NorthBridge Blog

Pat DuganAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 3,976,800 workers classified as secretaries and administrative assistants in 2014 (the most recent year for which they’ve posted figures). We’re on course for 4,095,600 people in those jobs by 2024. That’s a steady, if not spectacular, growth rate of 3% a year – but growth nevertheless.

We’ve helped companies hire a lot of secretarial and administrative workers over the years, so we’ve picked up a few tips on how to make a good hire for an admin role. Even though some might say, “Hey, it’s just an admin job – that’s not quite a make-or-break hire for my business, you know?”Chart

Our observation? A great hire is a great hire, regardless of the position, and they’ll help you in ways that go far beyond the job description. A bad hire? That’ll cause damage or costs that make a hiring manager regret not doing their due diligence in the first place.
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Pat DuganWe’ve mentioned it before, but yet another study now confirms that Chicago is a leading jobs creation hub when it comes to technology positions.

The Brookings Institution has verified that we ranked ninth among the U.S. metro areas demonstrating the greatest increase in tech jobs between 2013 and 2015. Chicago added about 10,000 jobs over that span.

It translated into a growth rate of 5.8% a year for Chicago, which put it in the same bracket as New York and Portland, though still not as fast a growth rate as seen in Austin (16.1%) or even Indianapolis (13.9%). San Francisco and San Jose, naturally, kept up a strong pace, growing 12% over those two years.

Digital jobs cluster in the top 10 metro areas nationwide, according to the report, accounting for 46% of those jobs. In 2015, Chicago had 94,000 digital services jobs, while the U.S. had 2,782,000 digital positions in all.


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Pat DuganFrankly, there can never be enough support given to our military veterans as they adjust to civilian life, try to launch careers, and are otherwise rewarded with the same kind of opportunities so many of the rest of us take for granted.

That’s why this program, Code Platoon, needs to be recognized for the good work it’s doing on behalf of those vets in the Chicagoland area.

Intended exclusively for vets, the program is an accelerated curriculum that teaches the basics of the Ruby full-stack programming language over the course of 20 weeks of combined remote and in-person training. As a code “boot camp,” it immerses students who have very little or no tech background in both instruction and actual programming, and also supplies them with job counseling, interview prep and employer matching.

technology-1283624_640It’s a necessarily initiative, because post-9/11 veterans find it harder than other jobseekers to land full-time work.
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Pat DuganWe’ve previously posted about the move downtown by McDonald’s and other companies who have re-located to urban sites after decades in the suburbs. That’s not only true in our area, but it’s a trend that’s taking hold across the rest of the Midwest, too.

Jobs Following TalentIn Cleveland, there’s an increase in the use of old building for new business ventures and move-ins, plus new construction. The fact that the Cavaliers and Indians had great seasons, and the RNC came to town, have helped invigorate the downtown vibe there.


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Pat DuganIf it seems to you like there are more cranes dotting the skyline, more condos and apartment complexes under development than you can keep track of, you’re absolutely right. There’s a nation-leading construction boom underway across Chicago and its surrounding suburbs that represents a powerful turnaround. Building Boom

In December alone, according to figures from research firm Dodge Data & Analytics, Chicagoland saw more than $452 million in total residential construction spending. Taken year-to-date, the total was $7.230 billion, a 46% jump that was the best VTD growth of any metro area in the U.S.A.
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Pat DuganChicago’s unemployment rate has steadied out at around 5.8%, down from 6.4% just a couple of years ago. That’s good news for the overall regional economy, though the problems downstate and other endemic difficulties in the Illinois economy are still with us.

But for some companies, it’s made it tougher to find and hire the kind of skilled workers or specialists they need to fill certain roles. Just a few examples of that?
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Pat DuganWe can sincerely say we work hard at North Bridge at being good partners for both our clients and our candidates, each and every day. That’s not too hard to do when you’re enthusiastic about the business you’re in. And when you know there’s a right way and a wrong way to conduct yourself as you try to connect the right people with the right positions.

7 Signs Quality RecruiterBut there are obviously going to be some people who play fast-and-loose with the rules, don’t play it straight with candidates, or don’t particularly care if they’re trying to shove square pegs into round holes when it comes to filling a client’s open positions.

If you’re a jobseeker, how can you tell – or maybe it’s better to say, smell – the difference between a good recruiter and a bad one? Here’s a list of seven qualities pretty common to good and great recruiters. Keep them in mind: if you ever come across a recruiter who doesn’t follow these tenets, find another one to help you out. Never forget that when you’re making your next career move, you deserve the attention of a true professional.
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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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