NorthBridge Blog

What to expect in the 2018 job market. Lucky for us, an increase in jobs!

According to Crains, health sciences and information technology sectors see the greatest ten-year increase by 2018. Illinois itself looks at nearly 7 million jobs in the 2018 year. California, Florida, New York, and Texas take the lead just in front of us as we rank 5th in terms of total jobs in 2018.

“The number of health sciences positions are expected to jump 25% during the ten-year period to about 570,000, while jobs in business, management and administration are seen as comprising the largest cluster, representing about 41% of the Illinois workforce.”

Even better news for 2018 graduates: “College graduates, especially, will see a strong boost in their job prospects. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers plan to hire 4 percent more members from the Class of 2018 than from the previous graduating cohort.”

With the New Year kicking off, there are 5 trends to be looking out for throughout the course of the year.

1. Artificial Intelligence is changing the future of work

As you may now notice in a few places you order your food on a kiosk without the help of anyone. Food chains and warehouses are starting to use more automated order pickers. This trend will accelerate this coming year.

2. Modernization of mobile job applications

Companies will begin to create tools that will allow people to apply for jobs though their phone. Apply on the go!

3. Job growth in healthcare, technology, and labor-intensive roles

Essentially positions that don’t make sense to automate will grow.

4. Increased transparency in the application and interview process

“I will keep your resume on file.” This year employers will put more visibility into the application and status of the job in real time. No more waiting and receiving nothing! Let’s hope.

5. Encouraging employee passions through role experimentation

With wanting to support and retain employees, companies will find ways you create more specific jobs outside of the role. In order to do that, these positions will suit their abilities and encourage their passions.

If these trends follow through, we will have to be the judge. New Year, New Job Market. Happy 2018!

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generationsMillennials: The largest living generation, now up against the current generation, Gen Z.  Both generations contain a few similarities, but many differences. “These differences are sure to prompt additional adjustment when it comes to leadership, recruiting, parenting, and marketing.” How will Gen Z rank compared to Millennials in the work force?

Millennials are often described as money spenders all because of the avocado toast phase. If you are unaware, avocado toast is exactly what it sounds like- avocado, on a piece of toast. Have you tried avocado toast? Are you outside of the millennial era? People spend thousands of dollars on coffee every year, what’s the difference.

Millennials also classified as: Thinking it’s cool not to care and being so absorbed in social media that they are socially illiterate. But we are forgetting about all the positives that came from millennials. Millennials are known for being a voice of their own. They may be absorbed in social media, but they are very tech savvy and express themselves through pictures.

“By now, the oldest millennials are 35. They aren’t children anymore – in fact, a majority of them are leaders with decision-making power and direct reports.”

On the other hand Generation Z is, “Growing up in a healthier economy and appear eager to be cut loose. They don’t wait for their parents to teach them things or tell them how to make decisions. Gen Z is already out in the world, curious and driven, investigating how to obtain relevant professional experience before college.” But what does this mean for the work force?

Defined as anyone born after 1995, Generation Z is marked by crisis. 9/11 and two economic recessions. With watching the struggle of the job market, Gen Z is defined to be more careful when it comes to finances. Much like many Millennials, Gen Z has never lived in a world without cell phones, computers, and the internet.

Gen Z is already stepping into entry-level jobs, how will this generation work? Ryan Jenkins, a next generation speaker shares how Generation Z differs from Millennials: more pragmatic, more cautious, more money conscious, more face-to-face, less noticed, more global, more individualistic, more tech dependent, less parented, more early-starts, more disruptive, more multi-tasking, less focused, and more entrepreneurial.

Less focused but more entrepreneurial…how does that work? Alexandra Levit stated, “Even if you’re a small operation, you can still have a Gen Z internship program. These children are so mature and they learn so fast, they might just be ready to take over by the time they’re 22.”

Ryan Jenkins shared the similarities between the two.

-”Both generations are extremely interested in building their personal brand by gaining transferable skills that they cant ake to any job or leverage to become an entrepreneur.”

-”60% of Generation Z wants to have an impact on the world. And 84% of Millennials say making a difference in the world is more important than professional recognition.”

-”The most important workplace factor for Generation Z is opportunity for advancement. The #1 reason Millennials leave organizations is due to lack of career opportunity.”

Do you believe that these are true difference and similarities between the two? Are you a millennial that doesn’t fit into the stereotype? Share your opinion. Ambitious, ready for a change, need a new opportunity, check out our open positions at

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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 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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Pat DuganWe recently wrote about a youth jobs program that’s desperately needed in Chicago, and soon after that the Tribune brought more heat to the topic with this extensive feature story about the challenges of bringing jobs to our city’s young people — and the consequences of failure.

