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Where The Jobs Are In 2012

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Reading this article -The 5 Hardest Jobs to Fill in 2012 is encouraging and frustrating.


My feeling is that there ARE experienced, skilled people out there and companies are not located where these people are. For myself, jobs are everywhere in and just outside the Philadelphia area. However, getting to those areas from an hour away is a true hardship. There are no roads built for fast, safe, affordable (tolls) access from the outer suburbs and rural areas and the trains are not dependable due to weather. For parents who do not wish to be 2 hours commute from their children, who may have an emergency to tend to, a commute like this is a factor in choosing employment.


What amazes me the most is that despite how technical and advanced these companies claim to be, most of them will not consider telecommuting positions. Today's technology via software, networking, etc. makes it very easy to be "in the office" from home.


I would challenge those employers to look harder, open their minds and change their policies to include men and women, parents, and those over the age of 30.


Creative Design and User Experience

After engineers, the biggest challenge for companies is finding high-quality creative design and user-experience talent. Since almost every company is trying to create a highly compelling user experience that keeps people engaged with their product, it is tough to find people who have this type of experience (especially with mobile devices including tablets) and a demonstrated track record of success.

Product Management

It is always helpful for an early-stage company to hire someone who has very relevant and specific experience in your industry. This is especially true for product management, since the person in this role will interface with customers and define the product strategy and use cases. However, be prepared, as it will be a challenge to find people with experience in these high-growth industries: consumer web, e-commerce, mobile, software as a service, and cloud computing.


I'm not talking about old-school marketing communications. Companies are looking for expert online marketers who know how to create a buzz of inbound marketing or viral traffic through the web, social media, and content discovery. Writing a good press release just doesn't cut it anymore, as everyone is looking for the savvy online marketing professional who understands how the current state of the web operates and knows how to make it work to their benefit.


Since data is becoming more and more accessible, smart companies are increasingly making decisions driven by metrics. Analytics is becoming a central hub across companies where everything (web, marketing, sales, operations) is being measured and each decision is supported by data. Thus, we are seeing a high level of demand for analytics and business intelligence professionals who almost act like internal consultants; they help determine what should be measured and then build out the capability for a company.



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I see most of the problem sitting on the employer side of the hiring expectations desk:

* they want (or at least ask for) people who can do everything including unplug the kitchen sink, offer the minimum amount of money/benefits for unrealistic (at least as specified in ads) amounts of production/responsibility. I suspect it is because (1) they treat people as a cost rather than an asset, and (2) the person setting the hiring requirements hasn't a clue.


* they do not know how to manage people in place let alone structure a telecommute framework.


* they don't actually have a strategic business plan so haven't a clue who they need to accomplish some vague or undefined tactical goal. This is especially obvious in social media hiring but is widespread in most/all other job categories.


* Can you say unrealistic expectations?


Online businesses are not just competing with their competitors when it comes to hiring but also with the ability of individuals to work for themselves. I rarely see this factored into the recompense offered. So long as companies try to get by on the cheap the best will not bother applying or accepting and the position will remain 'hard to fill'.

Edited by iamlost
grammatical correction

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Do you think people today in American, Uk, Canada etc are lazier?


The village I live is in the London commuter belt. People were commuting from here to London banks in the 19th Century, I in a local history book about a guy that would take a horse and carriage to the railway station each morning then commute on a steam train.


Also it was very common in the past for men to live away from home during the week to work and return at weekends. Families would often relocate for work, putting money before the stability of a child's education of proximity to friends.


Today many people seem to not want that inconvenience of travelling far for work. I am certainly one of those people! I was windering the other day what I would do (a totally hypothetical situation I should add!) if Google offered me a job. They are in the West End area of London, it would be a horrible commute. Would I do it? I have know people who commuted to London from Sheffield (3 hours) and Ashford (2 hours door to door).


As for telecommuting, certainly a tricky one. I have worked from home a few times when I was in banking, not much fun really! Generally businesses want their staff where they can see them. A lot of security issues too.

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This is a topic that's personal to me. Had I stayed working outside the home, I'd be better off financially. I've been asked to work for some gigantic companies, but they wanted me to relocate. I've been asked to work for companies outside the big city I live near (Philadelphia) but I refused, turning down huge salaries. Why?


I was laid off twice by two well known pioneering companies, and when a third (AT&T Worldnet) dropped the product I was assigned to, that was the final straw. Tech and web dev firms are not stable. In one company, my lay off was in the third round and that was when the women in my department, all working mothers, were let go. Unforgivable. They never even replaced me because nobody had my skills, which led to the final demise of that company.


I can't get to the jobs unless I want to spend 4 or 5 hours a day on a train, or 4 hours driving - 2 each way, and when traffic and weather are bad, there is no telling when I'd get there. The fastest route is not free. There are tolls to pay. With no work from home options offered, I don't bother. Companies don't try very hard to cover the wear and tear on a vehicle, tolls and gas.


I had small children in daycare. For each minute I was late to pick them up, that was an extra $5. I risked my life countless times and was the only one of the team to have to leave meetings that did not end at 5pm. The fathers had wives who took care of the kids. I was a single mom with no family living near me.


As the kids grew, it was evident that my being able to be here for them enriched their lives in many ways. They could play sports, join after school programs, and I could be a driver, get to the games, and be there in case of an injury. Even after re-marrying, I continued to work from home, because his job (and the job of my kids' Dad) were over an hour commute away one way. Move? Not everyone can stand to live in high density areas and I'm one of them. And now that my kids are grown and don't need a mother at home, I'm not about to trust a company again. They would have to meet MY terms, not the other way around.


