the final IDES employment report for 2016.

The unemployment rate in Illinois rose to 5.7% in December, paced by an overall loss of 16,700 nonfarm payroll jobs in that month alone.

No area of the state was immune to the drop, including Chicago, which wasn’t impacted as hard as other areas such as Decatur, Rockford or St. Louis. But the overall trend isn’t rosy for anyone.
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Pat DuganWe love working in downtown Chicago. So do a lot of our clients. So do a lot of our candidates. Unlike a lot of other urban cores, Chicago has a vibrancy, character and sense of life that’s missing in so many other city centers.

McDonalds HQ

Rendering of new McDonald's HQ

The fact that people want to live and work here, and be part of a scene you just don’t find in many other large American cities, has been a point of difference for this town for over 20 or 30 years.

Long before other cities caught on to the benefits of having affluent professionals and white-collar types staying within the city limits, raising families and building a better overall community, Chicago was already swinging it.


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Pat DuganAs we roll into the New Year, there always new trends to keep an eye on as the job market evolves. There will be some new “best practices” for the jobseeker and the human resources professional alike, and job sectors will open up – while others will narrow. Here are just a few of the 5 Trends 2017trends that’ll affect business staffing.

1. Growing transparency in the hiring process

Today’s best candidates aren’t like yesterday’s jobseekers. They expect more transparency and responsiveness from the entire process, just as they expect it from marketers or commerce providers that are part of their digital world. If you’re not upfront about matters like compensation, benefits, company culture and other factors, a lot of the new generation of job seekers simply won’t be interested.


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Photo source: CNN

Photo source: CNN

That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? After 108 years of what felt like futility, the North Siders finally beat the jinx, the curse, the voodoo that had held them back from bringing home a World Series crown.
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Pat DuganWe’ve mentioned repeatedly how Chicago is becoming a real hotbed of opportunity for tech jobs, and this latest survey justifies that judgment. Real estate firm CBRE has been keeping track of who’s renting commercial office space in various nationwide markets, and Chicago has “cracked the top ten,” according to this coverage in Crain’s Chicago Business.

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cubs-sox-logos-together-thumb-500x304-1361011Pat DuganThere’s a lot that unites us, one and all, as Chicagoans. Beyond the Red Line or our definition of pizza.

So as the Cubs look like a team of destiny — an uplifting destiny, not one that’s shaped by terms like “Bartman” or “goat” — wouldn’t it be good if we could come together, Northsiders and Southsiders alike, to celebrate their success?
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Pat DuganWhen you think about autonomous/driverless cars - the kind being worked on by Google, Uber, every car company under the sun and (at least until recently) Apple, you think about the Bay Area as being Ground Zero for all that innovation.

Surprisingly, Chicago is also a hot spot for driverless car development, and for job openings that occur because of it. Not Austin, or Detroit: Chicago was in second place behind the Bay Area in terms of new job listings, according to a USA TODAY story that cited data from website Paysa.Automomous Tech Jobs

Cambridge, MA was in third place, with 27 openings; Michigan accounted for only 15 jobs, spread across three cities.


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Pat DuganCare to take a guess? There are a lot of good jobs in the region, especially in the Chicago area, so it’s not that easy. But if you said any of them were in the medical professions, you’d be right on track.

In fact, all five of the jobs at the top of the list (prepared by career site Zippia using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security) are in medicine!
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Pat DuganSome of us here at North Bridge are South Siders at heart, so it pains us to acknowledge competence anywhere around the intersection of Clark and Addison. If you’re not from Chicago, find a Chicagoan and ask them what that means. If you’re from around here, there’s no explanation necessary.

But as staffing and recruiting professionals, we always have to admire when an organization gets it right. Hiring Theo Epstein to be the man in charge of the Chicago Cubs turned out to be exactly the perfect move for that franchise.

Source: Wikipedia.org


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Pat DuganThere are changes on the way in the workplace, and they’ll impact all of us — from candidates to hiring managers alike, in a wide range of segments. And, as you might expect, a lot of those jobs are being driven by technology.

So what are some of the changes we’re going to see over the next few years?

1. The rise of customer service & sales automation: It’s estimated by the technology analysts at the Gartner Group that by 2020, 85% of a customer’s interactions with a company will be automated, as artificial intelligence platforms take over sales and customer service functions presently being handled by us messy, inefficient and expensive human beings.

What’s that mean for us today? If you’re interested in a career in these areas, you’d better do your research to make sure there’ll still be the opportunities you seek in those segments.

6 Ways Tomorrow's JobsNot every company is going to automate immediately, of course. But as the Cloud-based platforms that provide marketing and customer service automation become more prevalent — and universally affordable — they’ll be adopted by more and more companies.


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