A recent survey from Indeed, reported last week at Recode, finds that despite the sector’s relatively generous parental leave policies, many women in the US tech industry are afraid to take full advantage of those benefits out of concern for their jobs or future careers, or due to overt pressure from their managers and coworkers:
Survey participants gave different reasons for why they felt pressured to return early:
- 34 percent said they were directly pressured by colleagues or managers.
- 32 percent feared losing their jobs.
- 38 percent cited a fear of losing credibility or value. …
“Frankly, women are afraid they’ll lose their jobs. We’re worried we’ll be forgotten while we’re gone. Out of sight, out of mind,” said Kim Williams, director of experience design at Indeed, in an email to Recode. “Things move so fast in tech, projects move forward and you wonder: Once the team gets used to working without you, will they decide they no longer need you?”
Previous surveys of women in tech have turned up similar findings, as well as that women are widely subjected to questions about their family lives in job interviews and that women are held back from promotions based on misguided expectations by their employers that they will eventually leave the workforce to start a family. These are by no means exclusive to the US tech sector: A recent survey of UK employers, for example, found that a majority believed that a woman should have to disclose whether she is pregnant to a prospective employer, while many said they believed mothers to be less interested in career advancement than their peers.
“Digital solutions ninja” may sound like a more exciting job than “tech support,” but do quirky job titles like these attract or repel candidates? Fast Company’s Lydia Dishman highlights some research that suggests the latter:
According to jobs platform Indeed, the top five are genius, guru, rockstar, wizard, and ninja. The winning titles were identified as the most common “weird job titles” as calculated by the share of postings containing them over the last two years. Rockstar, in particular, has grown in frequency by 19%, followed closely by guru, although the latter has lost some steam as it’s declined by 21%. Ninja itself is experiencing a slow assassination, declining by 35% since its peak in March 2017. But does the quirkiness really result in surfacing qualified candidates?
Paul Wolfe, senior vice president of HR at Indeed, thinks they just serve to confuse people. “When you do your [job] search,” he contends, “you’re not going to put ninja” in the search box. “Companies use these to express what their culture is like,” Wolfe concedes, “but there are other ways to get that point out.” Career pages on a website that contain videos, photos, and other descriptions of what it’s like to work at the company are a better vehicle than a cutesy title.
A 2016 survey by Spherion came to a similar conclusion about these too-clever-by-half job titles, finding that many employees consider them unprofessional and not descriptive of what they actually do. Even more ordinary titles like “specialist” or “project manager” are often seen as too generic.
The new search feature, first revealed at the I/O developer conference last month, promises to leverage Google’s advanced machine learning technology to match job seekers more accurately with relevant job opportunities in their area. Frederic Lardinois at TechCrunch offers a refresher on how the job search function works, noting that Google has expressed no interest in competing with existing job board sites by hosting listings itself:
Once you find a job, Google will direct you to the job site to start the actual application process. For jobs that appeared on multiple sites, Google will link you to the one with the most complete job posting. “We hope this will act as an incentive for sites to share all the pertinent details in their listings for job seekers,” a Google spokesperson told me. As for the actual application process itself, Google doesn’t want to get in the way here and it’s not handling any of the process after you have found a job on its service.
It’s worth noting that Google doesn’t try to filter jobs based on what it already knows. As [product manager Nick] Zakrasek quipped, the fact that you like to go fishing doesn’t mean you are looking for a job on a fishing boat, after all.
Google is very clear about the fact that it doesn’t want to directly compete with Monster, CareerBuilder and similar sites. It currently has no plans to let employers posts jobs directly to its jobs search engine for example (though that would surely be lucrative). “We want to do what we do best: search,” Zakrasek said. “We want the players in the ecosystem to be more successful.” Anything beyond that is not in Google’s wheelhouse, he added.
