The Jobless Search

Posted by Avi Nimmer on June 17, 2008

This just in: recent graduates seek jobs with good benefits, high salaries and in prominent locations, according to a recent article on (

Alright. That probably came as a shock to very few; if we threw in short and flexible hours, it would probably be everybody’s dream job. What I have found shocking, however, is how hard it is to find any job nowadays.

I go to a well-respected college, I like to consider myself fairly bright and I am currently residing in

New York City

(population: 8.2 million!), but I have had immense difficulty finding a job.

I’M NOT PICKY, either.

Some of my more desperate job-hunting attempts have included being a driver and worker for 1800 GOT-JUNK (it’s exactly what it sounds like) numerous waitering positions and even driving a bicycle taxi around the city.

I have had one success: after applying for a writing position; submitting my resume, cover letter and numerous pre-written samples; being interviewed; and finally submitting more newly-written samples, I was offered a position…for a non-paid internship!

I have no right to complain, though: no matter what I decide to do, I know that in three months time, I will be done with my job and back in the classroom. Recent graduates, on the other hand, need to choose a job knowing it could entail spending eight hours a day in the same office for potentially years to come.

When making such a significant life decision, there are many important factors to analyze. Certainly, location, benefits, and money are large incentives, but there are perhaps even more important factors (gast): meaningfulness of work, comradely of coworkers and being in an environment where you enjoy yourself.

Given the current state of the economy, it’s hard to be picky when looking for a job—beggars can’t be choosers—but from a managerial perspective, providing a good work environment and sustaining a happy workforce are definitely key to attracting and retaining effective workers.

A lot of money and benefits don’t hurt, either.

Of Unions and Incentives

Posted by Leo Jakobson on January 17, 2008

In February's issue of Incentive magazine, you'll find a Legal Ease column in which Incentive Federation General Counsel George Delta looks at the ins and outs of running safety incentives. Among these issues, you'll read, is that these programs often cover unionized workforces, and unions often frown upon incentive programs.

Specifically, George says: 'unions do not like award programs, because they differentiate among workers. Unions want all employees treated the same.'

And while there's a lot more to it than that, as you'll read, I was reminded of this today when I ran across an article on Google News in which it was reported that the NYPD's union, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association is attempting to stop a private foundation from offering an incentive program designed to help recruit new officers—a program necessitated when the (union-negotiated) contract created a ludicrously low starting salary for rookie NYPD officers: slightly more than $25,000, which in New York City virtually requires moving back in with parents.

Continue reading "Of Unions and Incentives" »

MonsterTRAK's GreenCareers

Posted by John Wilwol on October 26, 2007

MonsterTRAK surveyed its users this summer and learned that 80% of young professionals are interested in working for a company that impacts the environment in a positive way. They also learned that 92% would like to work for an environmentally friendly company.  Those are fantastic numbers and they make sense. All things being equal, who wouldn’t want to work for a company that acts responsibly toward the environment?

The key phrase here, however, is “all things being equal.”  I suspect that they are not.  Do these jobs even exist?  Where are they?  What do they pay?  Who do they want to hire?  Am I qualified if I don’t drive a Prius?

A quick visit to the GreenCareers site answered some of these questions.

First, I entered a search query for full-time entry-level jobs in New York. GreenCareers returned a single listing for scientists at Malcolm Pirnie, a construction management group.  That’s good news for science majors, but not the rest of us.  Apparently, Malcolm Pirnie has several openings in Boston, DC, and other major US cities.   The salary was described as, “Competitive.”  So I went back to the search page to try again.

This time, I broadened my search to include all job types in all locations.  GreenCareers returned only 40 listings.  (By contrast, doing the same search in MonsterTRAK’s main site returned 1979 listings.)  Nearly all of the jobs were for non-profit state environmental advocacy groups.  The pay hovered around $24,000. 

Are young professionals willing to compromise on important issues like salary to get the warm fuzzy feeling that comes from working in a green job?  I suspect no.  Most couldn’t even if they wanted to.  You can’t cover a $200-$500 monthly student loan payment on $24K a year.  But there is some good news.         

MonsterTRAK’s survey tells us two important things.  First, the new workforce is aware of environmental issues in a way that past generations have not been.  (Congratulations Al Gore et al, it’s working.)  Second, the survey tells us they are willing to do something about it.  So as soon as the current establishment can get the new “Green Economy” up and running, GreenCareers will be there to do exactly what it intends.  It will help young talent find the job market’s Holy Grail – a career that is both personally and professionally gratifying.

What's the (Retention) Plan?

