Category Archives: Workforce

Workforce Issues

Source: AWWA Journal, Volume 101 Number 8, August 2009
(subscription required)

The August issue deals with workforce issues. Some of the articles include:

Building and recruiting qualified candidates for water industry jobs

– Cheryl Davis, Susan Bailey, Jennifer Day-Burget, Amy Kiernan Sinclair, Anup Shah, and Catherine Curtis
The first in a series of articles about how the water industry can use information technology to address critical workforce development challenges.

Water and wastewater workforce stats–The case for improving job data
– Neil S. Grigg
Policy changes are needed to ensure uniform statistical reporting of the water and wastewater workforce and to provide useful data for influencing national policies and coordinating utility worker training.

Women’s advancement: One engineering firm’s pathway to leadership
– Meg Ibison and Bob Bailey
CH2M HILL’s Women’s Leadership Initiative makes the most of the company’s long-standing inclusive workplace to accelerate women’s advancement.

Employer Health Benefit Costs and Demand for Part Time Labor

Source: Jennifer Schultz, David J. Doorn, US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies Paper No. CES-WP-09-08, April 1, 2009

From the abstract:
The link between rising employer costs for health insurance benefits and demand for part-time workers is investigated using non-public data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey- Insurance Component (MEPS-IC). The MEPS-IC is a nationally representative, annual establishment survey from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Pooling the establishment level data from the MEPS-IC from 1996-2004 and matching with the Longitudinal Business Database and supplemental economic data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a reduced form model of the percent of total FTE employees working part-time is estimated. This is modeled as a function of the employer health insurance contribution, establishment characteristics, and state-level economic indicators. To account for potential endogeneity, health insurance expenditures are estimated using instrumental variables (IVs). The unit of analysis is establishments that offer health insurance to full-time employees but not part time employees. Conditional on establishments offering health insurance to full-time employees, a 1 percent increase in employer health insurance contributions results in a 3.7 percent increase in part-time employees working at establishments in the U.S.

Gen Y in the Workforce

Source: Public Radio International, Here and Now, August 14, 2009

The following is not a full transcript; for full story, listen to audio.

Why companies are losing billions in turnover to the demanding millennials in their workforce.

The “millennial generation” includes people born between 1980 and 1999, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 40 million of them working in businesses today. Some are calling this generation “moofers” — mobile out of office workers — who “life-stream” their every move in blogs and on Twitter.

Dr. Joanne G. Sujansky is co-author of “Keeping the Millennials: Why Companies are Losing Billions in Turnover to This Generation — and What to Do About It.”

On “Here and Now,” she explained how many businesses are struggling to accommodate this generation that wants more flexibility, extra feedback, and more opportunity for career advancement.

Inequality and Specialization: The Growth of Low-Skill Service Jobs in the United States

Source: David Autor, David Dorn, IZA Discussion Papers, 4290, July 2009

From the abstract:
After a decade in which wages and employment fell precipitously in low-skill occupations and expanded in high-skill occupations, the shape of U.S. earnings and job growth sharply polarized in the 1990s. Employment shares and relative earnings rose in both low and high-skill jobs, leading to a distinct U-shaped relationship between skill levels and employment and wage growth. This paper analyzes the sources of the changing shape of the lower-tail of the U.S. wage and employment distributions. A first contribution is to document a hitherto unknown fact: the twisting of the lower tail is substantially accounted for by a single proximate cause − rising employment and wages in low-education, in-person service occupations. We study the determinants of this rise at the level of local labor markets over the period of 1950 through 2005. Our approach is rooted in a model of changing task specialization in which “routine” clerical and production tasks are displaced by automation. We find that in labor markets that were initially specialized in routine-intensive occupations, employment and wages polarized after 1980, with growing employment and earnings in both high-skill occupations and low-skill service jobs.

The Ill-Prepared U.S. Workforce: Exploring the Challenges of Employer-Provided Workforce Readiness Training

Source: Jill Casner-Lotto, Elyse Rosenblum, and Mary Wright, The Conference Board, July 2009
(free registration required)

From the press release:
As the Obama administration shines a light on the training and skills workers will need for the jobs of tomorrow, a new report shows that U.S. employers continue to struggle with an ill-prepared workforce, finding new hires lack crucial basic and applied skills.

For the most part, employer-sponsored readiness training is not successfully correcting these deficiencies, according to the report, The Ill-Prepared U.S. Workforce: Exploring the Challenges of Employer-Provided Workforce Readiness Training, produced by Corporate Voices for Working Families, the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), The Conference Board, and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Reviving the Latino Workforce: Complex Problems Demand Comprehensive Solutions

Source: Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, June 17, 2009

From the press release:
The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) released a critical White Paper entitled “Reviving the Latino Workforce: Complex Problems Demand Comprehensive Solutions” examining the role that Latino workers can play in revitalizing the U.S. economy, along with how policy makers, political leader and law-makers can best support them.

This White Paper offers a set of critical arguments to inter-relate the imperative of achieving the passage of progressive legislation like the Employee Free Choice Act, immigration and national health care reform combined with the national priority of an economic stimulus process that addresses both the priorities and needs of Latino workers – native-born and immigrant, including the undocumented. Although politically daunting, the priorities are ultimately complementary and merit immediate attention by both Congress and the Administration.

Labor Shortages and Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Source: Economic Policy Institute, May 27, 2009

The work force needs of U.S. employers are always a matter of debate, as are theories about how best to meet those needs. The chronic shortage of nurses, for instance, belies the fact that there are far more people who are trained as nurses than there are working nurses, and explains why seemingly obvious solutions, such as increased training or increased immigration, are not always sufficient to address imbalances.

At a time of rising unemployment and diminishing job security among American workers, the role that immigration plays in the labor market has become the subject of increased attention. On May 20, EPI hosted a daylong event, Labor Shortages and Comprehensive Immigration Reform, co-sponsored by Johns Hopkins University’s Institute for Policy Studies and the Migration Policy Institute, which examined the way immigration policy could impact the job market.

Below is the full event agenda with presentations attached.

Job Patterns For Minorities And Women In Private Industry 2007

Source: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), March 23, 2009

As part of its mandate under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requires periodic reports from public and private employers, and unions and labor organizations which indicate the composition of their work forces by sex and by race/ethnic category. Key among these reports is the EEO-1, which is collected annually from Private employers with 100 or more employees or federal contractors with 50 more employees. In 2007, over 67,800 employers with more than 61.3 million employees filed EEO-1 reports.
See also:
Data for 2007