The publication EfficientGov indicates the following: “The opioid crisis is creating a workforce epidemic leading to labor shortage and workplace safety and performance challenges.”

Opioid-related deaths have reached an all-time high in the United States. More than 47,000 people died in 2014, and the numbers are rising. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this month released prescribing guidelines to help primary care physicians safely treat chronic pain while reducing opioid dependency and abuse. Given that the guidelines are not binding, how will the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services make sure they make a difference? What can payers and providers do to encourage a countrywide culture shift?

The opioid epidemic is also having widespread effects on many industries relative to labor shortages, workplace safety and worker performance.  Managers and owners are trying to figure out methods to deal with drug-addicted workers and job applicants.  HR managers cite the opioid crisis as one of their biggest challenges. Applicants are unwilling or unable to pass drug tests, employees are increasingly showing signs of addiction on the job and there are workers with opioid prescriptions having significant performance problems.

Let’s take a very quick look at only three employers and what they say about the crisis.

  • Clyde McClellan used to require a drug test before people could work at his Ohio pottery company, which produces 2,500 hand-cast coffee mugs a day for Starbucks and others. Now, he skips the tests and finds it more efficient to flat-out ask applicants: “What are you on?”
  • At Homer Laughlin China, a company that makes a colorful line of dishware known as Fiesta and employs 850 at a sprawling complex in Newell, W.V., up to half of applicants either fail or refuse to take mandatory pre-employment drug screens, said company president Liz McIlvain. “The drugs are so cheap and they’re so easily accessible,” McIlvain, a fourth-generation owner of the company, said. “We have a horrible problem here.”
  • “That is really the battlefield for us right now,” said Markus Dietrich,global manager of employee assistance and work-life services at chemical giant DuPont, which employs 46,000 worldwide.

As you might suspect, the epidemic is having a devastating effect on companies — large and small — and their ability to stay competitive. Managers and owners across the country are at a loss in how to deal with addicted workers and potential workers, calling the issue one of the biggest problems they face. Applicants are increasingly unwilling or unable to pass drug tests; then there are those who pass only to show signs of addiction once employed. Even more confounding: how to respond to employees who have a legitimate prescription for opioids but whose performance slips.  There are those individuals who have a need for pain-killers and to deny them would be difficult, but how do you deal with this if you are a manager and fear issues and potential law suites when there is over use?

The issue is amplifying labor shortages in industries like trucking, which has had difficulty for the last six (6) years finding qualified workers and drivers.  It is also pushing employers to broaden their job searches, recruiting people from greater distances when roles can’t be filled with local workers. At stake is not only safety and productivity within companies — but the need for humans altogether, with some manufacturers claiming opioids force them to automate work faster.

One corporate manager said: “You’re going to see manufacturing jobs slowly going away for, if nothing else, that reason alone.   “It’s getting worse, not better.”

Economists have noticed also. In Congressional testimony earlier this month, Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen related opioid use to a decline in the labor participation rate. The past three Fed surveys on the economy, known as the Beige Book, explicitly mentioned employers’ struggles in finding applicants to pass drug tests as a barrier to hiring. The surveys, snapshots of economic conditions in the Fed’s twelve (12) districts, don’t mention the type of drugs used.   A Congressional hearing in June of this year focused on opioids and their economic consequences, Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine estimated that forty (40) percent of applicants in the state either failed or refused a drug test. This prevents people from operating machinery, driving a truck or getting a job managing a McDonald’s, he said.

OK, what should a manufacturer do to lessen or hopefully eliminate the problem?  There have been put forth several suggestions, as follows:

Policy Option 1: Medical Education– Opioid education is crucial at all levels, from medical school and residency, through continuing education; and must involve primary care, specialists, mental health providers, pharmacies, emergency departments, clinics and patients. The push to increase opioid education must come from medical schools, academic medical centers, accrediting organizations and possibly state legislatures.

Policy Option 2: Continuing Medical Education– Emphasize the importance of continuing medical education (CME) for practicing physicians. CME can be strengthened by incorporating the new CDC guidelines, and physicians should learn when and how to safely prescribe these drugs and how to handle patients with drug-seeking behavior.

