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March 20, 2012

Headline News

Legal Watch

Trends and Research

ASA for You

Headline News


Randstad Says North America May Become Firm’s Top Market
Bloomberg (03/20/12)

Randstad Holding NV says North America may become the company’s biggest market this year because of an acquisition and faster economic growth in the U.S. than in Europe. Randstad chief executive officer Ben Noteboom points out that hiring of professionals in the information-technology, engineering, and accounting industries has been increasing, enabling the company to build on its eight consecutive quarters of U.S. sales growth. “We are almost back at the previous peak,” Noteboom says. “There is no sign that the rise in penetration will stop” as firms seek to grow while remaining flexible enough to match sudden changes in the economy.

Randstad nearly doubled its presence in the U.S. after buying Fort Lauderdale, FL-based SFN Group Inc. for $771 million last year. U.S. companies are expanding work forces as sales rise and the threat of financial contagion from a European sovereign-debt default diminishes. “Structurally you see the biggest growth in the professional segment,” says Noteboom. “Our most important stake is the information technology market in the U.S.”

Economists Offer More Pessimistic View on Manufacturing in Upcoming Report
Washington Post (03/20/12) Peter Whoriskey

Federal advisers from the Clinton and Bush administrations attributed job losses in the manufacturing industry in the 2000s to increased productivity. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures indicate that productivity more than doubled from 1991 to 2011. However, some experts believe U.S. statistics showing productivity gains in manufacturing have been miscalculated and misrepresented, noting that price savings realized from outsourcing work to other countries may have been incorrectly included in calculations of U.S. output and productivity. Some experts also note that gains in output from 2000 to 2010 were registered only when computer and electronics products were included with the rest of U.S. manufacturing.

However, they point out that computer and electronics manufacturing has shifted overseas, and gains tied to innovation have been factored into productivity calculations. Rob Atkinson of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation says the fact that U.S. manufacturers have lost their competitive advantage in the global marketplace has contributed to job losses in the industry and that government policy should be changed to bring millions of manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.


Legal Watch


Revised MA Antistaffing Bill Passes Out of Committee; Advocacy Efforts Continue
American Staffing Association (03/20/12) Stephen Dwyer

Late last week, a revised version of House Bill 1393 was passed out of the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Labor and Work Force Development. As originally drafted, HB 1393 would have prohibited staffing firms from charging permanent placement and conversion fees with respect to certain employees, potentially required in-state offices, and potentially prohibited staffing firms from sending candidate résumés to clients for purposes of generating client interest and job orders.

ASA and its affiliated chapter, the Massachusetts Staffing Association, met with the bill’s sponsor and proponents on several occasions, explaining how the original draft would harm the state’s staffing firms. As a result of these efforts, an entirely new bill was passed out of the committee.

Although the revised bill takes into account some of ASA’s and MSA’s concerns, it still would impose a significant administrative burden on law-abiding staffing firms. ASA and MSA will continue to meet with legislators to explain why the bill would harm staffing firms by imposing burdensome new requirements and detracting from their main mission of finding workers jobs.

Bill Would Protect Unemployed Job-Hunters
Riverside Press-Enterprise (California) (03/19/12) Jack Katzanek

California Assembly Bill 1450 would make employment status a protected class—along with age, race, and disability—that cannot be considered during the hiring process. If the bill passes and is signed into law, it would prohibit companies from turning away applicants because they are unemployed. The bill also would crack down on employment firms and online job boards that require candidates to be “currently employed.” New Jersey and the District of Columbia have adopted similar laws, and measures are pending in about a dozen other states.

Some who work in the human resources field say the law is not necessary. Sarah Cullins, president of staffing firm Finesse Personnel Associates, says she has never accepted a listing from a company that ruled out anyone who is currently unemployed. She says some companies could skew things the other way. A company wanting to hire someone immediately could favor someone who is unemployed and doesn’t have to give two weeks notice.

