By Allison O'Kelly
The New Year is approaching quickly and that often provides a tangible cue for job seekers who may be looking for a new start. It even prompts some of us happily at work to consider other options out there, even if only briefly. That's just what the rekindling of a calendar turn is all about. So in that vein, what is 2014 going to bring us as it relates to job opportunities, work/life satisfaction and how companies are employing workers?
One leading workplace trend will be the continued increase of choices around alternative ways to work. We saw huge strides made in 2013 with regard to the level of dialogue around workplace flexibility. There were new books and articles espousing ways for jobs and lives to work together (Anne Marie Slaughter and Sheryl Sandberg among the biggest), social leaders taking initiative (Arianna Huffington and Working Mother magazine among the many), and companies making headlines (Yahoo! and Best Buy to name a couple). Some were beneficial to the cause, some were not, and some offered a little of both.
Here are my three forecasts for the upcoming year that will be important considerations should a job search be in your future. Use these insights for awareness and benefit as you plan to land a position in the New Year that meets both lifestyle needs and professional goals and aspirations.
1. Workplace flexibility will gain more footing as a social issue, both in terms of employee demand and public policy. It will be more and more difficult for companies to ignore the task of implementing at least some element of alternative work options since a growing number of organizations are doing just that. To be and stay competitive, flexibility is a valuable recruiting tool. San Francisco recently became the first city to enact legislation for working parents and caretakers, but the demographics of employees wanting flexibility aren't just those with kids. This will be an employee retention advantage for companies, and an opportunity for job seekers to ask for a more accommodating work situation.
2. Staffing companies will become less transactional and more like long-term "agents" for job seekers. Most professionals realize the value of working with a recruiter when they need a job -- that certainly makes sense. But as the employment landscape shifts to focus on filling major gaps in skills and worker availability, staffing firms will want to keep tabs on the very best talent. Building an ongoing relationship and discussing ideal job prospects periodically with recruiters -- even when you aren't looking for a job -- will keep a professional top of mind should an opportunity come available. This will be a win/win/win for future job seekers, recruiters and the companies they serve.
3. Changes brought on by the Affordable Care Act will lead companies to staff in more non-traditional ways. Aside from whether or not a company will offer health benefits with a job, it might not be obvious how this is an important consideration for the job seeker. But here it is. There are endless unknowns around the long-term effects of the Affordable Care Act which is making companies wary of how they structure their employment model. I don't think it will reduce the rate at which companies hire as much as how they do it. Job seekers interested in working non-traditional jobs (whether related to time, place or duration) will have more doors opened by companies looking for different ways to employ. This will allow companies to fill their ranks, and offer more broad-minded professionals a chance to work.
The main message here: Keep an open mind to the options. There are all kinds of opportunities for company and job seeker alike -- small organizations and large companies, the employed and unemployed, Millennials and Boomers, working parents and those wanting to "opt in" -- by just looking at the way we work a little differently.
Our recent Mom Corps survey found that nearly half (48 percent) of all working adults surveyed agree that they would consider alternative work options like temping, contracting, part-time or a consulting gig instead of a full-time job. And there are all kinds of reasons for this, both personally and professionally motivated -- flexibility needs, a desire to vary expertise, making a career change, wanting to get back into a professional environment, etc. Professionals can work on a project basis to gain a varied skill set, or they can work in a temporary role with the mindset to position themselves for permanent employment with the company.
Leveraging the natural movement of workforce and economic trends is one of the best ways to make the most of your job search. What do you predict for 2014? Do you have plans to expand your skill set or make a more work/life friendly move? Let's keep the dialogue going.
This post was originally posted as part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with our women's conference, "The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power" which will take place in New York on June 6, 2013. To read all of the posts in the series and learn more about the conference, click here. Join the conversation on Twitter #ThirdMetric.
I hope everybody has recovered from the holiday and you are ready to find your next job opportunity! Below is our latest job list update.
Don't let the holidays slow down your job search! See our most recent job status update for Los Angeles.
Do you need a lifestyle manager – someone who manages the daily personal business that so can easily bog you down? Or would you be interested in filling such a role?
In partnership with 85 Broads, a global professional women's network, we're looking for feedback on the demand for and scope of such a position.
This role would focus on the business side of the home while working with other services such as childcare and eldercare providers, housekeepers and others as needed. The responsibilities, schedule and individual needs may vary, but the end goal is the same: to allow women to lead more effective and fulfilling professional and personal lives.
Would a role like this be meaningful in your life? Let us know by taking our survey.