Policy Option 3: Public Education– Emphasize the need to address patient demand, not just physician supply, for opioids. It compared the necessary education to the campaign to reduce demand for antibiotics. The public needs to learn about the harms as well as the benefits of these powerful painkillers, and patients must understand that their pain can be treated with less-dangerous medications, or nonpharmacological interventions like physical therapy or acupuncture. Such education could be spearheaded by various physician associations and advocacy groups, with support from government agencies and officials at HHS and elsewhere.

Policy Option 4: Removing Perverse Incentives and Payment Barriers– Prescribing decisions are influenced by patient satisfaction surveys and insurance reimbursement practices, participants said. Patient satisfaction surveys are perceived — not necessarily accurately — as making it harder for physicians to say “no” to patients who are seeking opioids. Long-standing insurance practices, such as allowing only one pain prescription to be filled a month, are also encouraging doctors to prescribe more pills than a patient is likely to need — adding to the risk of overuse, as well as chance of theft, sale or other diversion of leftover drugs.

Policy Option 5: Solutions through Technology– Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) and Electronic Health Records (EHR) could be important tools in preventing opioid addiction, but several barriers stand in the way. The PDMP data are incomplete; for instance, a physician in Washington, D.C., can’t see whether a patient is also obtaining drugs in Maryland or Virginia. The records are not user friendly; and they need to be integrated into EHRs so doctors can access them both — without additional costs piled on by the vendors. It could be helpful if certain guidelines, like defaults for dosing and prescribing, were baked into the electronic records.

Policy Option 6: Access to addiction treatment and reducing stigma—There is a need to change how the country thinks about — and talks about — addiction and mental illness. Substance abuse treatment suffers when people with addiction are treated as criminals or deviants. Instead, substance abuse disorder should be treated as an illness, participants recommended. High deductibles in health plans, including Obamacare exchange plans, create another barrier to substance abuse treatment.

CONCLUSIONS:  I don’t really know how we got here but we are a country with a very very “deep bench”.  We know how to do things, so let’s put all of our resources together to solve this very troublesome problem.


At one time in the world there were only two distinctive branches of engineering, civil and military.

The word engineer was initially used in the context of warfare, dating back to 1325 when engine’er (literally, one who operates an engine) referred to “a constructor of military engines”.  In this context, “engine” referred to a military machine, i. e., a mechanical contraption used in war (for example, a catapult).

As the design of civilian structures such as bridges and buildings developed as a technical discipline, the term civil engineering entered the lexicon as a way to distinguish between those specializing in the construction of such non-military projects and those involved in the older discipline. As the prevalence of civil engineering outstripped engineering in a military context and the number of disciplines expanded, the original military meaning of the word “engineering” is now largely obsolete. In its place, the term “military engineering” has come to be used.

OK, so that’s how we got here.  If you follow my posts you know I primarily concentrate on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professions.  Engineering is somewhat uppermost since I am a mechanical engineer.

There are many branches of the engineering profession.  Distinct areas of endeavor that attract individuals and capture their professional lives.  Several of these are as follows:

  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Engineering Physics
  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Petroleum Engineering
  • Materials Engineering

Of course, there are others but the one I wish to concentrate on with this post is the growing branch of engineering—Biomedical Engineering. Biomedical engineering, or bioengineering, is the application of engineering principles to the fields of biology and health care. Bioengineers work with doctors, therapists and researchers to develop systems, equipment and devices in order to solve clinical problems.  As such, the possibilities of a bioengineer’s charge are as follows:

Biomedical engineering has evolved over the years in response to advancements in science and technology.  This is NOT a new classification for engineering involvement.  Engineers have been at this for a while.  Throughout history, humans have made increasingly more effective devices to diagnose and treat diseases and to alleviate, rehabilitate or compensate for disabilities or injuries. One example is the evolution of hearing aids to mitigate hearing loss through sound amplification. The ear trumpet, a large horn-shaped device that was held up to the ear, was the only “viable form” of hearing assistance until the mid-20th century, according to the Hearing Aid Museum. Electrical devices had been developed before then, but were slow to catch on, the museum said on its website.

The works of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison on sound transmission and amplification in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were applied to make the first tabletop hearing aids. These were followed by the first portable (or “luggable”) devices using vacuum-tube amplifiers powered by large batteries. However, the first wearable hearing aids had to await the development of the transistor by William Shockley and his team at Bell Laboratories. Subsequent development of micro-integrated circuits and advance battery technology has led to miniature hearing aids that fit entirely within the ear canal.

