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a Short Cut Where None Exists
on the BRIC Economies
Growth of the Next
Slow but Steady Recovery
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Looking For a Short
Cut Where None Exists
January 2012, the unemployment rate was down year-over-year in 345 of the
372 U.S. metropolitan areas the Labor Department tracks. The number of
metropolitan areas with unemployment over 10 percent nearly halved from
150 in January 2011 to just 86 in 2012.
consensus of economists surveyed by Blue Chip Economic Indicators last
month projected the unemployment rate will be below 8 percent by the end
of 2013. A recent report by a research economist at the Federal Reserve
Bank of New York, however, showed a series of scenarios in which
unemployment could actually fall to 6 percent as soon as early next year.
Either way, we are in a period of recovery, and unless outside factors
such as instability in Asia or Europe slow the U.S. economy, the
improvement is set to continue.
Hiring activity continues to
increase as the economy gains speed. However, employers are finding fewer
qualified applicants for their top positions. Even when multiple
qualified candidates materialize, selecting among them is feeling more
like gambling than science. Hiring managers today are hungry for ways to
confidently screen out candidates.
while most job seekers spend hours crafting a perfect resume,
professional recruiters often don't even look beyond the contact information.
Instead, they opt to take a professional history through an interview.
and cover letter advice has become so ubiquitous that candidates are
following the same unwritten rules. Rejecting resumes that fail to fit
the mold exactly becomes an easy way for hiring managers to trim a stack
of resumes," says Rob Romaine, president of MRINetwork.
"By the end, there is a small pool of candidates who simply put the
right polish on their job search. But it's a filtering process that
doesn't take into account the qualities that actually cause someone to
positively contribute to an organization."
recent trend of interviewers requesting to see private social media
profiles of candidates doesn't stem from an interest in violating a
candidate's privacy. It's the fallout of a talent market that has been
coached and homogenized to a point where employers are desperate to find
not just what makes one qualified candidate better than the other, but
even just what makes them different.
a social media profile that is clear of content that gives an interviewer
pause is as likely to mean the profile has been sanitized as anything
else, which makes looking at them virtually meaningless," says
Romaine. "While even the most detailed profile is going to provide
little insight into how a candidate solves problems, overcomes challenges,
or would interact with a team. These are the qualities that make
A-players and they are qualities that are infinitely harder to screen
important role outside recruiters can serve in the search process is
their ability to interact with candidates outside the normal
candidate-employer relationship. Agency recruiters will often interact
with a candidate for months or sometimes years before sending them on an
interview and will know many of their colleagues in a similar way. It
gives the recruiter a much broader understanding of the candidate from
which to evaluate how they will fit with an organization.
online for 15 minutes can help to eliminate a candidate, but it does
little to highlight the positive attributes a candidate might bring.
Conversely, interview techniques, like having candidates participate in a
long-form group meeting with several members of a team might be time
intensive, but can help to highlight someone who would thrive in an
organization," notes Romaine. "While moving quickly once a top
candidate has been identified is important, vetting a candidate using
shortcuts that don't actually connect to performance or cultural fit is
Notable Global Events
unemployment rate fell to a two-decade low in March, slipping to 6.7
percent, beating economist forecasts. Experts took the improvement as a
positive sign for efforts to counter the European debt crisis.
by the Saudi American Bank Group projects UAE government investment in
non-oil-related sectors would offset any slowdown in oil revenues and
provide for robust growth for the country in the coming year.
Spotlight on the BRIC Economies
of the Next Decade
after stepping up to become the chief economist of Goldman Sachs in
2001-he had previously been co-head-Jim O'Neill was looking for a tent
pole idea that he could be known for. The idea that began to crystalize
was looking at the world a few decades out and predicting which countries
would dominate the economic landscape. There were four that stood out as
the new advanced economies.
a decade later, Brazil, Russia, India, and China-the BRICs-have seen
their influence in the world continue to grow. In 2001, the BRICs
represented just 9 percent of the global economy. Today, they already
represent nearly 18 percent.
the biggest error in O'Neill's thinking is the rate at which the BRICs
would expand. In a follow-up paper in 2003, two of O'Neill's
colleagues projected the BRICs would surpass the G7 by 2037. By 2009,
that figure was revised to 2027, and today economists are simply saying,
"and maybe even sooner."
impetus for O'Neill's projection a decade ago, though, wasn't Brazil's
skyrocketing commodity prices, or China's growing domestic markets, or
Russia's ballooning petroleum revenue. He saw the primary growth vehicle
of these countries as their talent markets. Of the group, Russia is the
lightweight with the world's 8th largest population-143 million people.
