Sep 252012

Discouraged Workers Fall off the Reporting Radar

Finding work is tough these days, and it is even tougher for America’s young workforce. We came across a strong article on the Business Insider about the struggles of the 20-30 year old workforce in the US and thought we would pass it along. You can read the whole article here but below are some of the most powerful points:

  • Economists, analyzing government data, estimate about 4 million fewer people are in the labor force than in December 2007, primarily due to a lack of jobs rather than the normal aging of America’s population.
  • If all those so-called discouraged jobseekers had remained in the labor force, August’s jobless rate of 8.1 percent would have been 10.5 percent.
  • The labor force participation rate, or the proportion of working-age Americans who have a job or are looking for one has fallen by an unprecedented 2.5 percentage points since December 2007, slumping to a 31-year low of 63.5 percent.
  • The economy lost 8.7 million jobs in the 2007-09 recession and has so far recouped a little more than half of them.
  • Economists say jobs growth of around 125,000 per month is normally needed just to hold the jobless rate steady.
  • A pace twice that strong would be needed over a sustained period to make progress reducing the unemployment rate.
  • Last month, employers created just 96,000 jobs.
  • Last month, the proportion of 20- to 24-year-olds in the labor force was its lowest since 1972.
  • The 25-54 age group has seen a decline of 1.8 percentage points since December 2007.

Get yourself ready to find a job before you need one!

Sep 222012

GigSpire was asked:

“What are the pros of accepting a counter offer from your own company when you’ve found another job and what are the cons?”

GigSpire’s Answer:

Counter offers happen regularly, particularly if you are a good worker. The sad part is studies demonstrate that in most cases (some show more than 80%) people who accept a counter offer leave and start a new job in 6 months or less.

Here is why:

Most people choose to leave a company for more than money, status or prestige. Some of the reasons why people quit a job is a disconnect with the company culture, travel/commute, leadership and/or direction of the organization or upward mobility. Counter offers may provide the worker with more money, a new title and even more responsibility. In almost every case however, the main reason a person has decided to seek a new job cannot be resolved by a counter offer.

Once a counter offer is accepted, the joy of receiving the bump in pay or that promotion that has been promised for so long can sooth the pain of the real issue…for a time. As the “honeymoon” phase of this new situation dissipates, the real issues surface once again causing the worker to venture out into the marketplace to seek new employment…this time to get away from the true problem with the job.

The number one reason an employer will make a counter offer:

The hiring manager is caught off guard and cannot afford to have a business channel slow down while a replacement worker is sourced, hiring, trained and brought up to speed.

Counter offers are bad news because the worker now has a target on his or her back. The company now knows the person is unhappy and will most likely find a new job in the next 6 months…except now the company has time to prepare for the worker’s exodus.

All too often a person will accept a counter offer, be told they have an avenue for promotional opportunities as soon as they hire the replacement and train them…next thing you know the worker has trained his or her replacement with no real next step defined. Effectively that worker can now be released without a detriment to the functions of the business. Additionally the company that extended the original offer and was spurned by the counter offer is no longer interested in the worker.

People should realize that leaving a company is common in today’s work world, everyone leaves. Thinking about the people who will let down, projects that will go unfinished, leaving a boss “hanging”, the fear of change…all of these items become reasons for people to decide to accept a counter offer.

When a person gets a good job offer they should treat it like pulling off a bandage. Give 2 weeks notice, thank the company for the opportunity and the counter offer, decline and start the new job. We recommend our students not set themselves up for disappointment when the things that were wrong and caused them to want leave in the first place are not resolved by a counter offer.

Sep 202012
Layoff Notice

Lots of ugly news as thousands of people across the country are being pounded by layoffs. Here is a list of the top layoff actions in the news this week.




The Wall Street Journal reports that Bank of America will fire 16,000 people this year.


Siemens announced Tuesday it will layoff 407 of its 660 employees at its Fort Madison wind blade plant according to


American Airlines sent out more than 11,000 layoff warning notices, including more than 1,500 in Florida according to CBS Miami


According to Bloomsbert Businessweek, on Tuesday, Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources announced it was immediately closing eight mines — four in West Virginia, three in Virginia and one in Pennsylvania — and eliminating 1,200 jobs companywide by early 2013.


Around 150 jobs will be affected as the Faurecia plant in Dexter, MO reorganizes some of its production activities per ABC affiliate KAIT8.COM


In Washington state almost 290 at the Hanford cleanup site will get layoff notices this week according to the Tri-City Herald

So to review the industries that are being hit from the above layoffs:

  • Financial – Bank of America
  • Green Technology – Siemens
  • Transportation – American Airlines
  • Mining / Industrial / Energy – Alpha Natural Resources
  • Manufacturing / Automotive – Faurecia
  • Government – Hanford Cleanup Site

All of these industries are supposed to be in the rebound in today’s economy… Seems to us that these notices are just another reason to get yourself prepared.

Learn the skill of job search, might be you next time.

