Eric Broder Van Dyke/Shutterstock.com
Amazon may have massively expanded the size of its robot workforce in the past year, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hiring human beings, too. On Thursday, the e-commerce giant announced that it was planning to add more than 100,000 new jobs in the US over the next 18 months, growing its workforce by over 50 percent to more than 280,000 employees, Reuters reports:
Amazon is spending heavily on new warehouses so it can stock goods closer to customers and fulfill orders quickly and cheaply. The new hires, from Florida to Texas to California, will be key to the company’s promise of two-day shipping to members of its Amazon Prime shopping club, which has given it an edge over rivals. A BGC Partners analyst, Colin Gillis, said hiring was expected. “Amazon continues to meaningfully grow above e-commerce rates and continues to take share from traditional retailers,” he said.
The e-commerce giant said in October it would add 26 fulfillment centers in 2016, mostly in North America. More are under construction. The new jobs will extend beyond Amazon’s Seattle headquarters to communities across the United States, CEO Jeff Bezos said in the release. Amazon did not break down what share of jobs would go to corporate roles versus fulfillment work.
At the same time, Amazon’s wholesale disruption of the way Americans shop has led to a great deal of “creative destruction,” hurting brick-and-mortar retail and now threatening to upend the traditional grocery store as well. While these innovations may be a net positive for the economy, the New York Times points out that many workers will inevitably lose out in the change:
The US economy capped off 2016 with decent December jobs numbers, and according to CareerBuilder’s annual job forecast, many employers are looking to hire in the coming year:
The hiring outlook for 2017 is the best the U.S. has seen in a decade with 2 in 5 employers (40 percent) planning to hire full-time, permanent employees over the next 12 months, according to CareerBuilder’s annual job forecast. Three in 10 expect to hire part-time, permanent staff while half of all employers anticipate adding temporary or contract workers.
The national survey, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from November 16 to December 6, 2016, also indicates that employers will offer better wages, place emphasis on candidates’ soft skills and reach out to candidates via texts to invite them for job interviews. It included a representative sample of 2,391 hiring managers and human resources professionals across industries and company sizes.
Ransomware is a form of cyberattack in which the attacker encrypts certain files on a user’s computer, locks them out of vital programs, or freezes their desktop, then demands payment to undo the damage—hence the name. HR professionals are particularly vulnerable to this form of malware as their jobs often require them to open emails and attachments from unknown sources. At ZDNet, Danny Palmer warns of a new ransomware program known as GoldenEye, a variant of the Petya family of ransomware, that exploits this vulnerability by disguising the malicious program as an innocuous job application:
The initial email contains a short message from the fake applicant, directing the victim to two attachments. The first is a covering letter within a PDF which doesn’t actually contain any malicious software, but is intended to reassure the target that they’re dealing with a standard job application. However, the second attachment is an Excel file supposedly containing an application form but which in fact contains the malicious GoldenEye payload.
Upon opening the Excel attachment, the target is presented with a document which claims to be ‘Loading’ and requires them to enable Macros to view the file. When Macros are enabled, GoldenEye executes a code and begins encrypting the users’ files before presenting them with a ransom note using yellow text — rather than the red or green used by other Petya variants.
The new ransomware campaign comes at a time when this type of attack is on the rise. Last month, Computerworld’s Lucian Constantin reported that encryption-based ransomware attacks were becoming more common and that criminals were increasingly targeting enterprises rather than individuals:
Both June’s Brexit referendum and the surprise victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential election last month shocked markets and led to speculation about the respective economic trajectories of the UK and US. Both events also portend major changes in the legal and regulatory landscape and will have major impacts on employers, some of which remain unpredictable. Yet for all the uncertainty these countries face going into the new year, employers seem fairly bullish about the near future.
At the CIPD’s People Management blog, Marianne Calnan highlights a new survey showing that 41 percent of UK firms intend to expand in the coming year, “suggest[ing] some of the doubts around the country’s economic buoyancy may have been overstated”:
The employment trends survey from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and recruitment agency Pertemps found that businesses were planning to hire widely in 2017, though there were concerns about future access to migrant talent and a slight slowdown in some of the underlying hiring trends reported.
