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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Pat DuganIn the past three months, more people quit their jobs than were laid off…and it’s a good sign for the economy that it’s happening. As recruitment and jobs experts who spoke with The Christian Science Monitor pointed out…

In general, that’s a sign of better economic times,” says Donald Siegel, dean of the school of business at the University at Albany, part of the State University of New York. “I interpret it as a sign of an improving job market … when people feel confident enough to quit their jobs.

This may prove a boon to recruiters, as many of those who are launching themselves on the market may feel confident they’re skilled enough to be attractive hires – leading to a richer and more diversified candidate pool.

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Pat DuganHere’s a relevant survey by that puts numbers to something that nearly anyone in recruitment and staffing has observed or themselves instituted: the practice of using the social networking aspects of the Web to evaluate potential hires.

What that means for those firms, for staffing consultants and for jobseekers is that there may very well be reasons not to hire an individual, reasons that have nothing to do with his or her resume or stated experience – and everything to do with what they post or reveal via the Internet.

Here are some of the reasons cited in the survey for not making a hire, based on what surveyed employers discovered by checking prospects’ profiles and posts on social media sites:

  • Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information – 53 percent
  • Candidate posted content about them drinking or using drugs – 44 percent
  • Candidate bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients – 35 percent
  • Candidate showed poor communication skills – 29 percent
  • Candidate made discriminatory comments – 26 percent
  • Candidate lied about qualifications – 24 percent
  • Candidate shared confidential information from previous employer – 20 percent

What a prospect posts on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn or other sites is perfectly fair game for any staffing consultant or HR person who wants to make a comprehensive investigation of an applicant.

There’s also good advice here for jobseekers: the barrier between our “public” and “private” selves is pretty thin on the Web.  The offhand gripe about your last boss that you post today may very well come back to haunt you tomorrow.

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Are employers and staffing firms properly positioned for an improvement in the job market? It can be a mixed blessing if you’re not prepared.

Just one of the complications is skills scarcity, as the most qualified and valuable prospective hires find their talents are in greater demand and go off the market. Whether you’re a staffing firm or an employer, you might find yourself really scrambling to fill positions with good, qualified people — if you haven’t been laying proper groundwork ahead of time.

There are a few simple questions any smart HR department or staffing firm should ask itself about its preparedness for a job market uptick of lasting duration:

  1. Do we have a plan in place? Be certain you — and your team — have a strategy in hand to guide you in sourcing and recruiting the right prospects when the need arises. Remember, waiting until only the actual moment you need them most means you’ll have to make last-second choices – not advisable in any business situation.
  2. Are we willing to scale up our staffing team? If there’s a sudden influx of job requisitions, possibly even a new slew of clients to handle if you’re a staffing firm, do you have the personnel on board it’ll take to maintain solid due diligence?
  3. Are we willing to invest in staffing skills? You should always be looking to strengthen your hand; whether you’re an employer or a consultant, you should stay on top of the latest training and work resources available that can help your staffing team succeed.
  4. Are we keeping the prospect file full? Even if you’re not in hiring mode, always be sure to stay abreast of what roles you might have to fill if the situation changes – and try to maintain outside staffing resources or a database of prospects that can give you a quick head start when you do need to put hires in place.
  5. Are we jumping the gun in hiring full-timers? Temp and temp-to-hire personnel are probably still a wise option to keep in mind, unless you’re absolutely positive about your business prospects in the upcoming year.

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Pat DuganThe national unemployment picture is getting a little better, according to the Department of Labor, and as shown in this graphic at Fast Company.   While the heartland and east are still suffering (Pennsylvania is especially hard-hit), there’s reason to hope (see our earlier posts) that the situation may get better soon for people seeking jobs in Chicago.  But even while a recession endures, companies and shouldn’t entirely give up the hunt for talent, or at least for information on what talent is out there.  Why?

Recession is a leveler, too; your competitors are hurting if you’re hurting, and may have laid off good people who could help your firm, either now or when the economy permits hires.  So you can level the playing field versus your competition – or even take the high ground — by getting out in front on skilled prospects who fit your business, before they’re snapped up by other firms or called back by their previous employer.

Information is power.  Knowing what talent is available and knowing the costs of acquisition of that talent if times turn for the better are simply part of smart, long-term planning.  The more data you have on the talent pool, the more quickly and accurately you can act when the time comes.   It’s part of the contingency plans every company should lay out.

To paraphrase Daniel Burnham, make no little plans for your future; even if you’re cutting your staff right now, keep your eye on near-term or longer-term staffing needs, whether permanent, temp-to-hire or temporary.

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Pat DuganThanks for checking out Building Bridges, our new blog about Chicago staffing and recruitment matters.  It’s hot on the heels of our new Web site re-design (thanks to Biersma Creative), and it’s part of our effort to leverage every tool in the digital and social media playbook to deliver better client services and elevate our presence.  That’s important in any competitive market, but particularly in the Chicago staffing industry.  Frankly, our bread-and-butter is in attracting qualified employees, and then making it expedient for employers to bring them on board, and state-of-the-art digital outreach is part of that.


As we head into what looks like a promising 2010, we’ll be posting links to articles of note, offering insights and opinions about the Chicagoland recruitment situation, plus the occasional post about our clients and our staff, good people all.


It hasn’t been the best of times for the economy in general, or Chicago in particular.   But as we move ahead, we’re seeing signs of optimism and recovery.  We’re pretty certain we can count on the resilience and hard work of area businesses and skilled employees to make the most of the opportunities that arise, and maximize staffing growth throughout an upswing. 


Chicago being Chicago, there’ll be interesting new stories and new opportunities to cite as time goes on.   So we hope to bring you more and more ‘good news’ as North Bridge and the Chicago staffing scene move forward – stay tuned!

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