How to Find a (Great) Job During a Downturn

In 2020, as the COVID pandemic ripped through our communities and caused layoffs, furloughs, and budget cuts across industries, Harvard Business Review revisited research and tips from the 1970s to provide guidance for out-of-work professionals. With rumors of oncoming recession and uncertainty in the tech industry, these helpful tips are once again relevant.

The 1973 research cited is from John Hopkins sociologist, Mark Granovetter, who found that people are more likely to adopt new ideas from acquaintances (or “weak ties”) than from close friends. While studying job seekers, he determined that most jobs were obtained through personal contacts who told the job applicants about the position or recommended them to a coworker or hiring manager instead of by applying to job listings. This is especially true when it comes to high-profile (or so called “good” jobs).

The study found that about 17% of job seekers learned of a position from strong ties, while about 28% heard from a weak tie. According to professor Adam Grant, this is because “Strong ties provide bonds, but weak ties served as bridges: they provide more efficient access to new information.” We tend to be more direct with acquancies, he explains, and give more background information and clearly communicate our wants and needs. It allows for better matchmaking — between role and worker — from those acquaintances. 

How to Increase Your Ties When You Have Small Networks

For those who have limited connections, networking with new contacts and meeting decision-makers can increase your chances of leveraging “weak ties.” Job fairs and private recruiting events give a candidate a leg-up, as they provide easier access to hiring managers, in-person and in one place. This is true whether you’re looking for a new job or considering a career change.

In a way, a job fair or private recruiting event can act as a shortcut to making weak ties or building a stable of acquaintances. And those weak ties are often the decision-maker in hiring. They encourage you to be straightforward about what you’re looking for, your background, and how you might fit with their team. 

Catalyst Career Group is committed to matching quality candidates with great companies all over the nation. We make it easy for jobseekers with our friendly welcome orientation, informative event guides, and seminars specifically designed to help you advance your career at in-person and virtual job fairs.

And Private Recruiting Events allow you to meet with employers at their office, conference room, or virtually (over phone or video interview). While multi-company job fairs work well to meet many candidates for a broad range of positions, we’ll bring you directly to the door of the person who is hiring today.

Hybrid Work Is Up, But Remote Is Down

Hybrid work seems to be the trending word floating around corporate meetings rooms these days. As a flexible work model that supports a blend of in-office, remote, and on-the-go workers, it offers employees the ability to choose to work wherever and however they are most productive.

Working from home (WFH), telecommuting, and remote work however is a type of flexible working arrangement that allows an employee to work from an out-of-office location for the full scope of their job. Since the pandemic, most companies were forced to go remote and trying to get employees back into the office has proven difficult

Which begs a few big questions when it comes to the WFH arrangements:

  • Do we work better in the office or away? 
  • Can we be just as profitable of a company if we are never physically in the same room? 
  • Will companies that bring their employees back in person prove to have an earlier advantage over those that delay?

Trends are beginning to show that many companies that went fully remote during 2020 and 2021, are slowly easing into hybrid workplaces.

Some common types of hybrid workplace policies include:

  • Offering three days in and two days out 
  • Alternative working spaces onsite (cafe lounges for example)
  • Once-a-month onsite days that include town halls and reviews with manager

To support these trends, we’re seeing more than half of workers (52%) are back to working onsite and less than a third (28%) of workers are remote. Hybrid arrangements are gaining popularity, as 17% of workers report splitting their time between home and the office.

Also not surprisingly, hybrid is proving to be more popular among women. About 20% of women report splitting their time compared to 14% of men. A hybrid model is particularly attractive to working mothers and makes it possible for children to still be taken care of, especially when flu and colds keep children from attending school for longer periods of time. 

“One big trend we are seeing in the companies we hire for is the comfortability talent has for working remotely,” says Jeff Naugle, Co-Founder of Catalyst Career Group. “Job seekers are growing accustomed to working remotely and can afford to choose the position that allows them to do so.” 

Consider how job seekers are viewing hybrid and remote work for your company, How that can help you hire the right people in the right positions at the right price point? Ask us about our virtual job fairs or private hiring events and what job descriptions will draw out the right candidates to help you be successful during this season! Contact Catalyst Career Group today.

