July 2023 | JOLTS, jobs, and java: Our experts take on the latest labor reports

A 15-minute real-time discussion on the May JOLTS report, the June jobs report, and other hot topics in the talent space today.

July 2023 | JOLTS, jobs, and java: Our experts take on the latest labor reports

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Grab a coffee and join us for 15 minutes of real-time insights on the May JOLTS report, the June jobs report, and more with Jason Cerrato, our Senior Director of Product Marketing, and special guest Rebecca Warren, Director of Customer Success.

Introduction 0:00
Thanks for tuning in to our July jobs talk with EightfoldAI. We have a special guest joining us this month while our chief economist is out on maternity leave, we’re pleased to welcome Rebecca Warren, our Director of Customer Success alongside our Senior Director of Product Marketing, Jason Cerrato. Jason and Rebecca will share real-time insights on the jolts report, jobs report, and more hot topics and talent today. So grab a coffee, kick back and spend the next 20 or so minutes listening to what’s currently top of mind for business leaders. With that, I’ll hand it over to Jason Cerrato for some jolts jobs and Java.

Jason Cerrato 0:37
Happy Friday! Here we are again, Rebecca; welcome. Thank you for jumping in the warm waters; we’re so happy to have you in the hot seat. Yes, we are without Sonya this month, out on leave. But we wish her all the best. And what she has been doing over the last few months is teaching me how to become an armchair economist. So we’ll see how we do in her absence. But I’m so happy to be joined by Rebecca, who’s been in this space for quite some time. And we can talk shop about all things happening in the world of jobs and HR. So just real quick to set us off, we’ll see what the jobs report said. Today, it said, you know, the US economy added 209,000 jobs in June. So another report of jobs growth. But you know, from the trends we’ve seen in these sessions month by month, this is the first time that it actually came in below forecast. So for the first time in 15 months, the results have come in lower than estimates. But at the same time, you know, unemployment fell to 3.6%, down from 3.7% last month. And the labor market has now added jobs for 30 consecutive months. So you know Rebecca, if you’ve been following along when I’ve been trying to make sense of this with Sonya, it’s a little bit of there’s always something positive followed by something negative followed by something positive followed by something a little negative. So we’re always trying to make sense of this. I guess the punchline is for good and bad. Depending on where you sit. There’s something working in your favor and something working against you at all times. So one of the things that we do in these sessions is we look at where the growth is coming from in which industries. And for the jobs report that we received today. You know, the largest increase by industry was in the public sector, which follows some trends we saw last month, where the public sector had the most significant growth in openings and job postings. So now we’re seeing the hiring follow with increases again, from healthcare and construction, as well as professional services and hospitality. So as we’ve mentioned, we are in the middle of this seasonal surge. But enough about that, let’s kind of see what you’re thinking about as we enjoy our coffee on this Friday morning. Rebecca, how does this news hit you?

Rebecca Warren 3:00
Yeah, well, actually, I have my water. So. But I think that works just as well. Right? You know, it’s interesting because as we look at what’s happening in the space, you know, a couple of years ago, and especially as folks were thinking through the pandemic, what do they really want to do, right, we all said, we want to live where we want to live, we want to work where we want to work, we saw a lot of folks that were leaving the retail and hospitality space, moving into more of that knowledge worker, area, as well as a lot of folks got into recruiting. It’s interesting, because, folks, I think everyone feels like they can be a recruiter until times are hard, then it’s not so much fun. But last year, and the year before, it felt like everybody was moving into that knowledge base moving away from hospitality, moving away from retail, doing something different. And now it’s starting to see that that is flipping back again, that there are less opportunities, maybe for knowledge workers to work remotely. That’s a huge thing that we’ll talk about in a second, I’m guessing. But then we’re also seeing more increases in that leisure and hospitality space, there are more folks that are moving back into retail into hospitality. I think maybe it felt a little bit like grass was greener, like we’re gonna jump into a different space. But you know, folks, I think sometimes appreciate having a set schedule and you work your eight to four, nine to five, whatever it is, and then you get to go home, right and the knowledge working space, especially working remotely, you don’t get a chance to shut it off as much. I think we both know that with our, with our lives as well. So it’s interesting to me to see that shift to go back from where we were, we saw such an increase. People could ask for any amount of money for signing bonuses. It was happening and now it feels like it’s, it’s, as you said, it’s kind of It’s that continual movement, right and so now it’s sliding back. A little bit where I am, we’re seeing an increase in folks doing that retail, hospitality, leisure space and a little bit less of folks looking in that knowledge worker space, which I think is super interesting.