Although the pace of recruitment has slowed compared to last year’s survey, there remains a significant positive balance of companies (+28 per cent) expecting to add employees versus those expecting to shed jobs.
Uncertainty about the UK’s future relationship with the EU looms large, however, with 58 per cent of employers concerned about access to skilled migrants – compared to 31 per cent last year – and half worried about access to non-graduate migrant labour.
In the US, meanwhile, ManpowerGroup’s latest employment outlook survey finds that nearly one in five employers plans to add to their workforce in the first quarter of 2017:
A recent survey from the staffing service provider OfficeTeam indicates that they are, based on responses from 600 senior managers at companies with more than 20 employees in the US and Canada. The survey results shouldn’t be taken as some kind of trend, since the frequency of such incursions wasn’t reported, but the managers’ anecdotes include relatively tame examples like parents calling to arrange interviews for their kids, or following up on how one went, to much more extreme cases like:
- “A job seeker was texting his parent the questions I was asking during the interview and waiting for a response.”
- “Once a father called us pretending he was from the candidate’s previous company and offered praise for his son.”
- “The candidate opened his laptop and had his mother Skype in for the interview.”
- “When we called one candidate, his mom answered and asked us not to hire him.”
Furthermore, the surveyed managers were not universally opposed to the practice, though that shouldn’t be taken as an endorsement either:
More than one in three (35 percent) senior managers interviewed said they find it annoying when helicopter parents are involved in their kids’ search for work. Another one-third (34 percent) of respondents prefer mom and dad stay out of the job hunt, but would let it slide. Only 29 percent said this parental guidance is not a problem.
At the Harvard Business Review, Ben Dattner suggests that employers interview the candidates who reject their job offers, in order to get a better sense of what is and isn’t working in their recruiting processes:
While academic institutions often gather feedback from students who are accepted but do not matriculate in order to improve student recruitment and retention and to better compete with rival institutions, doing so with job candidates in a systematic and consistent manner is rare in the corporate world. As with other kinds of selling and marketing, you may learn as much, if not more, from the feedback of customers who choose not to buy as you learn from those who do. …
However, the feedback that is most likely to be useful and within the company’s control is also likely to be the most sensitive and difficult for the candidate to feel comfortable sharing. It might be hard for a candidate to openly tell a hiring manager or a human resources business partner that she thought the hiring manager was unfriendly or unfocused, that some interviewers conveyed a low level of enthusiasm about working at the organization, that there were too many interviewers in the mix, or that different interviewers seemed to convey divergent ideas about the company’s strategy and plans, the level of authority or responsibilities in the role, the key challenges of the role, or what would be necessary for success.
Therefore, it’s helpful to collect feedback via a third party such as an external search, consulting or research firm; an internal market research, branding or analytics department that is outside of both the hiring area and human resources; and/or anonymously through web surveys or via email.
There is an additional benefit to such interviews, which is gathering candidate intelligence. That intelligence could inform the design of an organization’s employment value proposition (improving talent attraction) and understanding of a candidate’s job search behavior or professional profile (improving sourcing).
As part of an effort to cast a wider recruiting net and improve diversity, Goldman Sachs announced last month that it planned to replace its longstanding practice of holding on-campus interviews at elite colleges with video interviews using pre-recorded questions. Goldman isn’t the only organization embracing the video interview, however, Oliver Staley reports at Quartz; employers are increasingly finding them to be a great way to narrow down a large field of applicants:
Cumming Corporation, a consulting firm that helps manage construction projects, used video to cut down the 633 applicants it received for internships this year to fill about 30 slots, said Scott Weaver, who heads up recruiting. The company asked 248 candidates, all the ones who met the most basic criteria, to tape short videos. About a quarter of those were then interviewed by phone, he said. The videos allowed recruiters to screen twice as many applicants than if they had gone right to phone interviews. “At its core, we use it to include more people,” Weaver said.