Sep 192012

GigSpire was asked:

“With the rising costs of education and the foggy job outlook,how valuable is a college degree in today’s workforce? In fields where a degree is recommended but not required, does the increased pay a degree brings worth the cost of obtaining it?”

GigSpire’s response:

Today’s job market is clouded with question marks about the value of a college education. For those who are about to enter the professional workforce, nothing is more valuable than experience. For those who are currently investing in an education, make certain to get experience related to your field of study as soon as possible. This means get internships, minor jobs and even volunteer work. That exposure to the workforce will give you an upper hand against those who have the same degree but have never worked.

There are specific careers that absolutely require an advanced education and many of these are rooted in “white collar” professions. For many jobs though, even some that state in a job description that a degree is “required,” this is not necessarily so.

More than a degree, employers want competent people who are skilled and capable to do the job successfully. Professions like sales, administrative, retail, management and many others have no relevant bearing to the attainment of a degree. The degree requirement is often just a screening tool, used by employers to find people who have the ability to finish something once it is started.

Other professions do require an education or formal training of some sort such as mechanics, medical technicians and information technology workers. These positions may not require a 4 year degree but they do have a prerequisite foundation of knowledge to perform the work.

Addressing the perception that the college degree may not have value in the employment market is false. Studies have shown that people who have an advanced degree will earn on average $250,000 more than their non-degreed counterparts. Additionally the connections made and experiences learned in a college environment often are avenues for a person to grow by being exposed to so many different ideas, cultures and personalities.

Making the decision to complete a 4 year degree should not be made lightly. Individuals should evaluate their long-term career goals. For those who are unsure of their career path, we recommend taking some courses which can be done through online classes or through local community colleges at an affordable price.

People should never stop learning, whether in a formalized educational setting or not. If a person does choose to pursue a degree, the best way to maximize an immediate return on investment at graduation is to take steps to gain experience prior to graduation. Prepare by establishing a network of people to contact at least a year before completing the degree so that when you leave school, people know your name and can refer you into opportunities.

Nothing get a job faster than a good network.

Sep 142012

The GigSpire team is constantly scanning the news for information about the employment market to provide to our readership. Although we shy away from taking any sides or aligning with politically oriented writers or organizations, sometimes an article comes along that needs to be highlighted.

In an article written by Andre Damon titled “Cuts in US jobless pay, government layoffs throw 1.5 million more people into poverty” there are some pretty staggering facts that should not be ignored about American workers and the challenges facing the unemployed. You can read the entire article here, but our summary of the important bits are below.

  • Only 96,000 net new jobs were created in August, according to the Labor Department, and 368,000 more unemployed people gave up looking for work.
  • The CBPP study, based on data for the first 11 months of 2011, found that 900,000 people dropped below the official poverty line over that period due to cuts in the duration and level of unemployment benefits, and another 666,000 fell into poverty due to lost family earnings resulting from state and local government layoffs.
  • The CBPP concluded that jobless pay cuts and government layoffs combined raised the average monthly poverty rate by 0.5 percent.
  • In 2010, 9.8 million people received state or federal unemployment benefits. In 2011, this figure dropped to 7.7 million, a 21 percent decline. The total amount of benefits paid out fell by 25 percent, or $36 billion.
  • According to the CBPP the figures indicate that for every one person who became ineligible for unemployment benefits because he or she found a job, three more were cut off of benefits without finding work.
  • Over 500,000 people have lost extended unemployment benefits through August, and another 500,000 are expected to lose benefits by the end of the year, according to the National Employment Law Project.
  • State, local and federal governments slashed 386,000 jobs between 2010 and 2011.

Things aren’t pretty, no matter how the situation may be spun by political parties or anyone else. Be aware that the numbers also do not reflect the nearly 14 Million People who are able to work but are not looking for work because they do not believe there are jobs available, known as the “Discouraged Worker.”

Now more than ever it is imperative for each person to learn the SKILL OF JOB SEARCH! Get yourself into a training session or enter the GigSpire Program and get educated for the job search. You never know when it is going to be you looking for work and being prepared with the skills necessary will help you avoid becoming one of these unfortunate statistics.

Sep 132012

We were recently asked:

“What do most people mess up in an elevator pitch?”

GigSpire’s response:

Delivering an effective message is important whether you are making a sales presentation or trying to get an interview. Most people fail to do two things:

  1. Form a strategic thought or message to communicate
  2. Practice their elevator pitch

Strategy is important in almost anything we do and most people would agree that planning is a good thing. When it comes to a person’s elevator pitch most times they don’t plan it however, they “wing it” when asked what they do or are presented with a chance to introduce themselves.

The problem with this approach is we can easily be distracted and may not deliver a focused message that accurately relates our capabilities and wants/needs.