Jason Cerrato 5:13
Well, one of the reasons why I always love having the opportunity to partner with you and work with you is, we’ve been in the recruiting space for about the same time, but we work in different industries. So we’ve had very, very different experiences recruiting for different parts of the market. At the same time, now, both working for eight fold, you know, I get to work very closely with our product team, you get to work very closely with our customers. Right? So one of the things I always love when I get a chance to talk shop with you is what are you hearing from our customers? What are you hearing from recruiters? How are they dealing with all of these market dynamics? You know, what, what’s top of mind for them?

Rebecca Warren 5:51
Well, we’ve seen a lot of reduction in tax spaces over the last year, a lot of downsizing of the recruiting teams focus going into other parts of the business. So a lot of our our customers are doing more with less, we’re seeing more didn’t depend on his dependents, right word, more dependents, I guess I should say on a fold and some of the automation and some of the things that we’re able to help folks to do to get folks hired. But overall, it feels like there’s a lot of a slowdown in voluntary quitting. So you know, before we saw lots of folks who were moving all around the country and jumping out, we’re seeing less of that now folks are staying put a little bit more. And so we’re seeing a lot of our customers focus on talent management, looking at talent planning, succession planning, how do we keep the folks inside the organization? You know, there were, I think, some things that employers couldn’t really control over the last couple of years. And now it feels like things are settling down. So a lot of our customers are starting to lean in on where people are? And how do we help them be successful inside the organization? You know, there’s always going to be that attrition, where folks say, Hey, I’m going to a new industry or whatever. But I think there’s a lot of interest now to say, how can we help people feel fulfilled in the organization longer than that typical two to three year spot?

Jason Cerrato 7:32
You know, it’s funny, you mentioned that I think it’s top of mind for a lot of people. Matter of fact, I was working with a European company this morning, as part of a workshop where they were looking at their existing talent and trying to understand strategies for the future, while at the same time dealing with, you know, the disruption of generative AI and automation and how it’s impacting how everyone and every function is going to do their job differently. Right. So you know, a key theme of that workshop. You know, it wasn’t just to build, buy, borrow, it was kind of build, buy, borrow and bought, right? How do we redesign work for the future? What work are we investing in? What work are we automating? How do we get the insights and data to be able to start to make those decisions? And how do we potentially design, you know, different versions of the future until the future becomes more clear? Right? So it makes perfect sense. I can understand why you’re hearing that and working with customers on that day to day. As I’ve traveled around the world since the start of the year, it seems to be the topic of discussion for everyone in every industry, regardless of geography. I think another hot topic that’s come about in the last few months, which I think is also part of the jobs reports we’ve been covering, is this focus on returning to the office. Right? Yeah, I don’t want to, I don’t want to say return to work, because we never left work. That’s right. It’s this. It’s this push to return to the office. And there were some stats that were shared from LinkedIn, that showed you know, for their monthly metrics, in May 11% of their open jobs were listed as remote on the site, you know, specifically. So that’s down from how that’s been handled in previous months. So the number of jobs listed as remote specifically, and you know, advertising remote has been going down. But those roles that are advertised as remote are attracting close to 50% of the total traffic, job applications on the LinkedIn platform. So when I hear that, I think about the dynamics of that for organizations and the dynamics of that for strategy. But I also go back to my days of recruiting and I tried to think if I was a recruiter, and half of all the traffic on LinkedIn was hitting my posting, right. Is that a blessing or a curse? How do you think people are dealing with that?