Top 6 Best Employee Benefits To Provide In A Recession

With whispers of a recession from increased economic inflation, many hiring managers are considering their benefits packages when sourcing talent. Companies require happy, competent, and healthy team members to be successful, while team members want a stable income, job satisfaction and professional development. The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) study shows that the average cost of a new hire is $4,129 per employee. With a cost this high, knowing how to keep employees while still spending the money to do so, takes planning.

Considering both the hiring sides, here are our top six best employee benefits to provide in a recession.

1. Financial wellness program

What does your financial wellness program consist of? Some retirement planning, investing, and also ongoing financial education related to taxes, budgeting, student loans, debt management, estate planning, and saving for college. This financial education will help your team know how finances affect their families and how to have more stability with their money.

A good financial wellness program will help increase your employees satisfaction,” says Jeff Naugle, Co-Owner of Catalyst Career Group. “It also helps them reduce their stress associated with the economy and top headlines of the day. Easing your team’s stress means they will be a happier and more content worker.

2. Short-term employee loans

In the chance that a financial emergency does take place in your team’s personal life, do you have support through your company for them? With most employees living paycheck to paycheck, if they are in need, instead of turning to a high-interest-rate payday loan, consider how your company can help. You can offer low-interest short-term employee loans in this case. Monthly payment can be deducted directly from the employee’s paycheck and can help resolve immediate emergencies without long-term debt consequences.

3. Mental health benefits

Speaking of financial needs, most employees have shown in surveys that financial stress contributes to their mental health issues. These statistics are staggering. 45 percent of U.S. adults depressed about their finances. Other studies show even higher numbers, which is why nine out of 10 companies now offer some sort of mental health benefit. Mental health benefits include EAPs, mental-health insurance coverage, substance abuse treatment benefits, and stress management.

4. Integrated savings accounts and/or savings matching

Once of the best ways to overcome the stress of finances is to help your team save money through a savings account. Accounts can be tied to the employee’s retirement account with payroll deductions.

“This will help your team save for short-term and long-term needs at the same time,” says Jeff Straub, Co-Owner of Catalyst Career Group “Having an emergency fund helps your team eliminate the stress that goes into the unexpected.”

5. Wellness apps

While your company already offers health insurance, you can also offer wellness apps. These may include Castlight, Virgin Pulse, and WebMD. These help your team to develop both their physical and emotional habits.

6. Student loan repayment assistance

Have you considered supporting your team’s student loan payments? You can offer resources to help them refinance or you can do matching contributions to bring down their balance. A SCORE survey found that 75 percent of those who had student loans wished their employers would offer some sort of student loan repayment benefit or refinancing option. If you are looking to keep younger talent, loan repayment support is exactly what those in their 20s-40s are looking for today.

So what is your take? Would any or all of these six benefits help your organization retain and attract top talent? Studies think so and that makes it worth exploring. Consider for your self how your company can be better equipped to retain employees during a recession, which will lessen the negative impact of a weak economy.

Consider how you can beat inflation for your organization and hire the right people in the right positions at the right price point. Ask us about our virtual job fairs or private hiring events and what job descriptions will draw out the right candidates to help you be successful during this season! Contact Catalyst Career Group today.

What does the recent jobs report tell you about a cooling economy and hot hiring?

It’s July, but we are saying “hello” to the May jobs report! Every good Human Resources person stays tuned into what the job market is and how to stay competitive in capturing the best talent for their organization.

Who Paused Hiring In June?

Now that we’ve hit summer, we’re getting numbers in to reflect how people are responding to economic downturn whispers and the talk of pausing hiring from such companies as Coinbase, Tesla, PayPal, Wells Fargo, and more. Despite headline stories of layoffs, especially in the tech and mortgage industries, layoffs increased only modestly in the information (+1,000), financial activities (+10,000), professional & business services (+6,000) industries.

While are only receiving a May report on hiring, news headlines have reporting hiring pauses during the month of June and July. But is this out of caution or because these companies are experiencing a revenue decline? Let’s take a look at the May numbers to get a better idea of hiring strategies right now.

How Many Companies Are Hiring Right Now?

May numbers from the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), that many companies were indeed hunting for new hirings are pretty record levels. This is despite talks of a low economic outlook.

“With over 11,300,000 available positions, we’re still well above the forecasted 11 million number from economists.” says Jeff Naugle, Founder and Co-Owner of Catalyst Career Group. “April showed $11,700,000 so there is a little bit of a drop, but we are still ahead of expectations.”