Make no mistake, however: This is surely a competitive move by Google. “Job search is the next step in Google’s march toward gaining marketshare in what’s becoming a very competitive landscape of very large tech companies,” Joel Cheesman asserts at ERE, pointing to the still-mysterious Google Hire applicant tracking system he caught wind of in April. And while Google is partnering with job listing sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Monster, the leading job search site Indeed is conspicuously absent from the list of partners:
In the face of a shortage in critical tech talent and the growth of online education, many employers are being challenged to update their recruiting practices and in some cases reduce their reliance on traditional credentials like college degrees. One of the most common forms of alternative education today are coding bootcamps—short, intensive programming courses designed to help students get jobs as programmers—which proponents see as an effective way of growing and diversifying the tech talent pipeline. According to a recent survey of HR managers and technical recruiters from the job-search site Indeed, employers appear to hold bootcamps “in pretty high esteem”:
An impressive 72% of respondents consider bootcamp grads to be just as prepared and just as likely to perform at a high level than computer science grads. Some go further: 12% think they are more prepared and more likely to do better. By contrast, only 17% have doubts. Little wonder, then, that 80% of respondents have actually gone ahead and hired a coding bootcamp graduate for a tech role within their company. Meanwhile, satisfaction levels are high: The overwhelming majority (99.8%) say they would do so again.
Indeed also found that the number of bootcamp graduates applying for jobs at these companies is increasing exponentially: 86 percent of respondents to the survey said the number of applications they were receiving from these candidates had increased in the past few years, and Indeed’s own data show “a doubling of year-over-year growth of job seekers with bootcamp experience” listed on their résumés over the past four years.
Nonetheless, the survey also showed that employers would still prefer a candidate with a bachelor’s degree in computer science over a bootcamp graduate, and would like to see more regulation of the bootcamp industry to ensure quality:
Some economists have expressed concern that the US labor pool is insufficiently mobile to fill in the gaps in local labor markets with talent shortages, which contributes to wide disparities in unemployment rates among various metropolitan areas. The concentration of jobs and workers in certain areas also drives up housing costs in places like Silicon Valley, making it that much harder for those who do want to “go where the jobs are” to actually do so.
Yet Roy Maurer at SHRM passes along some new survey findings from Indeed showing that when Americans do move, they often do so in pursuit of a better job:
Indeed’s survey of 4,000 respondents showed that 45 percent of people who relocated within the past year did so for occupational reasons—either for long-term career prospects or for a job offer they couldn’t resist. Personal reasons play a key role in the decision to move for many as well, selected by nearly a quarter of respondents (24 percent).
Sixty percent of those who moved for their careers cited a stronger job market as a driver, while 48 percent chose better opportunities for skill-building and 43 percent moved for increased compensation and benefits.
A new analysis of the labor market from Indeed’s Hiring Lab finds that only 16 percent of US jobs paid enough to keep up with the rising cost of living between 2012 and 2015, Fortune’s Anne Fisher reports:
Those few occupations, which the study dubs “opportunity jobs,” are concentrated in just five categories: health care (including nurses and skilled technicians), management, computer and mathematics, business and financial operations, and architecture and engineering.
Location matters. More than 50% of openings in those fields are clustered in just nine states — California, Washington, Maryland, Alaska, New York, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Virginia, and New Jersey — and the District of Columbia. People who live somewhere else, or who lack the training to work in one of the five thriving fields, have earned steadily less in real dollars and have sunk deeper into debt during the past 12 years.
Pretty grim, but the future looks even worse. The researchers looked at which occupations are at highest, and lowest, risk of automation. The 16% of jobs that have escaped wage stagnation are also those least likely to be automated out of existence. The chance that someone in an “opportunity job” can be replaced by a smart machine is about 9%, the study says — versus 46% for everyone else.
The report contextualizes its analysis within what it calls a global wage crisis, noting: “Even as productivity has risen worldwide, wages have remained stagnant, causing many to question whether this is a permanent feature of the post-recession economy. It’s little wonder, then, that so many people are anxious about their futures.”
Indeed has compiled a ranking of the 25 Fortune 500 companies that offer employees the best work-life balance, based on the online job platform’s vast trove of company reviews, as Lydia Dishman reports at Fast Company:
In total, 379 companies across a variety of industries were included. They were rated by their employees on a 1 to 5 scale (5 = the highest) on how well they felt the company helped them achieve a good work-life balance over the past year. Southwest Airlines topped the list scoring a 4.083, followed closely by Discovery Communications (media and entertainment), Altria (tobacco and cigarettes) CenterPoint Energy (electric and natural gas utility) and Viacom (film and cable television). …
The diversity of industries, according to Paul Wolfe, senior vice president of human resources at Indeed, was the biggest surprise among the findings. “With transportation, energy, consumer products, tech, media, and more in the top, it shows that any company in any industry can can offer their employees some version of work-life balance,” he says. Beyond that, Wolfe says that because the top 10 companies are so diverse so it’s hard to imagine one policy that works for them all. …