Rebecca Warren 9:54
Well, you know, when hiring managers in the past had been looking for Folks, it was a pretty hard line of if you want this job, you’re going to have to move, right. That relocation was the number one thing. And I know in a previous role that I had where I said, I really don’t want to move, I really want to stay here. And so the hiring manager, she said, Well, actually, you can live wherever you want to, as long as you’re in the office nine to five, Monday through Friday. Okay, well, fine, but that really means relocation, right. And so you in the past, it was more of a rock and a hard place, right, I want this job. But I, you know, so I have to move. And when we moved into that remote space, I think folks really appreciated that flexibility to maybe live from, you know, and work from the cabin, or, you know, spend time at a friend’s house for a month, which we couldn’t do in the past. Now, there’s this switch back to most of it is hybrid very, not, I mean, you’re hearing from some organizations, like you’ve got to be in the office every day. But a lot of it is hybrid. You know, I think some folks appreciate that I have talked to some friends of mine, and some of our customers were there, like we really liked to be in the office and see folks face to face. But we really only want it to be two days a week, right? We don’t want to be in all the time. And I think what I’m hearing more than anything from everyone that I’m talking to, and, and I’ll just call this out, right as a Gen X, or I have an issue with authority, I want to do what I want to do, what I want to do. And I think that’s what folks are saying to like, if you tell me I have to be in the office 10 days a month, okay, I’ll come in, when I want to come in, I’ll make sure my team is there, I’ll organize my work to make it make sense, that feels like there’s still a sense of control. Other than, you know, rather than you’ve got to be in the office Monday, Wednesday, Friday, no exceptions, you know, none of that. So I think if employers can offer that flexibility, it makes it a little bit more palatable. But I’ll tell you, right now, I don’t really ever want to go back into an office full time, I like being able to say, Hey, I’m gonna fly into the home office, you know, I’ll be there next week, like I get to fly in, I get to spend a day or two there. But that’s really on my terms. And I think that’s what folks are still looking for, is that flexibility to say, I’m going to do it, but I want to do it on my terms. Instead of you forcing me that feels too prescriptive?

Jason Cerrato 12:27
Well, I’ve been working remotely now for about six years. So pre pandemic, and when I first was presented with the opportunity, or the requirement, actually, at the time to work remotely, it was culture shock, like it had changed, I was used to being in the office, right. And it was kind of a kind of a suit and tie environment and being present, and FaceTime. And you know, and that was real FaceTime, not the app, right? FaceTime. And when I shifted to working remotely, you know, I built myself a backyard office, I was working with a team around the world that was hired for what they knew not where they sat. And it was a big change. But it was so refreshing. And, you know, before the pandemic, there were a lot of organizations that started doing this strategically to say, we’re trying to find the best leaders for our organization. And it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that they sit in Westchester, New York, right? They could sit anywhere around the world, they could sit in the media, they could sit in Asia Pacific, they could sit in Europe, they could sit in the Midwest, they could be in the cabin, right. But we want them on our team, and we want the best leaders. And you know, that was happening because talent was scarce and very competitive and hard to find. I think everything old is new again, we’ve been doing this so long. And if you think back to the financial crisis 2008 2009 When people started hiring again, in the early teens, it was very hard to find people because people were underwater on their mortgage. And I couldn’t move. I couldn’t couldn’t move. They couldn’t move, they couldn’t relocate. And I’ve recently been seeing some data to say we’re back there again, right with the rising cost of housing and mortgages and interest rates. People aren’t as capable and able to pick up and move. So I think there’s this push poll, positive and neutral all at the same time, positive and negative all at the same time of this return to the office strategy. There’s benefits for culture and benefits for alignment and benefits for engagement. But there’s also some things that we’ve benefited from around availability of talent and expanding opportunities and being able to have work life balance. So as is the case, it’s a very exciting and challenging time in HR.

Rebecca Warren 14:49
Yeah, you know, I was looking at something the other day where the stat was me tick look. So the prime age which I love being included in the prime Image of workers, right? So 25 to 54. That that there are more folks in that prime age category in the labor force or looking for a job. Now, then since May of 2002. So it’s that space of folks two that are looking and that are available. And some of those, right you think about have young or teenage kids, right, and they’re in school, and it’s harder to get them adjusted. It’s interesting to see what who’s looking for positions who’s actually working. And it’ll be interesting to see as we continue to slide towards the, the the stat of saying that we’re aging in the US pretty significantly, and we’re seeing less folks enter the workforce and less folks, you know, the the baby boom is starting to die a little bit. So it’ll be interesting, as we see more of the folks that have to work longer, or who are interested in staying busy. You know, my husband and I have talked about, you know, whatever that looks like down the road, 1520 years or whatever, if we say, Hey, we’re gonna retire, and I’m like, I think I would make it about 12 seconds before I would drive my husband nuts. And I would be bored stiff. So I will be one of those folks, when I’m 90 probably going hire me and not as a Walmart greeter. But I digress.