Collectively, BRIC countries comprise more than 40 percent of the world's
important than the sheer numbers, however, are the moves toward adding
worker efficiency and upward mobility. China has gone from being a place
to manufacture cheap, low-cost products to becoming one of the most
efficient places in the world to not just manufacture, but also design
high-tech electronics. Brazil has gone from having notorious income
disparity to having a swelling middle class that is starting to bank,
purchase luxuries, and plan vacations for the very first time.
started off as an almost off-hand acronym in a research paper a decade
ago has transformed into a term that defines the economic
superpowers-in-waiting. In 2009, leaders of the four countries held the
first of what has become an annual summit of BRIC leaders and, in 2010,
South Africa became a member of the organization now referred to as
organization of just five countries, though, BRICS is unique in that the
members share neither geographical, cultural, political, or even economic
heritage. By contrast, when the Group of 7 was formed in 1976, Japan was
its only member from outside of Europe or North America.
of the West plans for modest growth over the coming years, BRICS
represents economies of opportunity in which investment and development
is happening to a large degree and where new sources-and demands-for
talent are likely to emerge.
Spotlight on Oregon
Sees Slow but Steady Recovery
year, President Barack Obama put in an appearance at a groundbreaking
ceremony for a $6 billion Intel manufacturing facility in Oregon. The world's
largest chipmaker is currently the largest private employer in the state,
accounting for nearly 21 percent of all personal income and 20 percent of
all employment in Washington County.
D1X fabrication facility is also the single largest construction project
in the history of the state. "Right now the three largest building
cranes in the world are right here in Portland," says Peter
Monsanto, managing partner at Management Recruiters of Portland.
good news for a region that has been hit especially hard during the
recent recession. Oregon's economy has now begun to show encouraging
signs, even though employment isn't expected to pick up significantly
until 2013. But, although Oregon probably won't recover all the jobs it
has lost since 2007 until 2014, the private sector gained 38,000 jobs
last year, up 2.9 percent from 2010.
past two-and-a-half years, the number of employed Oregonians has
increased a little more than 60,000, while the number of unemployed has
declined by nearly 53,000. The fact that the decline in unemployment has
been matched by an even bigger increase in the number of employed workers
is the biggest reason for the state's declining unemployment rate.
all of the economic indicators are pointing up," says Monsanto.
"The flow of positive economic news continues to gain traction and
provide hope for a better 2012." He notes, for example, that the
number of building permits issued in February increased by 34 percent,
and points to the construction of a new Walmart in southeast Portland, a
further indicator of improvement in the building industry.
addition to construction, sizeable gains are being seen in information
technology, professional and business services, education, health care,
and leisure and hospitality. Much of the growth is coming from small to
midsize companies, where business owners and managers say the improved
economic outlook affirms the increased activity they're starting to see
in their industries.
impact of Oregon's wine industry on the economy has grown tremendously
over the past five years," says Monsanto. "A spurt of
investment in the industry from 2005 to 2008 boosted acreage, the number
of wineries and industry employment. Despite the severe recession,
efforts to improve marketing and quality have paid off with increased
revenues and a broadening of markets."
manufacturing arena, A&K Development Co., a Eugene company that
designs and manufactures equipment for processing crops, especially corn,
also is seeing strength in exports, including a recent $2.5 million order
from a single customer in Brazil. The company has annual revenue of more
than $10 million and about 60 employees.
Caribbean's Springfield call center, which now has almost 600 employees,
contributed to gains in employment. The cruise line hired 205 employees
at the end of last year, more than the 180 hires the company had planned
Oregon continues its steady recovery progress, it can also take pride in
its recent designation as number one in the share of its workers - 5.8
percent - who regularly commute by bicycle to their jobs.