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January 24, 2012

Staffing Employment Up 4.0% Year-to-Year

Staffing employment in January is 4.0% higher than it was in January 2011, according to the ASA Staffing Index, and 7.5% lower than it was in December 2011. The index for January is 86, down seven points from the 93 reported for December. Typically, staffing employment peaks somewhere between mid-November and mid-December, after which it plummets unfettered for several weeks before turning upward in mid-January.
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Headline News
No More Résumés, Say Some Firms
Average Silicon Valley Tech Salary Passes $100,000
Analyst Upgrades AMN Healthcare
CRGT to Buy Federal Unit of Ciber for $40 Million
Some South Dakota Staffing Firms Upset That Wisconsin Company Awarded $5 Million Recruiting Contract
Robert Half Survey Finds Executives More Open to Salary Negotiation

Legal Watch
Efforts to Protect Jobless From Hiring Bias Spur Debate
Job Bias Claims at Record Level

Trends and Research
More Workers Moving for Out-of-State Jobs
Seniors Decide Retirement Doesn’t Suit Them, Keep Working

ASA for You
Differentiate Your Firm—ASAPro Webinar This Week
Market Your Business With Free Tools From ASA

Headline News


No More Résumés, Say Some Firms
Wall Street Journal (01/24/12) Rachel Emma Silverman

While most companies still request a résumé from those applying for a job, some are relying more on social networks, video profiles, and online quizzes to gauge candidates’ suitability for a job. IGN Entertainment Inc., a gaming and media firm, launched a program dubbed Code Foo, in which it taught programming skills to passionate gamers with little experience, paying participants while they learned. The company then posted a series of challenges on its Web site aimed at gauging candidates’ thought processes, and also asked candidates to submit a video demonstrating their love of gaming and the firm’s products. Several of the nearly 30 people eventually hired full-time were nontraditional applicants who did not attend college or who had thin work experience. “If we had just looked at their résumés at the moment we wouldn’t have hired them,” says Greg Silva, IGN’s vice president of people and places.

Average Silicon Valley Tech Salary Passes $100,000
Wall Street Journal (01/24/12) Pui-Wing Tam

A new survey from tech-jobs Web site operator Dice Holdings Inc. finds that average annual salaries for California’s Silicon Valley technology workers passed the $100,000 mark in 2011. Salaries for software and other engineering professionals in Silicon Valley increased 5.2% to an average $104,195 last year, outdoing the average 2% increase, to $81,327, in tech-workers’ salaries nationwide.

Several Web companies—such as LinkedIn Corp. and Zynga—went public in 2011, with Facebook poised for an initial public offering in 2012. Their success has sparked the creation of numerous new start-ups, which in turn has spurred a hiring war for software engineers and others. “There’s a tussle for talent growing in Silicon Valley and employers have to pay up,” says Tom Silver, a Dice senior vice president. Overall, tech-job postings in Silicon Valley on Dice increased to 5,026 earlier in January, up 26% from 3,974 a year ago, he notes, even as tech-jobs postings nationwide only increased 11% over the same period.

Analyst Upgrades AMN Healthcare
Associated Press (01/23/12)

BMO Capital Markets analyst Jeffrey Silber raised his rating on AMN Healthcare shares, saying that profit growth should improve at the San Diego-based health care staffing firm. BMO released a report saying that conditions have improved for the health care staffing industry. “While it may take some time for health care staffing to return to its pre-Great Recession levels, we believe that the worst is behind the industry and that growth could continue to accelerate in 2012—one of the only staffing sectors likely to experience that,” says Silber.

AMN has reported strong revenue growth in 2011, including a 37% increase in the third quarter. The company says it had an average of 5,300 staffers on assignment per day during the quarter, an improvement of approximately 65% from a year ago. AMN expects to complete the sale of its home health care business during the first quarter of this year.

CRGT to Buy Federal Unit of Ciber for $40 Million
CBS News (01/23/12)

Government technology contractor CRGT Inc. has signed a deal to acquire the federal division of information technology staffing company Ciber Inc. for $40 million. The deal is expected to close within 90 days. Ciber plans to use proceeds from the sale above $25 million to pay down debt.

Some South Dakota Staffing Firms Upset That Wisconsin Company Awarded $5 Million Recruiting Contract
Associated Press (01/23/12)

Several South Dakota staffing companies have expressed unhappiness with Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s decision to award a $5 million worker recruiting contract to ManpowerGroup to find 1,000 out-of-state workers in financial services, information technology, engineering, and manufacturing to move to South Dakota. Some in-state businesses say they felt shut out of the process. Five companies besides ManpowerGroup submitted bids, including three with offices in South Dakota.