Is Your Employee Handbook Fully Protecting Your Business?
JDSupra (03/16/2012)

To protect themselves, companies must ensure their employee handbooks are updated regularly. Employee handbooks should include updated information on the Family and Medical Leave Act, including the FMLA notice poster or all the provisions found in the poster. Handbooks should also include a Fair Labor Standards Act safe harbor policy that asks employees to report all deductions they think are improper. Companies that monitor their employees’ e-mail or use of the Internet should include an employee authorization within the employee acknowledgement.

In Michigan, companies should have a Social Security privacy policy that outlines how the company obtains, uses, disseminates, and disposes of records that contain employee Social Security numbers; Michigan companies may also want to include an employee consent for a shortened statute of limitations.

Consider Having a Witness to Employee Meetings
Business Management Daily (03/18/12)

Having a witness during any employee meetings involving bias complaints can help protect the company during potential litigation.

In a recent case, Johnson v. Labor Force, Ronald Johnson, an African-American employee who worked for a temporary staffing firm, alleged that he was paid less than employees who were not African American. He asked for a meeting with the company owner and said he told the owner about his suspicions and informed the owner that he planned to file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Johnson was allegedly told that he did not need to return to work, so he sued.

The owner said a conversation about discrimination or equal employment opportunity complaints never took place. The court said a jury should determine who was telling the truth.

IRS Releases a YouTube Video Announcing Its Voluntary Classification Settlement Program to Employers
Lexology (03/19/12) Chris Pelkey

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has introduced its Voluntary Classification Settlement Program with a YouTube video geared toward employers uncertain about whether workers should be designated as employees or contractors. At less than two minutes long, the video provides an overview of the VCSP and stresses that the program offers relief to employers who voluntarily reclassify workers as employees. Relief will be granted to employers who consistently classified workers as contractors or nonemployees, filed Forms 1099 for these workers, are not being audited by the IRS, and are not being audited by the U.S. Department of Labor or a state agency regarding worker classification. Employers that wish to apply for relief should access IRS Form 8952 on the agency’s Web site.


Trends and Research


Tatum Survey of Financial Executives Shows U.S. Recovery Back on Track
Sacramento Bee (03/19/12)

The professional services firm Tatum reports that its first quarter survey of financial executives reveals improving business conditions, a trend that has continued since November 2011. The percentage of financial executives reporting improvements climbed to 39% in March from 33% in February and 32% in January. “The theme we see this month is that the uncertainty around a broadening economic recovery seems to be dissipating,” says Sam Norwood, senior partner and editor of the Tatum Survey. The survey shows a slight jump in employment, with firms expecting to increase hiring.

2012’s College Graduates Have More Job Prospects, Recruiters Say
Los Angeles Times (03/20/12)

The job market for this year’s college graduates appears to be on the upswing as economic forecasts show seniors will have a better shot at employment than in past years and more businesses are recruiting at campus job fairs this spring. A recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that businesses expect to hire 9.5% more college graduates this year than last, broadening a recovery since 2009 when such hiring plummeted 22%. “Hiring projections by industry indicate positive movement nearly across the board,” the report says, with the strongest demand for business, engineering, and computer science majors.

The Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University, meanwhile, expects hiring of new college graduates to rise 7%. “Employers are now more optimistic about the college labor market than at any time since 2007,” its report states. Salaries of recent college graduates average about $36,000 a year, varying by industry and major, according to the report.

Accountemps Survey: One in Three Employers Lacks Orientation Program for New Hires
Accountemps News Release (03/20/12)

According to a recent survey from Accountemps, 34% of 500 human resource managers surveyed say their companies do not offer a formal orientation program to help prepare new staff. However, 67% of small firms (20 to 49 employees) have a formal orientation program, compared with 52% of large companies (1,000 or more employees). HR executives whose companies offer an orientation program say the greatest benefits of the program are that new employees: better understand the company’s values, guidelines, and expectations (35%); make positive contributions more quickly (20%); feel a connection with the company more quickly (19%); and are better prepared for long-term success with the company (17%).