What do these numbers mean for every unemployed person?

There are two jobs available for every person looking for a position. This data should be encouraging to hiring managers looking to move forward with confidence when recruiting for open positions. In fact, Federal Reserve officials have stated that these numbers are proof that the economy is strong enough to weather even more aggressive interest rate hikes.

How Does GDP Growth Compare To Hiring?

Job openings in May was at 6.9% compared to April at 7.2% and March at 7.3%. This shows us that with a national unemployment rate of 3.6% in May, we are seeing that the labor market remained unusually tight in spite of the -1.6% GDP growth in the first quarter. Analysts are forecasting a negative growth in the second quarter. The next question is whether the June data for the labor market will remain as strong as May.

At the end of the day, the JOLTS report indicates that the labor market was still hot at the end of May. Recession fears picked up in June, so it remains to be seen how labor demand remain. This is a positive sign that the labor market is still strong and businesses should start now to find the top talent before they are snatched up.

Consider how you can beat inflation for your organization and hire the right people in the right positions at the right price point. Ask us about our virtual job fairs or private hiring events and what job descriptions will draw out the right candidates to help you be successful during this season! Contact Catalyst Career Group today.

How Will Inflation Impact Your Hiring This Year?

With gas prices almost tipping to $6 this June in the Chicagoland, the dreaded word, inflation, is the number one cause for grumblings from every commuter and business owner today. Hiring managers this quarter will have to discover how to create a profit while cutting costs. That’s all while balancing workers requesting an increase in pay to offset the increase cost of living. From large corporations to small local stores, organizations from every size and shape are not immune to the result of inflation, but how exactly will inflation affect the job market?

Let’s take a look at how inflation may impact hiring this year and what that means for pay and profits.

Will Hiring Be Touched By Inflation?

For an insight into how high inflation will affect pay, positions, and more this year, let’s reflect on the basic principal that when inflation is low, then unemployment is actually high. To counter the woes of inflation, unemployment usually has to rise.

“Hiring won’t necessarily decrease just because we anticipate unemployment to rise.” says Jeff Naugle, with Catalyst Career Group’s Hiring Fairs.

This idea may sound counter active, but in actuality, during a recession or times of inflation, organizations don’t just stop hiring. They begin to change the way in which they hire for that season.

“We can expect to see hiring managers transition from the concept of hiring a single full-time worker for a position to a multi-hiring part-time hiring to save on costs.” says Jeff Straub, with Catalyst Career Group’s Private Recruiting Events.

Contact, “gig”, and part-time workers are all types of positions we can expect to see more of in the future as we move into more of an inflated economy. Employers won’t have to pay for benefits such as healthcare, and part-time works come at at cheaper rate that full-time team members.

Do You Need To Adjust Salaries In Response To Inflation?

There as been a trend during high inflation periods for team members to ask for more money. This is in response to the greater cost of living. As an example, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that wages have increased by 5.6% in the past 12 months. That is at the same time as prices have increased by 7.9%. There is definitely a definite in wages to prices and there will be movement on this forefront to equalize this across every industry.

“As a hiring manager, one of the big things you’ll have to do is address these concerns on a case by case basis,” says Naugle. “A vice president’s salary is going to look much different than a waitress’s hourly rate, so what is your bargaining power to retain top talent for the position you want to fill?”

Hiring managers that want to retain quality candidates must be creative and source the right talent if they don’t have the budget for typical raise percentages. Other perks and benefits can be a major contributor to hiring and retaining an employee.

Hiring Forecasting: Does Inflation Create Recessions?

The 1970’s showed us that when inflation has reached the levels that it is today (think again about the $6 for gas in the Chicagoland), the government counter acts by pushing the economy into a recession to slow spending and ultimately change the way people spend their money. That is what we can expect to happen today.

Companies can expect to protect themselves during recessions by investing in quality candidates for their most necessary positions, being strategic about their pay, prioritizing their marketing, and focusing on customer service (did someone say talented hires again?).

Consider how you can beat inflation for your organization and hire the right people in the right positions at the right price point. Ask us about our virtual job fairs or private hiring events and what job descriptions will draw out the right candidates to help you be successful during this season!