You can wrap those up in one simple quote from the story:

“The two trends are tragically intertwined, where youth unemployment contributes to the incidence of violence, and violence in our communities contributes to many barriers to employment, both because of the violence itself and because of the criminal justice system’s response to that violence,” said Matt Bruce, executive director of the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance.
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Pat DuganIf you follow all the recent stories about the employment scene in Chicagoland and Illinois, you might have gotten a headache.

Who can blame you?

The stories can seem contrary and confusing…

We can attest to the fact there are companies in Chicago looking to hire. The jobs that are at the top of companies’ lists are as diverse as salespeople, industrial psychologists, actuaries, physical therapists, underwriters and computer research scientists. Construction workers are at a premium, especially.

But Chicago and booming segments and technology-driven industries are only one part of the jobs landscape across Illinois. They haven’t been enough to power a recovery that reaches everybody.
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pat_small2015 was a frustrating year for anyone interested in making headway in jobs growth in Illinois. It wasn’t a disastrous year, but it wasn’t the kind of rebound that’s needed to fuel future prosperity.

In fact, the state lost a net 3,000 jobs in 2015, which isn’t anywhere near the dropoffs of the recent recession, but it wasn’t encouraging – and steep losses in manufacturing, to the tune of 14,000 jobs over the course of the year, show how fragile a recovery can be, especially when it’s impacted by factors well outside the state line.

The main culprit? Exports have slowed as China and Europe’s economies have struggled. That’s affected manufacturing jobs, and Illinois has been one of the states to suffer.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Illinois lost an alarming 16,300 payroll jobs in December alone, which rolled back much of the progress the state made over the rest of the year.

Despite being the most populous state in the region, Illinois is still having a tough time bouncing back, even when there’s a relatively strong national economy, and even markets like Detroit are making gains.

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pat_smallDuring Q1, it looks like employers may start hiring again – gradually.  A survey quoted by Crain’s says that 14% of respondents expect to hire from January to March, with 10% anticipating cuts.

Of the companies surveyed in metro Chicago by the temporary-staffing company, 14% say they will hire more employees from January to March, while 10% plan to reduce their payrolls. The number of employers who foresee adding to their headcount is unchanged from the current quarter, while the number planning layoffs declined from 13%. In this year’s first quarter, only 8% of employers expected to increase staff and 16% planned cutbacks.

As far as where those new jobs are coming from, it’s predicted that durable goods manufacturing, financial activities, education and health services will see new positions added.

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pat_smallAccording to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, unemployment numbers declined by 1.5% during October in the metro area defined by Chicago, Joliet and Naperville, to an overall level of 9.7%.  It was the second month that measured unemployment had declined.  Among all areas in the state, Peoria may have performed the best, with saw a decline of 2.3%, though its overall level stands at 8.9%, with the state overall at a 9.2% figure.

It’s an improvement over the 10.9% figure posted a year previous for October, which would translate into about 60,000 more jobs having been added to the area economy over that time.

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pat_smallIn September, the unemployment rate in Chicago dropped to 9.4 percent, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.   Jobless rates dropped in all reporting areas across the state, in fact.  That’s encouraging, but the overall scene has been a very mixed bag for the year, of course — the Chicago area has lost over 51,000 jobs over the past year.

Hopefully, good news like this example will continue as the recovery picks up steam!

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pat_smallHere’s yet another example of Chicagoans doing the right thing in tough times – a jobs program for those with mental disabilities.

We may not realize that unemployment for people with mental illnesses is well into the double-digits.  So programs like those offered by the C4 – Community Counseling Centers of Chicago are essential to helping these folks find useful work.

As Earl Burke, one of the people benefiting from the program, puts it,

“I don’t know if I would say it saved my life, but I was kind of drinking in the streets a little,” Burke said. “I’ve been seeing the doctor now for the last 13 years. I’ve been out of the hospital, like, 13 years. I haven’t been drinking in about 11 years. I had my apartment 13 years.”

For people like Mr. Burke, being given an opportunity to do honest work for honest pay can literally be a matter of life and death.  So our hats are off to organizations like C4 for helping others!

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pat_smallThere’s some evidence of “conversions from temporary to permanent workers” in the Chicago market, among others, according to the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book survey of economic indicators.  That may be the result of “skills scarcity” in some categories in this market — employers, seeing some economic daylight in their particular businesses, lock up skilled employees whose specific talents may be at a premium in this region.

Other markets, though, are seeing different results:

“Hiring of permanent employees was held down in part by employers’ reliance on temporary and contract workers, as reported by Philadelphia and Atlanta, although Boston noted that conversions from temporary to permanent staff picked up,” the report said.

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