Let’s take a very quick look at several devices designed by biomedical engineering personnel.

MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING:

POSITION EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY OR (PET) SCAN:

NOTE: PET scans represent a different technology relative to MRIs. The scan uses a special dye that has radioactive tracers. These tracers are injected into a vein in your arm. Your organs and tissues then absorb the tracer.

BLOOD CHEMISTRY MONOTORING EQUIPMENT:

ELECTROCARDIOGRAM MONITORING DEVICE (EKG):

INSULIN PUMP:

COLONOSCOPY:

THE PROFESSION:

Biomedical engineers design and develop medical systems, equipment and devices. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this requires in-depth knowledge of the operational principles of the equipment (electronic, mechanical, biological, etc.) as well as knowledge about the application for which it is to be used. For instance, in order to design an artificial heart, an engineer must have extensive knowledge of electrical engineeringmechanical engineering and fluid dynamics as well as an in-depth understanding of cardiology and physiology. Designing a lab-on-a-chip requires knowledge of electronics, nanotechnology, materials science and biochemistry. In order to design prosthetic replacement limbs, expertise in mechanical engineering and material properties as well as biomechanics and physiology is essential.

The critical skills needed by a biomedical engineer include a well-rounded understanding of several areas of engineering as well as the specific area of application. This could include studying physiology, organic chemistry, biomechanics or computer science. Continuing education and training are also necessary to keep up with technological advances and potential new applications.

SCHOOLS OFFERING BIO-ENGINEERING:

If we take a look at the top schools offering Biomedical engineering, we see the following:

  • MIT
  • Stanford
  • University of California-San Diego
  • Rice University
  • University of California-Berkley
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Michigan—Ann Arbor
  • Georgia Tech
  • Johns Hopkins
  • Duke University

As you can see, these are among the most prestigious schools in the United States.  They have had established engineering programs for decades.  Bio-engineering does not represent a new discipline for them.  There are several others and I would definitely recommend you go online to take a look if you are interested in seeing a complete list of colleges and universities offering a four (4) or five (5) year degree.

SALARY LEVELS:

The median annual wage for biomedical engineers was $86,950 in May 2014. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest ten (10) percent earned less than $52,680, and the highest ten (10) percent earned more than $139,350.  As you might expect, salary levels vary depending upon several factors:

  • Years of experience
  • Location within the United States
  • Size of company
  • Research facility and corporate structure
  • Bonus or profit sharing arrangement of company

EXPECTATIONS FOR EMPLOYMENT:

In their list of top jobs for 2015, CNNMoney classified Biomedical Engineering as the 37th best job in the US, and of the jobs in the top 37, Biomedical Engineering 10-year job growth was the third highest (27%) behind Information Assurance Analyst (37%) and Product Analyst (32%). CNN previously reported Biomedical Engineer as the top job in the US in 2012 with a predicted 10-year growth rate of nearly 62% ‘Biomedical Engineer’ was listed as a high-paying low-stress job according to Time magazine.  There is absolutely no doubt that medical technology will advance as time go on so biomedical engineers will continue to be in demand.

As always, I welcome your comments.

MILLENNIALS

September 18, 2016


One of my clients ask that I help him with structuring a web site and application software (APP) that addresses the wishes and needs of millennials. We are talking about finances, health-related issues, vacation sites, dietary concerns, etc etc.    I am the furthest thing from being in that age group.  Even our three children are somewhat older, so I had to do research to see just how these people are.  It’s proper to start with a definition.

DEFINITION:   The term Millennials is usually considered to apply to individuals who reached adulthood around the turn of the 21st century. The precise delineation varies from one source to another, however. Neil Howe and William Strauss, authors of the 1991 book Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069, are often credited with coining the term. Howe and Strauss define the Millennial cohort as consisting of individuals born between 1982 and 2004.

Other proposed dates for Millennials:

  • According to Iconoclast, a consumer research firm, the first Millennials were born in 1978.
  • Newsweek magazine reported that the Millennial generation was born between 1977 and 1994.
  • In separate articles, the New York Times pegged the Millennials at 1976-1990 and 1978-1998.
  • A Time magazine article placed the Millennials at 1980-2000.