Posted by Alex Palmer on October 18, 2007

CNN Money reports that a full 75% of surveyed managers are not aware of a formal employee retention program at their company. It seems most companies don't create explicit plans for holding on to their employees.  As Robert Morgan, president of Talent Solutions, puts it, "Finding good talent is going to be a problem across the board in the coming years. Companies are kidding themselves if they think that they will be able to hold onto their staff without thinking about the overall work experience." Nonetheless, surveyed employees seem to be happy in their jobs, with 72% recommending their company as a good place to work.

As companies do construct retention plans, they should consider making social responsibility a component of it. According to recent research by Kenexa Research Institute, active participation in a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program by a company improves everything from employee engagement and confidence in the company's future, to their personal outlook and attitude. "Actively participating in CSR initiatives has many advantages including setting the organization apart from the competition in terms of employment brand, creating an elevated sense of teamwork among employees, and helping to establish an emotional tie between the employee and the organization," says Jack Wiley, the executive director of Kenexa Research Institute.

Tuesday's Recruitment and Retention Links

Posted by Shayna Jacobs on June 12, 2007
  • Companies with tip-top rewards programs have optimal retention, according to a recent article that listed the top 30 Canadian companies. It recognizes some of the more creative rewards programs such as the one offered by the Business Development Bank of Canada that enables employees to "buy and sell vacation time ... Through an annual flex benefits enrollment program."
  • Research released in the United Kingdom revealed that problematic retention at employment firms has increased this year to eight out of 10 from seven out of 10 last year. "Employers will continue to struggle to find suitable candidates and keep staff turnover under control if their approach to recruitment and retention fails to take account of both business and employee needs," says the survey's author.

Continue reading "Tuesday's Recruitment and Retention Links" »

Veteran Nurse Blasts Recruiting Via Cash Incentive

Posted by Leo Jakobson on May 03, 2007

Thanks to the wonderful world of Google News’ search capabilities, I came across a fascinating Letter to the Editor published today in the Regina Leader-Post, a daily newspaper in Saskatchewan, Canada. In it, a nurse with 30 years experience in hospital critical-care units takes a scalpel to a cash-based incentive program the provincial health care authority is using to recruit nurses in this scarce specialty. Recruiting and retaining nurses is a topic Incentive has covered a number of times in the past year, including last month’s Playbook case study ["Nursing a Referral Program"] and our April 2006 cover story ["RN: Retention Necessary"]. I found the lengthy letter an interesting take on the downside of cash-heavy recruitment programs—from an insiders perspective—that so many hospitals have turned to in the face of a systemic shortage of nurses plaguing much of the world, including the U.S. and Canada. In her letter, Pamela Richaud, a surgical intensive care unit (ICU) nurse in Regina, Saskatchewan, says that a C$10,000 bonus being offered to nurses who will take a critical-care certification course and agree to work two years in a provincial ICU is causing “dissention” between unit veterans and the newcomers.

Continue reading "Veteran Nurse Blasts Recruiting Via Cash Incentive" »

Good Times For Who?

Posted by Leo Jakobson on January 18, 2007

If you look at the first page of the Launch section in February’s issue of Incentive, you’ll see a story about a study that looks at how company’s are planning to retain existing employees and attract new ones in an increasingly tight labor market. The top answer—by a surprisingly large margin, I thought—was to increase existing employees’ pay.

While that’s good news for employees, particularly top sales performers, the tightening labor market does not necessarily mean a loosening economy.

Continue reading "Good Times For Who?" »

Recruitment/ Retention Links

Posted by A.E. Smith on January 17, 2007
  • Recruitment_by_steve_taint_2BusinessWeek looks at a trend among companies that are using online video for all their outreach efforts, including recruiting and marketing. Look for more news about using web 2.0 technology for HR tasks in the forthcoming February issue of Incentive.
  • Is an abusive boss driving workers away at your company? Results from a survey in the forthcoming issue of The Leadership Quarterly were widely reported, and apparently, subordinates have to put up with a lot of nasty behavior. Two in five bosses don't keep their word, 37 percent "fail to give credit when due," 31 percent use the silent treatment and 24 percent invade employees' privacy.

Tuesday Recruitment/ Retention Links

Posted by A.E. Smith on December 19, 2006

Tuesday Recruitment/ Retention Links

Posted by A.E. Smith on December 12, 2006
  • Employee satisfaction is often tied to how well workers get on with their fellow cubicle dwellers. has an article on what to do when loud personal phone calls turn your office into an episode of Deperate Housewives.