Green Key Blog

News for the way you work

Q1 Tech Snapshot: Employment, Wages, Hours All Up

April 24th, 2014

Tech worker unemployment rateThe unemployment rate among tech professionals hit a post-recession low of 2.7% in the first quarter of the year. Among the various tech groups, web developers had the lowest unemployment rate averaging 0.7% during for the quarter. Network and systems admins were at the top with a rate of 3.2%. Tech consulting in particular has seen dramatic growth in both numbers, hours worked, and hourly earning. The 17,200 new jobs added in the first quarter brought the total of employed tech consultants to just over 1.7 million. During the quarter, hourly earnings hit an all-time high average of $42.17. while the average workweek increased to 38.8 hours.

Why It Can Make Good Sense to Hire “B” Players

April 23rd, 2014

bell curveFor your next hire, consider recruiting a “B” player.

If that sounds about as likely as responding to one of those Nigerian business emails, you should know you probably already have. What’s more, many of those other-than-top-talent workers are performing today at a level that others elsewhere — and maybe even you, too — consider “A” team work.

Even if you insist you on hiring A players, the reality — not to mention the statistical inevitability — is that there are far more “pretty good” workers than superstars. That bell curve from your grade school days applies to workforce performance: few outstanding or A grades; equally few Fs, with the great mass of workers falling between those extremes. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Forget to Make Administrative Professionals Day Special

April 21st, 2014

Ellen on admin professionals dayYou can be forgiven if you don’t know that today marks the start of Administrative Professionals Week. What you won’t be forgiven for is doing nothing special on April 23rd, which is Administrative Professionals Day.

Whether or not your admin works only for you or handles an entire group, April 23rd is the one time of the year you absolutely, positively don’t want to forget to say “Thank you.” Read the rest of this entry »

Amazon Now Has a Pay to Quit Program

April 18th, 2014

Money changing handsWould you pay someone to leave your company? Not severance or a buyout, but a check for anyone who simply wants to leave? Crazy talk? Yes, crazy like a fox.

Zappos started this whole thing years ago when it offered to pay new workers  who wanted out $100, then $500, and now a full month’s salary. When the wily, if wacky, shoe and apparel company was bought by Amazon for a cool billion, the culture and the pay to quit program came with it. Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Healthcare Usage Up For First Time In Three Years

April 17th, 2014

change in admissions and doc visitsPatients made more use of the nation’s healthcare system in 2013, increasing their spending on drugs and making more visits to specialists and hospitals for outpatient treatment.

It’s the first time in three years that healthcare utilization has risen, says the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. The Institute’s study, Medicine Use and Shifting Costs of Healthcare: A Review of the Use of Medicines in the United States in 2013, was released this week.

According to the study, Americans spent $329.2 billion on medicine last year, a 3.2% increase from 2012. The study attributes the increase fewer patent expirations (which allow lower priced generics to be sold), price increases, new medicines, and more doctor and hospital visits. Read the rest of this entry »

What to Say When the Interviewer Asks About Your Weaknesses

April 16th, 2014

greatest weakness coverA quick search on Google will give you tens of thousands of pages — and hundreds of videos, too — of help with interview questions.

Spend a little time reviewing the interview tips there and you’ll soon discover that when it comes to that favorite trap question — “What is your greatest weakness” — the conventional wisdom is to say something like “I work too hard” or to offer up a weakness that is non-essential to the job, such as “I get tense if I have to speak in front of a group.” Read the rest of this entry »

Five Questions to Help You Know What Kind of Leader You Are

April 15th, 2014

Lead positive book coverNo manager wants to be thought of as a poor leader, but how do you know if you are a good one?

Psychologist Kathryn Cramer, author of Lead Positive: What Highly Effective Leaders See, Say, and Do, says every leader has a “signature presence,” characteristics that define their style and are uniquely theirs. Biology makes us look first for problems than opportunities, a handicap that good leaders learn to overcome. Read the rest of this entry »

Companies Hiring General Counsels With Business and Legal Saavy

April 14th, 2014

Lawyer going to courtThe employment market for in-house counsel is improving as companies beef-up their legal departments. The trend is driven by both an improving economy and the desire to save on the cost of having outside counsel handle routine matters.

That’s heating up the market for attorneys, say John Okray and Diana Lai, chair and treasurer, respectively, of the Federal Bar Association Corporate and Association Counsel Division. “Whereas just a couple years ago, candidates were managing only one offer at time, now we see strong candidates with multiple offers at any given time,” they said in an interview published in Federal Lawyer. Read the rest of this entry »

Younger Hedge Funds On Decline Despite Outperforming Their Elders

April 10th, 2014

Hedge Fund performance evstments 2003-2013Young, small hedge funds outperformed their elders over the last 11 years, says data provider eVestment.

Indexing funds into three groups — up to two years, 2-5 years, and older funds — eVestment found the younger funds outperformed the other two groups in each study year. Read the rest of this entry »

America’s Second City: First In So Many Ways

April 9th, 2014

Chicago from the lakeBack in the fifties, A.J. Liebling derisively called Chicago America’s Second City (in an article for, what else, The New Yorker). Today’s Chicagoland denizens have adopted it as a point of pride, right up there with the other unofficial motto, “The Windy City.”

Don’t be fooled into thinking, though, there’s anything second rate about this big, exciting, and urbane metropolis.  Though Los Angeles has usurped Chicago’s long claim to being America’s second most populous city, the city still comes out ahead in so many ways. Read the rest of this entry »