Jason Cerrato 16:28
One other topic I wanted to touch on with you, though, that was top of mind this week is the recent Supreme Court ruling with the roll back on affirmative action to universities. Yep. You know, when we put our recruiter hat on, and we think about DNI efforts, and I know, you know, you’re very passionate about it and I’m very passionate about it. I’ve been on a variety of corporate advisory boards for diversity organizations and professional societies. What are your thoughts on a little bit of the ruling, but also the impact as it means for recruiters in DNI efforts? And, you know, trying to cast the widest net?

Rebecca Warren 17:04
So there’s a lot of conversation going on about what it does and what it doesn’t do? I think it’s very interesting to see where folks say, Hey, we’re, if we take that out, what else should we take out? Should we take out the focus on legacy? Students? Should we take out some of the other criteria that folks are looking at, I think, overall, what it’s going to have to do is, it’s going to force, I think a lot of, especially campus, or college recruiting teams, they’re going to have to rethink their strategy. Because when I think about when I was doing campus recruiting, or looking at entry level, recruiting kind of early careers, you’re looking at your campuses, because they’re already pulling that diverse group, right. So you’re looking at your campuses, to help you get those folks into your organization, and then you help them grow and stay with the organization long term. But the diversity makeup of some of those campuses is going to change. And as recruiters, we still have those goals, or those ideas of where we’re going to get our most diverse populations. I think folks have to rethink what that strategy is going to look like, because those pools are going to look different. So does that mean that you go to different schools? Does that mean that you switch up that strategy and start looking at different places? Or does that mean inside your organization that you have to think differently about what those diversity expectations look like? I think it’s going to be super interesting. On what happens down the road and what campuses do, what other criteria they either added or takeout, and then what organizations do in order to adjust to make sure that they’re still getting the best, the brightest, but also the most diverse folks in the organization.

Jason Cerrato 19:06
Having led University recruiting as well, I’ve always said it’s such a controversial topic, because everyone has a bumper sticker on their car of the university they went to, and they’re very proud of it, and they want you to go to recruit there. Right? Right, right. So everyone has it, everyone has an opinion, everyone has a feeling. And it always comes down to the strategy and the data and the opportunity and the effort. Right. But it’s continuously evolving. So I think right now, it definitely does create potential to rethink your strategy or to look at your data differently, or to expand your sources or your travels on your calendar. But right now, it’s still early. We need to figure out how to ask the right questions, because we may not know all the answers yet, but we need to know what are the right questions to be asking but very, very, very, very Top of Mind again another another scenario that creates just this transformation and disruption happening in the HR space and the recruiting space in the talent space all at once.

Rebecca Warren 20:14
Right? Yeah, for sure. For sure.

Jason Cerrato 20:17
Well, you know, Rebecca, we love having you join us. You know you did such a nice job, we may ask you to do it again. So be careful. Be careful of the things you say yes to but we always love taking a few minutes out to talk shop on these Fridays. We appreciate you standing in for Sonya. It’s been a wonderful conversation. Definitely a lot of stuff happening in our industry. And you know with our customers and with our recruiting brethren out there, picking up the phone and smiling and dialing every day. Right. Appreciate appreciating you grabbing your water, me grabbing my coffee, and you’re giving me this time to chat this morning. Thank you so much.

Rebecca Warren 20:55
Always love it. Thank you so much.

Jason Cerrato 20:58
Back to you, Kelly.

Introduction 21:01
All right. Thank you for joining us today. And thanks, Rebecca, as always thank you Jason for sharing your insights. We hope you’ll tune in again next month on August 4 For the next jobs talk with April AI and we will see you next time. Thanks everyone.

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