Name: Scott Richey
City/State: Fort Worth, TX (working in the Dallas area)
Family: Wife and one son
Education: BA - English
New Position: Director, National Accounts
Summary of your professional experience:
I have been in sales and sales management for many years. I spent 10 years at a locally based major company where I began as a route sales person and ended up running a sales division from the corporate office. I worked for a large import company where I managed sales for a division across the United States. I have also owned my own company where I designed strategy, trained managers and taught people how to be more efficient with the resources that they already had. I work for a relatively new company that is growing rapidly and I love the challenges and dynamics of a fast expanding organization.
Why did you turn to Mom Corps?
I found them on LinkedIn and working with them was a wonderful experience.
How has having a flexible job through Mom Corps changed your overall work-life synthesis and your professional and/or family life.
My current position has a great deal of flexibility and while I have enjoyed that in the past it was great to be able to find a new position that allowed me to maintain my family obligations and work a schedule that was beneficial to us both.
Describe your experience working with Mom Corps?
By far the most responsive recruitment team I have ever worked with. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a new position.
What is your go-to stress reliever?
Loud music and great literature from the 20’s.
Summarize your overall experience with Mom Corps.
A wonderfully professional and responsive organization that listens to their candidates and communicates quickly with their clients’ needs and requests to make a match. I have already passed along contact information multiple times to people that I know are looking for a better position.
Thanks to everyone who participated in our November 6 Twitter chat on reentering the workforce. Career coach Hallie Crawford and Mom Corps CEO Allison O’Kelly shared tips for career planning, resume writing, networking and more. In case you missed it, here are their top 10 tips.
- Start by evaluating what you want professionally and what you can commit to personally. This will help you set realistic expectations and criteria for evaluating opportunities.
- Next, understand your skills. Make a list of your expertise from previous jobs, community commitments, etc., and ask your friends what they see as your strengths. Look for opportunities that match these skills.
- Fill the gaps in your resume with strategic volunteering and contract work. Note the word "strategic" – look for opportunities that are relevant to the career you want to pursue or will help build skills you are lacking. Resume gaps are better than irrelevant fluff.
- Network! Start small by letting your friends know you're looking. And remember – everything you do can be networking, from standing on the sidelines at your child's ballgame to waiting in line at the coffee shop.
- Consider working with a recruiter – they have access to unlisted jobs.
- Look for stepping stones. Your first job when you reenter the workforce may not meet every single standard you desire, but look at its long-term potential and whether it will get you closer to your ideal career.
- Look into internships and returnships in addition to permanent positions. Selected strategically and with clear expectations, these can be just the refresher you need to get back into the workforce.
- Create or update your LinkedIn profile, using keywords relevant to your field and desired job. Recruiters see LinkedIn as an invaluable tool for finding qualified professionals.
- Don't upload your resume as a PDF – it's not searchable!
- Don't apologize for your choices! A gap in your resume is only a big deal if you make it one.
If you're considering re-entering the workforce, what questions do you have? What topics would you like us to cover in future Twitter chats?
A new study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development confirms that the United States is facing a skills gap when compared with the labor force of other countries. Our literacy and problem solving skills ranked average, at best, and only two countries of the 22 studied performed worse than the U.S. when it came to math skills.
Couple this skills gap with the "digital divide" in which women make up just 25 percent of the workforce in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs, and it's clear that now is the time to help women obtain the skills they need to enter these careers.
As U.S. companies struggle to fill jobs in the technology sector, Mom Corps wants to provide the education and resources our candidates need to help fill this gap. We've applied for a Chase Small Business grant to help us do just that, but we need your help to be considered. Please take 30 seconds to vote for us so that we can make it in front of the judging panel.
As we look to develop such a program, we want to hear from you. What skills would help you pursue your desired career?
October is National Work and Family Month. Some organizations have used this as the catalyst for launching initiatives, such as Working Mother's National Flex Day on Oct. 15. Others are taking this opportunity to advance the conversation around helping employees reduce work life conflict. Our efforts centered on promoting awareness of work options and encouraging professionals to ask for what they need in terms of work/life alignment.
Recently, we commissioned our third annual workplace survey which aimed to take a comprehensive look at the perceptions and preferences of working adults in the U.S. related to workplace flexibility and work/life choices. While flexibility is a priority for all, among the new statements posed this year, we found something interesting: 80 percent of working parents say they have "at least a little" flexibility in their current job. That number rises a little each year.
The collection of results is where the big picture comes into focus. The U.S. workplace is undergoing a shift from 9-5 as the exclusive norm to having "alternative" or "non-traditional" ways of working become more widely accepted and implemented. When asked if they prefer to work a traditional 9-5 workday, nearly half (46%) of working adults disagree, indicating they would prefer some level of alternative work arrangement. This is slightly more than our findings in 2012, when 44 percent of respondents disagreed with the statement.
