NorthBridge Blog

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 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 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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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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Pat DuganWe’ve been fortunate in keeping up a good head of steam in the Chicago area in terms of job growth, especially compared with the rest of the state and other areas of the Midwest, and a new report from Manpower shows we’re still on the right track.

The report indicates that job growth should keep up through the fourth quarter of 2016, with a healthy 18% of employers indicating they’d be hiring new hands during the October-December period.


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Pat DuganThe U.S. saw surprising job growth in July, with temporary jobs making up a strong part of that rise, according to seasonally-adjusted figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

17,000 temporary positions were added to the rolls in July versus June. That’s part of a year-over-year growth rate of 1.9%, with a total number of temp jobs reaching 2.93 million, the highest since December.

July Job Growth 2016There’s another number worth noting, the temporary penetration rate, the number of temp jobs as a percentage of total employment. That rose to 2.03% in July.


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Pat DuganWant some insight into the upcoming hiring trends? Whether you’re an employer or a jobseeker, it’s always good to have a crystal ball handy that can peek into tomorrow — and thanks to Chicago-based staffing software firm Hireology, we’ve got one.

Hireology conducted a survey of 2,500 companies in the U.S. and Canada, and arrived at three key insights about how the job market may shift in the next several years:
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Pat DuganAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Illinois had 5,176,800 private-sector jobs in January 2000.

Also according to the Bureau, Illinois had 5,175,900 private-sector jobs in March 2016.

Jobs TableIt doesn’t take a statistician to read those numbers, and realize the shape of Illinois job growth over the past 16 years: on a net basis, it’s been practically non-existent.

So some policy groups and political pundits make a great stir about the need to slash regulation, taxes on business, and otherwise make Illinois a much more friendly location for businesses. Our present governor is certainly in favor of that, and the constant deadlock in Springfield is one result of the unwillingness to compromise on both sides.


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In January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that payroll employment grew by 292,000 in December, while unemployment held steady at 5 percent (the Chicago and Illinois jobs scene is stumbling in a different direction, unfortunately). But what are the broader trends you’ve got to keep an eye on if you’re a recruitment manager?

First off, finding and hiring qualified employees is always a challenge, and in a market where there’s a lot of competing demand for their services, the challenge gets harder, especially when unemployment rates decline or stay put at a relatively low level.

Getting effective, expert workers through the door is critical to a firm’s success, especially in an era where agility and the flexibility to adapt to changing conditions are increasingly central to survival, let alone to becoming a segment leader.
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We and other experts in temporary staffing solutions have been talking about it for years, but you’d think Forbes had been the first to figure it out from the tone of this column.  But the points columnist Kerry Hannon makes are dead-on: temporary staffing offers flexibility for both parties, employer and employee, that provide welcome positives in tough times.

As she puts it,

The surge in temporary jobs is what really interests me. This is a shift that’s not so temporary. For many employers, hiring temporary workers simply makes sense. They can staff up for short-term projects without the expense of healthcare and other benefits. They can be nimble and run a leaner ship with far less overhead. And in this market, they can attract top talent.

Even the New York Times has gotten in on the act, covering much of the same ground.

According to the National Association of Temporary and Staffing Services (NATSS), on any given day there are 2.7 million people employed by temp agencies, meaning $15.4 billion in revenues, up 23% from the previous year.  And over that time, temporary and contingent positions have added a quarter of a million new jobs to the American economy.

Source: The New York Times


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