Apr 18

Employer Hiring Education Requirements Rise

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It looks like an associate or bachelor’s degree is becoming the new high school diploma. A recent CareerBuilder survey found that 27% of employers stated that their educational requirements for hiring have risen over the past five years. Thirty percent of the companies surveyed said that they are hiring more college-educated workers for jobs that were previously filled by high school graduates. For some career fields, such as a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) that number has increased even further, to 46%.  The survey, conducted by Harris Poll, included a sample of 2,201 hiring managers and HR professionals across various industries and company sizes and provided valuable insight on the current economic value of a college education.

As occupations continue to evolve and companies rely on professionals with strong skill sets, workers are finding it more difficult to stop their education at high school. The trend of hiring higher-educated employees is paying off for companies and being recognized economically. With a recent announcement from the Obama administration pushing two new initiatives to better train students for in-demand jobs of the future, it is unlikely the that the trend will just go away. One in five companies now target Master’s degree holders, and a third of employers say that they are sending current employees back to school for advanced degrees (the good news is that 81% say they are at least offering partial funding).

Have you noticed more companies requiring advanced degrees as a requisite for employment? If your company offered you the opportunity to go back to school would you take it?

Apr 17

Pitfalls of an Office Romance

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Jim and Pam from The Office, Don Draper and Megan from Mad Men, and McDreamy and Meredith from Grey’s Anatomy. We constantly see office romances play out on television, chock-full of drama and extreme romantic gestures, but is it worth it to have one in real life? There are perks to finding that special someone while you are on the job but they also come with some drawbacks. Read below for the 10 potential pitfalls of an office romance.

1. People will gossip
Office gossip will always exist and an office romance can add fuel to fire. Try your best to be as discreet as possible to lessen the potential for office pow-wows about your romantic life.

2. You could lose your job
We deem this the biggest pit-fall of all. Make sure to study your companies’ policies about workplace relationships before you jump right in. Often managers and subordinates or individuals in the same department aren’t allowed to date without transferring or losing placement. Review the policy to safeguard yourself from potential unemployment.

3. Objectivity can go out the door
It’s easy to let your feelings for your significant other affect how you feel about your job. Remember to think with your head and not your heart when it comes to decisions about work projects or your opinion of co-workers.

4. It could limit your growth
If your manager wants to create professional distance between you and your partner, it my limit your options in terms of internal growth and movement. Also, you should keep in mind that your attachment to a co-worker might make it difficult for you to leave job or a company that you’ve outgrown.

5. It breeds competition
A little competition between co-workers is natural and often times healthy but be wary of the potential ugly dynamic with your sweetheart. If you and your significant other receive a promotion or a raise, you may lose equal footing at work and resentment can arise.

6. Suffering work-life balance
It’s hard enough to separate work life from home life without having to bring your boyfriend or girlfriend to work with you every day. Try to maintain the balance by avoiding talk about work at home and remember not to bring personal relationship problems into the office.

7. Others may resent your relationship
Be sensitive to others and try not to flaunt your relationship in the office. Some people may judge you for finding an office romance, especially if the person you are with has a more or less established career than you.

8. It may be isolating
No one likes to be the third wheel and an office romance can easily become a workplace clique custom made for two. Remember to build friendships with others at work aside from your significant other; otherwise people might feel unwelcome or uncomfortable interacting with just the two of you.

9. Shared triumphs and troubles
Sharing your successes doesn’t pose much of a threat, but what happens when you hit turbulent waters together? If your company falls on hard times and you both lose your job, then what? Be sure to create a more substantial rainy-day fund in cause your dual-income household suddenly is demoted to a no-income one.

10. A professional relationship can last longer than a romantic one
Breakups are upsetting, awkward and straining enough when you don’t work together. Imagine having to see your ex every day (and still maintain productivity). It’s important to have a conversation with before you begin dating about how you plan to handle continuing to work together even if the relationship doesn’t last.

About 56% of business professionals have had office romances, many of which have resulted in marriages or other significant relationships. We aren’t saying you should avoid getting to know the cute Office Coordinator down the hall, just make sure you safe guard yourself from the potential fall-out of an office romance.