Overall, the earliest proposed birthdate for Millennials is 1976 and the latest 2004. Given that a familial generation in developed nations lies somewhere between 25 and 30 years, we might reasonably consider those the start and end points.

There is a great deal of variation from one individual to another within any generational cohort. Nevertheless, the particular environment for any generation affects those individuals in ways that are observable as broad tendencies. This definition of the term discusses those reported tendencies for Millennials in the workplace, Millennials and technology, Millennials and culture.  I suppose the actual dates given above sufficiently bracket the dates although I personally accept the dates given by Howe and Strauss because they “coined” the phrase.

CHARACTERISTICS:  If you are going to categorize and classify a particular group of people you need to do so with other that dates of birth.  Characteristics of the millennial class are typically taken as follows:

  • Fifty (50) percent of Millennials consider themselves politically unaffiliated. This I find to be really interesting but certainly lends itself to understanding why Senator Bernie Sanders became the poster-child for the millennial group.
  • Twenty-nine (29) percent consider themselves religiously unaffiliated. The percentage of individuals not professing affiliation has been dropping over the years.
  • They have the highest average number of Facebook friends, with an average of 250 friends vs. Generations X’s 200. This generation LIVES on social media.  They derive most of their news and information through social media sites.
  • Fifty-five (55) percent have posted a selfie or more to social media sites versus twenty (20) percent of Generation X.
  • Eight (8) percent of Millennials claim to have sexted, whereas thirty (30) percent claim to have received sexts. I think this is a horrible trend but apparently this is the manner in which “communication”, at least for some is carried out today.
  • They send a median of fifty (50) texts a day. From what I have seen this is grossly underestimate.
  • As of 2012, only nineteen (19) percent said that, generally, others can be trusted. This, to me, is truly sad and means they do not have individuals, for the most part, that can keep a confidence. Really sad!!!!!!
  • There are about seventy-six (76) million Millennials in the United States (based on research using the years 1978-2000).
  • Millennials are the last generation born in the 20th century.
  • Twenty percent have at least one immigrant parent.
  • Workplace satisfaction matters more to Millennials than monetary compensation and work-life balance is often considered essential.
  • Millennials tend to be skeptical about promotional material of any kind. Whether buying products and services or considering employment, Millennials are more likely to listen to their friends than to be affected by marketing or public relations material. This characteristic makes both conventional marketing and employee recruitment practices often ineffective for Millennials. This makes marketing a whole new ballgame for companies and advertisers.
  • Millennials grew up with computers, the Internet and the graphical user interface (GUI). This familiarity makes them adept at understanding interfaces and visual languages. They tend to adjust readily to new programs, operating systems and devices and to perform computer-based tasks more quickly than older generations. Although it’s been proven that multitasking is not usually an effective way to work.
  • Millennials may be the employees that are most likely to pull it off.  I find this to be fascinating.
  • The Millennials have shown in survey to have the least faith in the institutions of America. Conversely, they also show the highest support of political independents and protestor-formed governments.(Did I mention Bernie Sanders?)
  • Some say that Millennials are self-entitled narcissists. Generally, however, there does seem to be more of an emphasis on the self than in previous generations, one reason why this group has been called Generation Me.

 

SEVEN REASONS MILLENNIALS ARE THE WORST GENERATION: There are definitely those people who do not view the millennial generation as being the best, brightest and most energetic generation.  Here is what some feel this generation represents.

 