MBA Hiring Continues to Grow
U.S. News & World Report (03/19/12) Laura McMullen

An increasing number of new graduates with masters degrees in business administration are landing jobs, compared with the past two years, according to an analysis of U.S. News & World Report data. Of the business schools providing job placement data for their 2011 graduates of full-time MBA programs, 78.8% of those graduates were hired within three months of graduation. By comparison, 75.7% of 2010 graduates and 70.8% of 2009 graduates landed a job within three months of graduation. These average percentage gains reflect a 4.1% growth in the MBA hiring market from 2010, and an 11.3% increase from 2009.

Many companies are expressing their interest in MBAs by approaching them at school. Approximately 70% of the 102 business programs surveyed for a February 2012 MBA Career Services Council report experienced increased on-campus recruiting in 2011. Specifically, those on-campus recruiters want MBAs to fill technology positions. More than 60% reported an increase in recruiting for full-time technology positions in 2011, up from the 37% gain technology job recruitment seen in 2010.

How to Get a Hot Job in Big Data
Network World (03/19/12) Dan Tynan

Big data has spawned new hybrid jobs that combine business knowledge and information technology tools. “Marketing and research people are becoming adept at pulling data from one system, translating it, and loading it into another system,” says Michael Dsupin, chief executive of the tech staffing firm Talener. “Everything these days is about harvesting the data out there.” Tracey Wilen-Daugenti, managing director of the Apollo Research Institute, says toolmaking, auto repair, health care, and other industries are being changed by technology, noting, “Every industry will require smart technology people with subject-matter expertise who can create new devices and think through all ways they might be used.” Some of these hybrid jobs involve data mining, data visualization, data analysis, data manipulation, data discovery, and handling data deluge. However, Dsupin does not think IT workers will be replaced.


ASA for You


ASA Announces Sections Policy Council Chairmen and Vice Chairmen

ASA offers sector-specific communities, called membership sections, to represent all sectors of the staffing industry and to promote peer networking and collaboration. These sections support the broad sectors of the industry: heath care; industrial; office–administrative; professional; search and placement; and technical, IT, and scientific.

It’s free for ASA members to join one or more sections. To join a section, visit americanstaffing.net. Membership sections are sponsored by ASA corporate partner RCS Services, a pioneer in risk management strategies specific to the staffing industry’s unique challenges.

Each section is led by a policy council, composed of ASA member volunteers, that advises the ASA board of directors on sector-specific issues, coordinates section activities, and designs programs and services to meet each sector’s unique business challenges.

Congratulations to the newly appointed policy council chairmen and vice chairmen.

Health care
Chairman: Marc Bowles, chief operating office, The Delta Companies, Dallas. Vice Chairman: Cynthia Kinnas, president, National Healthcare Division, Clinical One, soon to be Randstad Healthcare, Austin, TX

Industrial
Chairman: Harvey Homsey, vice president of franchise systems, Express Employment Professionals, Oklahoma City. Vice Chairman: Nick Stallard, CSP, chief financial officer, The Reserves Network Inc., Fairview Park, OH

Office–Administrative
Chairman: Karenjo Goodwin, chief executive officer, Exact Staff Inc., Woodland Hills, CA. Vice Chairman: Steve DeVoe, CSP, vice president, Tiger Personnel Services Inc., Silver Spring, MD

Professional
Chairman: John Thomas, CSP, CTS, regional developer, Nextaff, Overland Park, KS

Search and Placement
Chairman: Jeff Hindman, CPC, CAC, president and chief executive officer, The Hindman Group Inc., Chesterfield, MO

Technical, IT, and Scientific
Chairman: Dane Reese, CSP, president, Stark, Austin, TX. Vice Chairman: Dan Muhlfelder, president and chief executive officer, LJ Gonzer Associates, Cranford, NJ
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