Apr 16

Finagling Workplace Perks

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Relationships aren’t always 50-50, especially in the case of an employer/employee one. In a recent Virgin Pulse survey, of more than 1,000 full-time U.S. employees, 75% said that they loved their companies, while only 25% felt that their companies loved them back. Talk about heart-break. Often, we love the companies that we work for due various elements, such as a company’s mission, our co-workers, or great pay. But when it comes to feeling like a company cares for us it usually comes down to the perks. Great benefits like life insurance, maternity leave and 401k plans make employees feel more cared for. While some companies may try to provide the ideal perks for employees, they occasionally miss the mark. If you are an employee who feels underappreciated, don’t assume that the only option remaining is to leave. It is likely that your employer is simply unaware of what you look for to feel acknowledged and a small dialogue can go a long way.

So how do you get what you want from your employer? Start by talking with your co-workers. Are they sharing the same emotions? Coming together as a group allows you to present a more solid case for what you all want from your company. As a group brainstorm what your company would look like in an ideal world and the type of perks it would offer. Now, turn around and think of the realistic world (where small budgets cause limitations and Hawaiian Punch from the water-fountain isn’t practical). What would satisfy you? Maybe in the ideal world an on-site gym is what you’d like, but in the realistic world you would settle for pass to the gym down the street. Once you’ve established the type of perk that you would like, make your case. Make a list of the accomplishments that you and your colleagues have made over the past year and demonstrate your dedication to the company’s success. As with any relationship, it’s easier to ask for something when you’ve proven that you’ve given in return. Finally, ask to schedule a meeting. No need to come in to it with 50 co-workers, just a few will work; otherwise your employer may feel bombarded. Give a well-prepared presentation that explains how you feel about the company, as well as your ideas to improve morale. Keep in mind that your manager might not have the final approval of ideas and that being flexible on the results is important. Create an open conversation and it will go a longer way than simply walking in and making demands.

Workplace happiness doesn’t solely rest in your employer’s hands. Don’t hesitate to take measures into your own hands to get the results that you want, but remember to take a smart approach and create an open dialogue.

Apr 15

Pay to Quit

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Every day, we wake up and we go to work and every week, we get paid for the work that we do. There’s no secret that we keep our jobs for the benefit of a paycheck but what if you were paid to quit? That’s the idea behind Amazon’s Pay to Quit program.

Pay to Quit, a program that was created by Zappos and the Amazon fulfillment center, is pretty simple. Once a year, employees are offered the opportunity to quit with a headline that reads, “Please Don’t Take This Offer.” The first year that the offer is made it is for $2,000, then it goes up one thousand dollars a year until it reaches $5,000. Amazon’s intention isn’t to rid themselves of employees, they actually hope that the offer isn’t taken- so what’s the purpose

Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezo, states that the goal is to encourage employees to take a moment and think about what they really want. He believes that in the long-run an unhappy employee that stays in a job that they don’t want to be in is unhealthy for the individual and for the company.

Amazon warehouses are large distribution centers where workers often work long shifts performing physical labor, so it is clear that the job may not be cut out for everyone and the opportunity to be paid to quit may come as a relief for some workers.

What do you think of the opportunity to be paid to quit? If you were unhappy with a job would you take the offer?

Apr 14

Top Jobs for Work-Life Balance

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A work-life balance is the ultimate weighing of the scales. The balance between work and play has always been a difficult one to find and with no exact equation or established guideline for achieving the happy medium, many job positions vary in their delivery. As a major consideration for candidates who are looking for work, we can’t help but wonder which are the best positions for a work-life balance and why?

The 9 Top Jobs for Work-Life Balance

  1. Bookkeeping, Accounting and Audit Clerk
  2. Landscaping and Groundskeeper
  3. Massage Therapist
  4. Office Clerk
  5. Optician
  6. Physical Therapist
  7. Recreation and Fitness Worker
  8. Sports Coach
  9. Web Developer

A common theme among the best positions for a work-life balance is the flexibility of schedules and work hours. Massage Therapists, Opticians, and Web Developers have the flexibility of setting their own schedules, working part time, or being self-employed. Other positions, including Bookkeeping, Accounting and Audit Clerks, and Sports Coaches have seasonal schedules where they have to endure a high level of work expectations for a short time, such as a tax or sports season, and are then able to enjoy the remainder of the work year at a calmer pace.