To further illustrate the shift taking place, nearly half (48%) of working adults agree they would consider alternative work options (such as temping, contracting, part-time or consulting) instead of a traditional full-time job in order to better achieve work/life balance. In addition, 58 percent of working adults agree they would get more work done if they had the ability to work from home occasionally, compared to 53 percent in 2012. This tells me, a growing number of employees don't feel the need to clock in at nine and out at five to get their jobs done.
After three years of doing this survey, we're finding the trends and attitudinal shifts to be noteworthy. (If you are interested in the details of the survey, feel free to write a comment and we can get them to you.) The statistics and our other findings lead to many conclusions about how flexibility fits into the workplace, our personal lives and the decisions we make. We are at an interesting middle point right now. Many U.S. workers are willing to give up salary and make job decisions based on flexibility, while at the same time feel it might negatively affect their career path. We see more employees asking for the work situation they need and more companies offering flexibility as a proven talent management strategy. But we aren't there yet.
Four out of five working parents have access to flexibility. Shouldn't you, if you want it? If flexibility is being offered this widely, yet perhaps you're feeling stuck, there are options. Some may be more difficult to come by than others, but it's at least worth looking into. Let this Work and Family Month commemorate the year you asked for what you want and need in terms of work/life alignment.
Have you found it? We are asking for people of all walks of life to share their story of how they make work work for them. We would love to hear yours!
As originally published on our Huffington Post blog: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allison-okelly/four-out-of-5-working-parents-have-this-at-work_b_4136663.html
Mom Corps was proud to be part of the first annual National Flex Day on October 15. As part of the celebration, our CEO and founder, Allison O'Kelly, participated in Working Mother's Facebook Q and A on flexible work, and we heard a few common themes when it comes to flexibility:
- There is no one way to flex. Participants in the chat shared dozens of schedules that can work – working from home on Fridays, working longer shifts fewer days of the week and full-time teleworking were all options, but sometimes it's as simple as knowing that you can work remotely while a loved one is in the hospital or have the flexibility to make a doctor's appointment in the middle of the day.
- Communication is key to success. Send emails and texts, call your colleagues and use instant messaging tools to be visible to your team and manager.
- There is still fear when it comes to flex. We're working to build awareness about the benefits of flex through events like National Flex Day, but in the meantime, consider starting with a trial run to test out flexible schedules.
- Flexibility = productivity. Our clients regularly tell us that our candidates get more done in a shorter amount of time than their employees who don't work flexible schedules, and participants in the Facebook chat agreed. They are more focused and more efficient than when they were working traditional schedules.
Check out the whole conversation on Facebook, and let us know if you have any additional questions.
Awareness is important … it's the first step to creating change. That is why we're excited to be partnering with Working Mother magazine on its first-ever National Flex Day on October 15th. Within the larger context of National Work and Family Month recognized each October, National Flex Day gives us the opportunity to celebrate something we at Mom Corps are passionate about: finding new ways to live a more fulfilled life through workplace flexibility.
As an advocate, you can find few more active on this topic than Working Mother. Flexibility isn't just for parents, though. In fact, our recent Mom Corps survey found 80 percent of working adults agree that flexibility is just as important for non-parents as it is for parents. Of course it is. So this day is for anyone who works or is thinking about going to work, and looking for options.
Join me this Tuesday in honoring National Flex Day and what it represents. And if you are available, I invite you to tune in to the Facebook Q&A panel where I'll be answering questions on work/life satisfaction, changing your life plans, and attitudes around flexibility in general alongside other thought leaders on the topic. It takes place on Oct. 15th at 2:30 pm EST and is hosted by Working Mother magazine. You can find it via this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/462078847239558/
If you're passionate about advancing the discussion too, here are three ways from WorkingMother.com to celebrate National Flex Day:
- Support National Flex Day by sharing your flex story on Working
Mother’s Facebook page. Be sure to tag Mom Corps too to tell us how flexibility has helped you thrive—or what the lack of flex means to you, your family and your career.
- Visit workingmother.com/flex to download the National Flex Day badge. Post, tweet and pin the badge on your social media feeds to spread the word that flexibility is not only important—it’s a necessity.
- Encourage your company to join with the Working Mother 100 Best
Companies to demonstrate their support for National Flex Day by tweeting and posting our badge. (Need a little firepower to increase flex visibility at your job? Visit the National Flex Day hub at workingmother.com/flex.)
I hope you will take this opportunity to applaud your own work/life
successes and seek out other ways to support the movement and create new
realities around a rewarding work life, a fulfilling personal life and a deeper
connection between the two. Enjoy the day!
Allison O’Kelly, founder/CEO of Mom Corps, @AllisonOKelly