  • They Think Colbert Should Be President.According to the latest Fusion poll, Hillary Clinton handily defeats all comers among millennials. But their real preference is for Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report, who spends his time playing a mock-up of the worst stereotypes about conservatives. Nineteen (19) percent of millennials say that they’d like to see him as president, versus seventeen (17) percent each for Jon Stewart and Tina Fey. Dave Chappelle clocks in at a competitive fifteen (15) percent.
  • They Don’t Know Anything About Politics.Seventy-seven (77) percent couldn’t name a senator from their home state, according to the Fusion poll. But they do love the government – fifty-seven (57 ) percent say that government is helpful rather than harmful. In fact, according to a Reason Foundation poll from 2014, millennials hate both political parties but somehow have a higher opinion of Congress than any other age group, and forty-two (42) percent favor socialism over capitalism.
  • They Don’t Know Anything About Money.According to a 2013 Bank of America/USA Today survey, millennials say they’re smart with their cash. They’re not. Over half admit they’re “living from paycheck to paycheck,” according to CNBC.com, and “many are still living with or living off their parents.” More than one in three still draw cash or resources from mom and dad. But one in three are also saving for vacations, and they’re saving for vacations rather than homes. But good news: over eighty (80) percent say they’ll be richer than their parents.
  • They Disproportionately Oppose Vaccination.According to a recent YouGov poll, young people oppose vaccination more than any other age group. One in five millennials believe that vaccines cause autism, a scientifically-disproven nostrum trotted out by idiots in Marin County. A plurality of millennials therefore believe that government should not mandate vaccinations for diseases like measles, mumps, and whooping cough, as opposed to large majorities of those of older generations who actually remember what the world was like when people died of polio.
  • They Smoke.These medical geniuses also smoke more than other generations. According to Ipsos, twenty-three (23) percent of millennials admit to smoking, more than thirty-five to fifty-four (35-54) year old’s or even those aged fifty-five (55+). More than one in three young people admit to hiding their cigarette use from others. Because they’re responsible and all.
  • They’re Lazy.2014 YouGov poll shows that sixty-nine (69) percent of Americans think those under thirty (30) are lazy. Even a majority of young people, fifty-percent (55) percent, say that their generation is lazier than past generations. Overall, thirty-one (31) percent of people aged 18-29 think adults over thirty (30) are harder workers than they are. Sixty percent of Americans think that millennials lack purpose. It’s hard to argue when millennials are still whining about student loans and Obamacare at age twenty-six (26), which is probably why fifty-seven (57) percent of people under thirty (30) agree that they lack purpose.
  • They’re High on Self-Esteem.Thanks to their perennial adolescence, helped along by parents, media, and government, millennials believe they’re smarter than they are, and certainly wait to involve themselves in social institutions like marriage, which would require them to stop being selfish jackasses. As sociologist Jean Twenge writes, millennials are uninterested in the society around them, less likely to help the environment, less likely to “say they wanted a job that was helpful to others or was worthwhile to society.” Twenge skews left, by the way.

GENERATIONS:  If we look at generations, we see the follow:

The Depression Era

Born: 1912-1921
Coming of Age: 1930-1939
Age in 2004: 83 to 92
Current Population: 11-12 million (and declining rapidly)

World War II

Born: 1922 to 1927
Coming of Age: 1940-1945
Age in 2004: 77-82
Current Population: 11 million (in quickening decline)

Post-War Cohort

Born: 1928-1945
Coming of Age: 1946-1963
Age in 2004: 59 to 76
Current Population: 41 million (declining)

Boomers I or The Baby Boomers

Born: 1946-1954
Coming of Age: 1963-1972
Age in 2004: 50-58
Current Population: 33 million

Boomers II or Generation Jones

Born: 1955-1965
Coming of Age: 1973-1983
Age in 2004: 39 to 49
Current Population: 49 million

Generation X

Born: 1966-1976
Coming of Age: 1988-1994
Age in 2004: 28 to 38
Current Population: 41 million

Generation Y, Echo Boomers or Millenniums

Born: 1977-1994
Coming of Age: 1998-2006
Age in 2004: 10 to 22
Current Population: 71 million

Generation Z

Born: 1995-2012
Coming of Age: 2013-2020
Age in 2004: 0-9
Current Population: 23 million and growing rapidly

CONCLUSIONS:  I think we ALL have something to give.  Let’s be kind to each generation and seek to understand where they are coming from.  Their thoughts, their dreams, their ambitions, etc etc.  We are ALL in this together.

PAYCHECK 2016

August 28, 2016


The following post is taken from information furnished by Mr. Rob Spiegel of Design News Daily.

We all are interested in how we stack up pay-wise relative to our peers.  Most companies have policies prohibiting discussions about individual pay because every paycheck is somewhat different due to deductible amounts.   The number of dependents, health care options, saving options all play a role in representations of the bottom line—take-home pay.  That’s the reason it is very important to have a representative baseline for average working salaries for professional disciplines.  That is what this post is about.  Just how much should an engineering graduate expect upon graduation in the year 2016?  Let’s take a very quick look.

The average salaries for engineering grads entering the job market range from $62,000 to $64,000 — except for one notable standout. According to the 2016 Salary Survey from The National Association of Colleges and Employers, petroleum engineering majors are expected to enter their field making around $98,000/year. Clearly, petroleum engineering majors are projected to earn the top salaries among engineering graduates this year.