Another significant benefit for most of the positions was the low level of stress that most of the jobs yield. As a Landscaper or Groundskeeper, often the greatest level of concern is related to injuries from heavy machinery like lawn mowers and chainsaws- something easily avoidable by following basic safety precautions. Office Clerks experience the luxury of rarely having to take their work home while Recreation and Fitness workers often work part time allowing them to find a second job or to let off some steam with some free down time.

Overall, the positions on the list provide workers with an ample amount of downtime and the ability to enjoy it without the looming feeling of stress. Which of the positions on the list sound like a perfect job-match for you? Visit Gigats.com to find the career with your perfect work-life balance!

Apr 11

French Ban Emails and Calls After 6PM

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noemailThe Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, fashion, delicious food, and no work emails or phone calls after 6 pm. Seems like France has it all figured out. French workers have enjoyed shorter workweeks and plenty more vacation time than their American counterparts for years, and recently thousands of workers in France have been given the right to not check work-related emails or phone calls after 6 p.m.

The ban comes after years of the 35-hour work week that France implemented in 1999, slowly creeping closer to 40 due to the rise of smartphones and increasing employer demands for overtime work. The new guideline is an agreement that was made between Unions and employers in France and states that it is no longer a requirement for employees to check their work-related emails outside of work hours. The change will primarily affect the technology and consulting sectors, including workers at the French offices of Google and Facebook.

While France continues to move towards protecting their 35 hour work week, in America there is still no cap on weekly work hours and the average worker productivity is up more than 400% over the past half-century.  On average, Americans now work 200 more hours per year than French workers. In addition to protecting the number of hours worked, the French typically receive at least 5 weeks of vacation time. Sure we can be jealous, but hey, we are much more productive over here in the States, right? Contrary to the general public perception, a recent study suggests that French workers are more productive than German ones and only marginally less productive than their American counterparts. Maybe a few extra weeks of vacation time and our cell phones turned off in the evening couldn’t hurt?

 

Apr 10

Working for a Friend

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There is almost nothing like finally ending a tedious, seemingly-never-ending job search and finding your perfect career match. The relief that comes with grabbing hold of a new opportunity and starting on your next career journey is exciting. What would make it even more perfect and add the proverbial “cherry on top”? Working for your best friend, of course! In the ever-changing job market, networking and connections are playing an important role on how you land a new job opportunity. It is becoming common for family and friends to work together but what are the dangers of having your pal as your boss.

Let’s break it down pro/con style:

Pro: Best Friends know pretty much everything about one another. From your favorite movie, to your biggest fear, all the way to your strengths and abilities. When a friend offers you a job you can be pretty certain that they are aware of your career and professional goals and your varying capabilities. Having already established what you hope and are able to do should make starting the position an easier process.

Con: Just because you are buds with the boss doesn’t mean you’ll receive preferential treatment. You should still anticipate assuming responsibilities outside of your comfort zone and area of expertise.  Your friend still has a business to run, so while she hopes to see you grow professionally she still needs to make sure everything is running smoothly.

Pro: Communication is the foundation for all relationships. The kind of open communication you share with a best friend lends itself to creating a productive and comfortable work environment; one that would take longer to develop if you worked with an unfamiliar boss.

Con: Serious conversations will now come with a certain level of awkwardness. Discussing dissatisfaction with a portion of your job, management style, or salary will require a delicate approach. Are you prepared to view your friend as a superior and take criticism without resentment?

Pro: You won’t suffer for bonding time with  a guaranteed 40 hour work-week side by side. Working for your friend comes with the added perks of shared lunch breaks, coffee runs, and inside jokes. Having a comrade in the office will make getting your work done a lot less work-like.