Despite my obvious expertise, no company ever gave me a second look if I wasn't willing to move my family (away from their father), or let me work from home at least part-time. None of them.


So yes, I'm peeved at that article. I can vouch for the thousands of people in the Usability and SEO industries with enormous talent and working skills who are not employed properly because of many reasons. Another is the tendency to force the work of 2 or 3 people onto one, or once a person in tech is hired for one position, the company switches the work to be something they did not wish to do.


Clearly the issues are with tech companies who have no idea how to find and hire the cream of the crop who are more than likely in their own back yard.

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A problem i see is more and more employers using temp agencies to fill job positions. All the job postings in my area for web and internet related work (and practically everything else) is from temp agencies. They have lots of job openings to send you to, but after three months of work the company drops you and has the temp agency send someone else. Not only does this model result in lower pay (since the temp agency gets a cut) but there is no benefits or job security. Also, try running an internet marketing campaign that only lasts three months. Just when you have everything set up and running you lose the job. Now the next person comes in and redoes everything their way. No campaign has time to mature and the company suffers as a result.


Companies need to look farther ahead and be willing to invest in their employees. Instead they go for the the short term, cheap, band aid solutions that don't lead anywhere in the long run.

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A problem i see is more and more employers using temp agencies to fill job positions.


Indeed! I think I've p***ed off too many of them in my area because they would ask for the dumbest skills for the positions that had no relationship to the work. JAVA for user testing? Come on!


But yes, tech jobs fall into the hiring agencies who have no idea what the job requires and go by whatever the company tells them to look for. These companies are not writing the right job descriptions, which makes it hard to fill them.

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Kim - hi.


Interesting article and comments, (here - and there). In a strange way, my current job is a bit like a microcosm of this whole scenario.


I visit publishers and audit their magazine circulation figures. I get six months worth of jobs to do and spend the first week filling up my diary with visits. And, (like Jon pointed out), I don't like travelling if I don't have to - so for the jobs where I have to stay away a few nights, or even drive a distance on a days visit - I'll try and plan them in the spring/summer months when the weather is good, (hopefully!), and the days are longer. And I'll keep all my trips into London, (I'm about an hour or so commute into the centre of London), for the autumn/winter months - when I can take the train.


Quite a lot of my job is spent "working from home" finalising audits - connected to Head Office via a secure internet connection and intranet system.


And my job like many "regional" jobs here in England/UK don't necessarily mean relocation.


But the USA on the other hand is a different kettle of fish, (as you well know)! Without stating the obvious, (which you've mentioned when you've been asked about "relocation" by companies), is that the USA is so BIG! I had a friend of mine in California who had a "regional audit job" like me - except his region was most of the country, and he'd rack up enough airmiles to keep the NASA Mars exploration programme running for several years! (He gave that job up in the end). In the UK there is not so much need to relocate, (again depending on the role/employer), and I think employers are a bit more savvy to the use of technology for "working from home".


I did have limited experience on job hunting in the USA several years ago. Universally I found that Employment Agencies and HR depts of companies are notoriously bad at replying to applicants. No acknowledgement of receipt of application; no word if you're going to get an interview - nothing for weeks, or not at all. In comparison, (in my experience), in the UK, this is not the same case at all.


And job agencies not knowing the job and the people they should be hiring? I think, sadly, that is the case the world over. Probably best to go with keyword searches/email notifications from Monster etc than rely on someone in an agency to keep in contact with you.


Surprisingly as well in the industry in which you work I would have thought it would be ideally geared towards "working remotely" etc? In fact - there's an idea - the next time you approach a company - approach them with a "Work From Home Package" telling them how it would work for you working for them etc, (it may take a bit of research as to how they work themselves - but it could show them that you've considered their position and yours as regards employing you?




p.s. good luck! :)

Edited by send2paul

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Where I'm living now is a hub for the oil and gas business and I've been most interested in how they attract and keep the workers they want. They'll take you off the street and invest in weeks or months of training, they'll pay well including great benefits, if you live away from the area they'll pay airfare or mileage to and from your community and here (a common schedule is working 15-days on and then 6-days off) each shift, etc.


What I find intreguing about the differences in the two industries (besides that of heavy labour and/or dangerous work environment) is:

* whether workers are treated as an asset with initial training plus continual upgrading, cross-training etc. all at employer expense.

* whether companies do all that they can do to retain employees, promote from within, etc. because they understand that it costs less than training from scratch.

* whether companies actually understand their business and their clients'.

Both industries require diverse skilled professionals, there is quite a bit of mobility in the workforce, both industries are booming...yet they are poles apart in how they understand what they need or expect from and how they treat their employees.


Yes, there are tech companies that are great places to work (for at least some segments of the workforce) but from my reading and listening (and experiences prior to 5-years ago) I have to say that generally tech companies are high tech sweatshops metaphorically when not literally. A good bit of it is because they are run by young techies who seem to expect the same devotion from employees that the owners are investing (d'oh) or MBAs whose education is so last century.


One thing I find absolutely hysterical is that in our industry what one can charge is not wholely predicated by one's competence, knowledge, skill, et al but is also greatly enhanced by one's notoriety. Celebrity outsells results 10:1. At least. Welcome to the Web Zone.

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