A format used in the GigSpire Program is the S.T.A.R. format:

  • Situation – Explain the problem in 15 seconds or less
  • Task – Identify a task or two tasks needed to solve the problem
  • Action – Identify the action you take to resolve the problem and address those tasks
  • Result – Explain the results of the actions you take to solve the problem


The entire pitch should be 90 seconds or less and the person should practice it so that it flows smoothly. We recommend practicing in front of a mirror or with another person to be sure and individual is comfortable delivering his or her elevator pitch.

Be sure to be prepared when asked about what you are looking for, that’s our advice!

Sep 122012

Here is some comments from a recent graduate of GigSpire’s training. Patrice is a government consultant working to support our military and homeland security. She has worked in technology, training and management. A great lady and a real joy to work around.

“I would like to recommend the Gigspire training program. I grew a lot from the training, and thought it was a great workshop packed with content. I would like to recommend it to all who are job hunting or seeking a career transition and want to navigate the job market. Thanks David you were Awesome!”

Thanks Patrice!

Sep 102012

The Bureau of Labor Statistics release the latest Employment Situation report last week and unemployment is down! Some exciting news and you can view the entire report here. We have summarized the key points below.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 96,000 in August and unemployment edged down to 8.1 percent.

In August, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 5.0 million. These individuals accounted for 40.0 percent of the unemployed.

Employment rose in:

  • Food services and drinking places (+28,000)
  • Professional and technical services (+27,000)
  • Computer systems design and related services (+11,000)
  • Management and technical consulting services (+9,000).
  • Health care (+17,000)
  • Ambulatory health care services (+14,000)
  • Hospitals (+6,000)
  • Utilities employment (+9,000)
  • Finance and insurance (+11,000)

Job Losses

  • Manufacturing employment edged down (-15,000)


Sep 082012

Ask professional poker players what the hardest part of their job is most of them will emphatically reply, “knowing when to walk away.” There often moments in our lives where we know walking is a must but we’re torn and many times even haunted by the choices we’ve made because none of us have the gift of seeing the future. Leaving many people paralyzed with having tough make a tough choice. Take the job offer or continue to search until the right opportunity comes along

In this economy we might feel like we don’t have a choice. If our backs are against the wall and we’re giving up more by continuing to be unemployed does it make sense to pass on a job offer? What considerations should you be making? How do you take into account the different aspects of the job to objectively see how it will fit into your life?

First things first, you need to evaluate what the job brings to the table. Make a list of pros and cons. This will get all the ideas, insecurities, and potential threats out of the way.

Ask yourself these questions:
○             Is the job engaging enough?
Are you the type of person that needs lots of ongoing projects or maybe you’re the type that needs to be organized and plugged into a desk at all times. How important is it that the work not be too hard or too easy? Is it important that your brain is tasked and challenged each day?

○             Is the commute reasonable?
Are you going to be driving more than the national average to get to work (25.1 minutes) and will this work with your out of work schedule  (kids, school, sports, second job, etc).

○             Are you going to be able to grow with this job and be promoted inside the company?
Do you care about quick promotions and leadership within a company or is that not a concern to you?

○             Will the compensation allow you to live comfortably?
What can you afford to be paid? Does it make sense to take a pay cut for enjoyment of the work or vice versa?

○             Is the work stable?
Will the threat of being jobless loom over your head the entire time you’re there?

Next, ask yourself a few remaining things:

  • Can I fit in with the culture?
  • Are there other job offers on the way?
  • Am I going to take issue with the ethics of this organization?
  • Are the terms of the offer reasonable?
  • Are you nervous about taking the job because you’re afraid of something new or risk?

The answers you give to the questions about should be taken into account and thought over for a couple of days.  The information received and feelings of excitement/fear at a job offer need a little time to even out before you should make a decision one way or another.

The reason we teach people how to properly search for jobs and find a satisfying career is so that they don’t wind up in a job that isn’t a good fit and then go back to searching for a job all over again a year later.

Sep 022012

Just saw an article published by ABCNews about 8 of the biggest layoffs for the Labor Day weekend. You can find the whole article here but the recap is below.

  1. Hewlett Packard Co. – Expecting to purge over 27,000 people from it’s payroll by 2014.
  2. American Airlines – Tracking to lose 10,000 people by the end of the year.
  3. PepsiCo – Cutting 8,700 employees in 2012.
  4. Food Lion – Closing over 100 stores and cutting headcount by roughly 4,900 people
  5. Procter & Gamble – Already has cut nearly 3,000 positions this year and expects to about another 2,700 in the next 18 months.
  6. Old Country Buffet, Inc.  – Over 3,000 workers will be hit with the closure of 81 restaurants.
  7. Albertsons – Reductions will be affecting nearly 2,500 people in California and Nevada.
  8. Best Buy Co. Inc. – 2,400 people are expected to be let go.

All big companies and all that you would expect would be a “safe” employment opportunity. Remember, corporations are in existence to stay alive and remain profitable. Cutting employees is not a personal issue, it is a “Business Decision.”

Constantly prepare yourself to be ready for a job search. Your next one might be right around the corner.