Con: You’ll have A LOT of bonding time. It’s a double-edged sword. When a rough day comes your way at the office if can be hard to separate your professional life from your personal one. Don’t let a work critique ruin your dinner plans- try your best to separate the two.

Overall, working for a friend offers a lot of perks and a few minor concerns. Be sure to consider all of the benefits and limitations before jumping into a new job position where your BFF becomes your Boss.

Apr 09

Google Glass in the Workplace

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On April  7th, Google announced it’s Glass at Work program that targets businesses and introduces innovative ways for them to utilize the product, Google Glass. While Google Glass has struggled with privacy concerns and penetrating the individual consumer market, recent partnerships with businesses have demonstrated ways that the technology can shape the workplace. The product is finding enthusiastic acceptance in varying workplaces, including medicine, law enforcement, manufacturing and athletics.

The potential for Glass in the workplace is most evident in the health care industry as seen with a U.C.S.F lung surgeon who uses Glass during surgery to view live images from scans while he works. In low-pressure settings, the tool provides ease to something as simple as a doctor-patient check-up, hearing and automatically inputting patient information into electronic medical records. Why has Google Glass been so successful in the Health Care industry? The privacy concerns that are plaguing consumers are being squashed in the medical workplace due to the strict legal rules of doctor-patient confidentiality and HIPAA regulations. The boundaries are explicitly clear in regards to what is okay and what is out of bounds privacy-wise. Taking it a step further, software for Google Glass used in hospitals have special protections built in so that the technology is disabled in different locations, and information is kept off of Google servers.

Google Glass is finding its footing and declaring why it needs to exist. With growing work-place applications and the ability to search for and solve problems it is clear that the product is here to stay and that Google will be marketing a corporate-oriented pitch for the product.

Apr 08

Amazing Company Perks

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Indoor climbing walls, bowling alleys, and fitness centers. These are a few of our favorite things! Business Insider recently released a list of the 50 Best Employers in America, many of which shared one very apparent commonality. The companies that have earned a place in our hearts as the cream of the crop demonstrate the value of rewarding their employees. Many on the list successfully provide comprehensive benefit packages, but among the 50 were 18 companies that took home the awards for the coolest, most awesome employee perks.

Campbell Soup Company offers employees on-site kindergarten and after-school programs in addition to 100% healthcare coverage, healthy cooking lessons and free flu shots. New hires with General Mills immediately receive three weeks paid vacation and enjoy a FUSE program, where employees can sit and work wherever they want in the corporate headquarters. Google, ranked in the top five of Fortune magazine’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For,” has always been known for offering incredible perks, including access to food pantries, cafeterias, on-site bowling alleys and gyms. Google’s CEO, Larry Page believes that when you treat employees well you receive better productivity (and we might add better company ratings).

What perks would you love to receive at your company?

To view jobs and perks with some of the best employers in America go to Gigats.com!

Apr 07

Wal-Mart Rivals the Ivy League

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Image: A worker pushes shopping carts in front of a Walmart store in La Habra, Calif.Who would have thought that finding a job at Wal-Mart would be tougher than getting in to an Ivy League institution like Harvard? In 2013, Harvard admitted just 5.9% of it’s aspiring applicants. Their acceptance rate makes the admissions process seem like a walk in the park compared to the 2.6% hire rate of a newly opened Washington D.C. Wal-Mart.

In December 2013, Wal-Mart opened its first location in our nation’s capital. The supercenter opened its doors and received an influx of applications for the 600 available positions the location offered. While it isn’t uncommon for as many as 10,000 people to apply at a new Wal-Mart location the numbers still managed to surprise. Just how many applicants are we talking? The store received and combed through 23,000 employee applications. The 2.6% hire rate doesn’t come as such a shock given the significant number of applications the store received and the limitations on the number of possible employment positions.

Why are so many people applying? Many entry-level Wal-Mart jobs require non-strenuous work while offering a safe work environment, competitive wages, and career growth opportunity. Wal-Mart provides an opportunity for individuals with little experience and few credentials to gain good work experience.

To view available positions with Wal-Mart and other top companies, visit Gigats.com!