Daugaard officials say the bid process followed state law. The state Legislature must approve the $5 million in spending, and some lawmakers are awaiting more information before reaching a decision. Most lawmakers say they found out about the governor’s plan the same day the contract was signed with Manpower.

Robert Half Survey Finds Executives More Open to Salary Negotiation
MarketWatch (01/24/12)

A new Robert Half International survey finds that 38% of executives interviewed said they are more willing to negotiate salary with top candidates than they were one year ago, while just 5% of respondents said they are less willing to negotiate. “Job seekers, especially those with skills in high demand, are gaining leverage in salary discussions today,” says Max Messmer, chairman and chief executive officer of Robert Half International. “Still, there are many things that can go wrong when negotiating pay, and candidates should approach these discussions with a clear understanding of how far they should take the conversation.”


Legal Watch


Efforts to Protect Jobless From Hiring Bias Spur Debate
Sacramento Bee (01/23/12) Jim Sanders

A newly proposed California bill, AB 1450, would prohibit discriminating against the jobless in hiring. College graduates, military personnel, and women returning to the work force are among groups of people affected by a blanket exclusion, says Michael Allen, a Santa Rose Democrat who is the author of the measure. Opponents of AB 1450 say that lawmakers have no business interfering in companies’ internal affairs and that the bill could prompt a flood of frivolous complaints that would be costly to investigate and difficult to prosecute. Roger Niello, president of the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, warns that barring businesses from disqualifying the jobless could tie a company’s hands in the kinds of questions asked during job interviews.

Under Allen’s bill, complaints about employers would be investigated by the state labor commissioner, while accusations about employment agencies would be handled by city attorneys or the state attorney general’s office. Even if AB 1450 gets derailed, some legal experts say companies should be careful about automatically disqualifying the unemployed. Martha West, professor emerita at the University of California Davis School of Law, says lawsuits could allege discrimination against people of color, who have significantly higher unemployment rates than whites.

Job Bias Claims at Record Level
Associated Press (01/24/12)

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports federal job discrimination complaints increased to an all-time high in 2011. The agency received nearly 100,000 charges of discrimination during the 2011 fiscal year, the most in its 46-year history. Labor experts say the increase reflects the growing diversity of the nation’s work force.

Claims of disability bias increased 2% and charges of discrimination based on age rose 1%. Claims based on race, sex, and retaliation were the charges filed most often, according to commission data. Charges of racial bias declined by 1%, while sexual discrimination claims dropped 2%, and sexual harassment claims declined 3%.


Trends and Research


More Workers Moving for Out-of-State Jobs
USA Today (01/24/12) Paul Davidson

Staffing officials and reports indicate that a moderately increasing number of Americans are moving out of state to get a job, a trend that could better match workers with positions and reduce unemployment. Many Americans have been unable to move because they cannot sell homes that have fallen in value and are worth less than their mortgages, while employers have been reluctant to pay relocation costs in an era of tighter corporate budgets.

Observers say that obstacles to mobility still exist, but are now slightly less daunting. “We’re starting to see (candidates) open up the job search to make sure they find the right position,” says Janette Marx of staffing firm Adecco. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in the 12 months ended in March, 4.8 million Americans moved to a different state, up from 4.3 million the previous 12 months. Most interstate relocations are likely job-related, says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, adding that the increase is due to a strengthening job market that offers more out-of-state opportunities. Ryan Carfley of recruiting firm Personify says that in the past six months, more firms are paying most relocation costs after declining to do so in the downturn.

Seniors Decide Retirement Doesn’t Suit Them, Keep Working
USA Today (01/24/12) Janice Lloyd

Fueled by an uncertain economy, improved health in older life, and an understanding that staying engaged leads to a better sense of well-being, Baby Boomers are increasingly working past conventional retirement age. For 2011, the labor participation rate for people age 65 years and older was 17.9%, compared with 10.8% in 1985. For people 75 years and older, the rate jumped from 4.3% in 1990 to 7.5% in 2011.

Richard Johnson, senior fellow and director of the program on retirement policy at the Urban Institute, notes that many older people in the work force have high levels of education. “It used to be older workers were much less educated than younger workers,” Johnson says. “That’s not the case now. Older workers do not face the same problems in terms of being outdated as they used to.”


ASA for You


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When you want to promote your business and the staffing industry to clients and candidates, you can get the information you need from ASA.

ASA provides members with fact sheets about the staffing industry to distribute to potential clients. Customize the fact sheets to your business by printing them on company letterhead and adding information about your firm.

This free tool is included in a marketing tool kit that ASA members can use to communicate with their employees and clients.