Petroleum Engineers

Actually, I can understand this high salary for Petroleum engineers.  Petroleum is a non-renewable resource with diminishing availability.  Apparently, the “easy” deposits have been discovered—the tough ones, not so much.  The locations for undiscovered petroleum deposits represent some of the most difficult conditions on Earth.  They deserve the pay they get.

Chemical Engineering

Dupont at one time had the slogan, “Better living through chemistry.”  That fact remains true to this day.  Chemical engineers provide value-added products from medical to material.  From the drugs we take to the materials we use, chemistry plays a vital role in kicking the can down the road.

Electrical Engineering

When I was a graduate, back in the dark ages, electrical engineers garnered the highest paying salaries.   Transistors, relays, optical devices were new and gaining acceptance in diverse markets.  Electrical engineers were on the cutting edge of this revolution.  I still remember changing tubes in radios and even TV sets when their useful life was over.  Transistor technology was absolutely earth-shattering and EEs were riding the crest of that technology wave.

Computer Engineering

Computer and software engineering are here to stay because computers have changed our lives in a remarkably dramatic fashion.  We will NEVER go back to performing even the least tedious task with pencil and paper.  We often talk about disruptive technology—game changers.  Computer science is just that

Mechanical Engineering

I am a mechanical engineer and have enjoyed the benefits of ME technology since graduation fifty years ago.  Now, we see a great combination of mechanical and electrical with the advent of mechatronics.  This is a very specialized field providing the best of both worlds.

Software Engineering

Materials Engineering

Material engineering is a fascinating field for a rising freshman and should be considered as a future path.  Composite materials and additive manufacturing have broadened this field in a remarkable fashion.  If I had to do it over again, I would certainly consider materials engineering.

Systems Engineering

Systems engineering involves putting it all together.  A critical task considering “big data”, the cloud, internet exchanges, broadband developments, etc.  Someone has to make sense of it all and that’s the job of the systems engineer.

Hope you enjoyed this one. I look forward to your comments.

THE TOP TEN

July 2, 2016


OK, you are in the process of busting your butt working towards an engineering degree, or maybe you are in summer school with one semester to go. YOU NEED A JOB because just as soon as you graduate you will have to start the process of paying off student loans. (Remember student loans?)  The web site www.engineerjobs.com     recently published a list of the top ten (10) states in which job prospects are the best.  They quantified the following:

  • Jobs per 1,000 individuals living in the state
  • Average quarterly jobs created
  • Quarterly job growth
  • Annual growth. (Please look at the percentage.)
  • Top discipline required in that state

Let’s take a quick look.

Mass

I must admit, Massachusetts really surprised me.  I had no idea that great state would be first on the list.

Maryland

VaTech

California

Washington

Colorado

Michigan

Minnesota

New Hampshire

Delaware

If we add the quarterly jobs, engineering jobs, created for the ten (10) states, we see a whopping 217,898.  That is PER QUARTER.  There are jobs available for those trained and industrious individuals willing to make the sacrifice.  Those of us who are involved with the STEM professions know there were many time we stayed at home studying on Friday and Saturday night when the “rest of the guys” were partying.  This is what it takes.  I know for a fact, if you are a high school student contemplating a career in engineering—you can do this.  If I did it, you can.  Think about the rewards and the satisfaction of having a great job and actually getting paid to perform.

TALENT TRENDS

February 22, 2016


We live in fascinating times!  Long gone are the days when individuals have only one employer.  The median number of years wage and salary workers had been with their current employer was 4.6 years in January 2014, unchanged from January 2012.  This is according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For women, the median tenure in January 2014 was 4.5 years, unchanged from January 2012. Among men, thirty percent (30%) of wage and salary workers had ten (10) years or more tenure with their current employer, compared with twenty-eight (28%) percent for women.  Median employee tenure was generally higher among older workers than younger ones. For example, the median tenure of workers ages fifty-five (55) to sixty-four (64), (10.4 years) was more than three times that of workers ages twenty-five (25) to thirty-four (34) years (3.0 years).  A larger proportion of older workers than younger workers had ten (10) years or more tenure.  Among workers ages sixty (60) to sixty-four (64), fifty-eight (58%) percent were employed for at least ten (10) years with their current employer in January 2014, compared with only twelve (12%) percent of those ages thirty (30) to thirty-four (34).

