From December, 2016

The Benefits of Hiring Veterans!

Each year as many as 360,000 military men and women join the civilian workforce.  Programs such as the Veteran Jobs Mission and the White House Joining Forces have helped reduce high unemployment numbers for veterans in recent years, however former military personnel still face several challenges when trying to find civilian work.

A stigma of mental illness surrounds many veterans today with the public grossly overestimating the number of those affected by issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder.  Additionally, employers struggle with how to incorporate military skills into civilian jobs.  Lastly, the military environment is culturally different than the civilian environment.  Job candidates are encouraged on their resumes and in interviews to focus on individual achievements, however the military mentality focuses on teamwork and group achievements.  Veterans, according to Melissa Stirling, director of military, campus and youth programs at Hilton Worldwide, are very humble and “not good at singing their own praises.”

Veterans offer numerous benefits! Below are but a few:

·         They have many of the necessary skills required to fill talent shortages.

·         They possess a strong work ethic.

·         They have problem solving skills.

·         They are disciplined.

·         They are safety conscious.

·         They are detail oriented.

·         They are team players.

The U.S. Department of Labor provides a veterans hiring tool kit with tips on how to hire and retain veterans.

·         Create a veterans hiring program and clearly outline your strategy and goals.

·         Create a workplace accommodating to veterans by better understanding their culture and experience.

·         Actively reach out to veterans and military spouses.

·         Partner with groups that can help you locate capable veterans.

·         Understand what you are permitted and not permitted to ask during an interview.

·         Develop a mentorship program with a veteran as the mentor.

·         Show appreciation for veterans’ service on Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

·         Explain their training and the organizational chart.

According to a survey by Futurestep, eighty percent of organizations lack veterans recruiting programs despite the overall success in employing them.  Organizations complaining that college graduates aren’t taught the necessary skills to compete in the workforce are neglecting a gold mine filled with candidates possessing ample and applicable skills.  Following the tips above will help better acquaint employers with the challenges a very skilled segment of the workforce face, but also how to incorporate them into their organizations and take advantage of their skills.

America’s Unemployed Youth Are Not Healthy. Here’s Why!

A Startling Statistic About the Health of Unemployed Youth in the U.S.“Thriving” well-being is defined by Gallup and Healthways as possessing consistently good health and enough energy to get things done during the day.  According to the Gallup-Healthways Global Well-Being Index, unemployed youth aged 15 to 29 enjoy slightly greater physical well-being compared with employed adults aged 50 and older.  In 47 high income countries, young and older adults were basically tied in terms of increased well-being, but with the unemployed youth slightly edging out their older, employed counterparts, twenty-six (26%) to twenty-four percent (24%).

That young adults have more energy than older adults is not too surprising, however, unemployed youth in the U.S. have worse physical well-being than older employed workers. Only 23% of youth were thriving compared to 31% of older workers.  In summary, those without jobs in the U.S. between the ages of 15-29 are in poorer health than those who are 50 + and have jobs and this stands in contrast to the rest of the world.  Even more surprising is that only 14% of unemployed youth with college educations have thriving well-being while those with just a secondary education or primary education have double that at 27% and 28% respectively.  Why is the U.S. an anomaly?  Why is America’s unemployed youth less healthy than the rest of the world?

One suggestion for why unemployment affects Americans more is the stigma of being unemployed and this stigma could be more profound the higher the education levels attained.  Spain, for example, has an unemployment rate among its youth near 40% while in the U.S. in July, the rate was only eleven percent.  One might deduce that a higher unemployment rate would contribute to poorer health but the physical well-being of Spanish youth is higher than that of youth in the States.  The hypothesis is that because so many Spanish youth are unemployed at the same time, they feel less stigmatized.  They are able to share the burden of unemployment together.

A second theory is a lack of family support.  A far greater number of unemployed youth living in lower and middle income economies worldwide, live with others, especially family, compared with many American youths who live alone.  Physical well-being is often tied to emotional well-being and so an absence or the minimal provision of emotional support often provided by family, could adversely affect the health of American youth.

These statistics highlight a troublesome trend among America’s unemployed youth which should be monitored to ensure troublesome healthcare issues don’t arise especially among those with advanced education. 

Beyond monitoring these healthcare issues we need to take a closer look at the source of the problem.  Do Americans place a greater burden to succeed on themselves as compared with inhabitants of other nations?  Those with higher educations, for example, have greater expectations placed on them to accomplish their goals and when they fall short, they appear to fall harder than most.  What, if anything, can be done to provide greater support and well-being for those in their early stages of life so that they don’t end up on mom and dad’s couch? 

 

What is A.I. and How Will It Affect Your Job?

Earlier this year I wrote about the coming robot storm and the studies that suggest many jobs now held by humans will soon be executed by robots.  Yesterday the Guardian published an article by Stephen Hawking who was commenting on, united-states-856368_640among other things, growing income inequality.  He remarked, “The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.”

What exactly is AI and how does it differ from basic automation such as a robot working an assembly line? AI stands for Artificial Intelligence and though those words may inspire grandiose images of androids such as Star Trek’s Data, the applications for it are far less advanced but also more widespread.  Automation is hardware or software that is programmed to automatically complete a task based on external stimuli.  For example, a sprinkler system that automatically operates when smoke is detected or car headlights that turn on automatically.  AI however not only responds to the stimuli but learns from it to make better decisions for you in the future.

Here are a few examples of AI you perhaps have not noticed.

Autonomous cars – These are perhaps the most recognizable uses of artificial intelligence today.  Soon not only will our cars drive themselves by adapting to the environment around them but so too will our cabs, busses and commercial trucks.

Netflix, Hulu, Spotify – These sites don’t just allow you to watch movies or listen to music, their software algorithms makes suggestions based on your past viewing/listening choices. Think of automation as a record player changing the record, but AI will play the songs you most likely want to hear.

Fraud detection software – These programs understand your buying habits and can alert you of irregular purchases.

News writing – News outlets such as the AP use AI to write very basic news stories such as sports recaps or financial summaries.

The examples demonstrate a few ways that AI can improve our lives but also a few ways it can steal jobs, some of which may be taken sooner than later.  Autonomous trucks for example may save the trucking industry millions but it will also put drivers out of jobs.  The same is true for cab drivers.  These aren’t the only jobs in imminent danger.   According to a study on AI by McKinsey Global Institute, 64% of data collecting jobs and 69% of data processing jobs are ready for automation takeover. 

The good news for most industries is that wide adoption of these changes might still be decades away but they are certainly coming.  According to McKinsey’s Michael Chui, “There’s time for us to adapt.  We might start to think about, can AI save the economy by increasing productivity?”

The belief has always been that new technologies create jobs, but it doesn’t create new jobs for those whose jobs have been stolen.  The individual who loses his job driving a truck can’t immediately be shifted to a job writing software for that truck.  That opportunity is made available to a programmer in a different industry.  So yes, perhaps AI can increase productivity and give people more free time or it will take jobs from thousands and give those people a whole lot of free time!