We are getting older and as aging employees retire, CEOs, presidents and human resource managers must look to younger individuals to fill the vacant positions.  This brings on fascinating challenges that certainly must be met.  Just what are the TOP TALENT TRENDS?  Let’s take a look.

  • INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT)— There is absolutely no doubt about it, IoT is the next technology mega-trend affecting the entire business spectrum. IoT is a network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics to collect and exchange data.  All sorts of data.  We see more and more “things” being connected to the internet each day. Every design manager recognizes this fact.  Companies are racing to make this happen.   Workers will have to develop new skills to meet the challenges of this environment.  People who know how to write code as well as hardware specialists will have to get on board for this revolution in products. Its coming and in many cases, already here.
  • THE BOOMERANG EMPLOYEE—An employee who leaves your company and then returns at a later time is called a boomerang employee. There, of course, reasons why an employee leaves; i.e. additional education, bad chemistry between manager and employee, great opportunities elsewhere, etc.  Seventy-six percent (76%) of employers say they are more accepting to rehire an employee is that employee did not create real issues during his original time with the company.   Rehiring a former employee can make sense.  They are familiar with company culture, may not require much training, and bring with them new perspectives.
  • GENERATION “Z” ENTERING THE WORKFORCE—Generation “Z” is the generation born between 1994 and 2004. According to Forbes, in 2015 Generation Z made up twenty-five percent (25%) of the U.S. population, making them a larger cohort than the baby boomersor millennials.  Frank N. Magid Associates estimates that in the United States, fifty-five percent (55%) of Generation Z are Caucasian, twenty-four percent (24%) are Hispanic, fourteen percent (14%) are African-American, four percent (4%) are Asian, and four percent (4%) are multiracial or other.

Non-traditional households are one of the most prominent features associated with Generation Z’s familial culture. In the 2010s, fewer women are having children (around 80 percent of those of childbearing age, against 90 percent in the 1970s), and those who do have fewer children at a later age.   Marriage rates have fallen as well as divorce rates, which are still relatively high. According to the U.S. census of 2010, both women and men get married at a later age– women’s first marriage averaging to the age of twenty-six (26) and men’s to the age of twenty-nine (29). This is due to the popular idea of becoming financially and emotionally independent before beginning a life with a significant other or children. Multiracial families have also become very prevalent.  In the U.S. census of 2001, 6.8% of people under the age of eighteen (18) claimed to be more than one race.  In addition to an increase in multiracial families, there are more same-sex marriages and families in communities across the country.  This is GEN “Z” and they are looking for employment.

  • HYBRID TALENT DEMAND—I think this is a big one. Hybrid jobs are the future of jobs.  Andy Holt, the past president of the University of Tennessee told the graduating class: “Know something about everything and everything about something”.  This in a nutshell is hybrid knowledge.  A hybrid employee is considered both a generalist and a specialist.  With a hybrid employee, employers are basically getting two people for the price of one.
  • INDUSTRY GROWTH CREATING NEED FOR FLEXIBLE SKILLS DEVELOPMENT—Accelerated growth produces the great need for an employee to be flexible relative to needed training and on-the-floor-experience. If an employee is not willing to learn, thus retrain—don’t hire him or her.
  • LONGER HIRING PROCESS CONTINUES—The time to fill a given job is lengthening. In April of 2015, the average job was vacant for 27.3 days before being filled.  This nearly doubles the 15.3 days it took prior to 2009. Better hires come out of the process but it does take time—much more time.
  • OFFICE DESIGN IS BEING USED TO ATTRACT TALENT—I find this one to be fascinating. Studies have shown that by transforming the look of the workplace, companies can create a more effective and productive space for their workers. For that reason, many companies are focusing on redesigning their office environment as a key aspect of attracting and retaining the best talent.  Health and safety are no longer considered adequate to attract employees.  They go for ambience also.
  • MORE WORKFORCE FLEXIBILITY—With the great rise of telecommuting, globalization and new technology, workers are demanding more flexibility. It definitely has not yet been determined as to where employers draw the line and I am positive this varies from company to company. With GEN Z, companies will have to bend with the winds of change and those changes are coming.
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