AOL Cuts Nearly 1,000 Jobs

AOL BUILDING

AOL cut 20 percent of its workforce today, eliminating 950 jobs in the U.S. and India. Last year, the company cut 2,300 employees during its first round of layoffs. This year’s round of layoffs was aimed at trimming the budget, getting rid of positions that no longer serve a purpose, and eliminating jobs that overlapped with the Huffington Post website, which AOL acquired just days ago. None of the 250 Huffington Post employees that joined AOL lost their jobs. Instead, 200 employees who work for AOL’s media and technology groups lost their jobs, and 750 employees in India.

In the U.S., AOL laid off reporters and editors who worked for its travel site and business, personal finance sites Daily Finance and Wallet Pop. It also cut across its news and politics sites, including Politics Daily, according to people familiar with the matter. Employees who were laid off started packing up their belongings on Thursday, a person familiar with the matter said.

The operations in India are in part a vestige of AOL’s old business as an Internet service provider, starting with call center outsourcing into 2002 and later changing into a business operations center. Recently, the group focused more on tech and financial support as well as functions such as advertising operations.

Although AOL acquired the Huffington Post for $315 million, the company is still on shaky ground. According to WSJ, AOL shares are trading at their lowest levels since the company split off from Time Warner Inc. in December 2009. Shares of AOL were off 34 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $19 in Thursday 4 p.m. composite trading on the New York Stock Exchange. And according to research firm eMarketer Inc., AOL’s ad revenues dropped 26 percent in 2010, while the overall online ad market grew around 14 percent. AOL has steadily lost market share to rivals Google Inc. and Facebook Inc.

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said he expects AOL’s online advertising business to start growing again during the second half of the year.

“AOL remains in the middle of the disruption that the Internet is causing and we are starting to move from being a disrupted brand to a brand that is leading the disruption,” Mr. Armstrong said in his memo. “The changes we are making are not easy, but they are the right changes for the long-term health of the company, the brand, and for our employees.”

After all is said and done, AOL will employ about 4,000 people. This figure does not include staff that currently work for AOL’s local Patch news sites, which recently hired 1,200 new employees.

Would You Relocate to Find a Job?

JOB AHEAD SIGN

Before you decide to relocate to another state because you read somewhere that it’s the “best state to find a job,” it’s best to do your homework. This means, find out what types of jobs are actually available and why. You might be surprised by what you discover.

The Huffington Post published an article today titled “The Top 11 States To find a Job,” but it turns out that many of the jobs are low-paying and mostly available in three main industries: agriculture, natural resource extraction, and federal government work.

Gallup has published its latest Job Creation Index, providing a state-by-state comparison of which states predominately hired, fired, and stood pat in 2010. As the U.S. job market struggled, the highest-ranking states relied on one of three industries: agriculture, natural resource extraction, or federal government work.

But not all jobs — or state economies — are created equal, and many of the states on Gallup’s list often create low-paying jobs. Arkansas, for example, ranks fifth best on Gallup’s Job Creation Index, but its median household income is a $39,392, good for second-worst in the country. Maryland, on the other hand, might rank lower on the index, but it has the third-highest median household income in the country.

Gallup based its rankings on nearly 200,000 interviews conducted only with employed adults. Interviewees said whether their company was hiring, not changing in size or laying off workers. The Job Creation Index number represents that difference between “the percentage reporting an expansion and the percentage reporting a reduction in their workforces.”

If you’re still interested in finding out what the states on the Gallup list have to offer, the 11 states below made the cut:

11. Pennsylvania
2010 Job Creation Index: 13
Percent Hiring: 31.2
Percent Letting Go: 18.8
Unemployment Rate: 8.5% (Dec. 2010)
GDP Per Capita: $39,578 (19/51)
Median Household Income: $49,829 (26/51)

10. Iowa
2010 Job Creation Index: 13
Percent Hiring: 29.9
Percent Letting Go: 17.1
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (Dec. 2010)
GDP Per Capita: $36,751 (28/51)
Median Household Income: $50,422 (23/51)

9. Oklahoma
2010 Job Creation Index: 14
Percent Hiring: 31.7
Percent Letting Go: 18.0
Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (Dec. 2010)
GDP Per Capita: $35,268 (34/51)
Median Household Income: $45,507 (40/51)

8. Texas
2010 Job Creation Index: 14
Percent Hiring: 32.1
Percent Letting Go: 18.1
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (Dec. 2010)
GDP Per Capita: $36,484 (29/51)
Median Household Income: $47,143 (35/51)

7. Maryland
2010 Job Creation Index: 15
Percent Hiring: 34.3
Percent Letting Go: 19.1
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (Dec. 2010)
GDP Per Capita: $48,285 (5/51)
Median Household Income: $65,183 (3/51)

6. West Virginia
2010 Job Creation Index: 15
Percent Hiring: 32.5
Percent Letting Go: 17.1
Unemployment Rate: 9.7% (Dec. 2010)
GDP Per Capita: $32,219 (45/51)
Median Household Income: $40,627 (49/51)

5. Arkansas
2010 Job Creation Index: 17
Percent Hiring: 32.5
Percent Letting Go: 16.0
Unemployment Rate: 7.9% (Dec. 2010)
GDP Per Capita: $31,946 (46/51)
Median Household Income: $39,392 (50/51)

4. Alaska
2010 Job Creation Index: 19
Percent Hiring: 35.1
Percent Letting Go: 15.8
Unemployment Rate: 7.9% (Dec. 2010)
GDP Per Capita: $42,603 (10/51)
Median Household Income: $63,505 (5/51)

3. South Dakota
2010 Job Creation Index: 21
Percent Hiring: 29.9
Percent Letting Go: 8.9
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (Dec. 2010)
GDP Per Capita: $36,935 (26/51)
Median Household Income: $48,416 (29/51)

2. Washington D.C.
2010 Job Creation Index: 21
Percent Hiring: 29.9
Percent Letting Go: 8.9
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (Dec. 2010)
GDP Per Capita: $36,935 (26/51)
Median Household Income: $48,416 (29/51)

1. South Dakota
2010 Job Creation Index: 29
Percent Hiring: 37.6
Percent Letting Go: 8.2
Unemployment Rate: 3.8% (Dec. 2010)
GDP Per Capita: $39,530 (20/51)
Median Household Income: $49,450 (27/51)

Wanna Job? Move to Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley

Ah, 2004. U.S. unemployment was a mere 6% and the average home price reached $264,540. 2004 was a time when many people lived well and earned more. Well today, many industries are either down and out, or out altogether, and many cities throughout the U.S. still have high unemployment rates. Silicon Valley is an exception.

Bloomberg reports that Silicon Valley employers rebounded from the recession by adding 12,300 positions in 2010, though the total number of jobs is only back to 2004 levels, according to an annual economic report on the region.

The study, released Februray 14, 2011, by Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network and Silicon Valley Community Foundation, also found per- capita income stabilized last year, at $62,400 — the same level as in 2005. Meanwhile, the region is still reeling from cutbacks in government jobs and programs, according to the report.

“The good news is the private sector is doing its thing — don’t ask me how they’re doing it, they’re defying gravity,” Russell Hancock, chief executive officer of Joint Venture, a nonprofit group in San Jose, California, said in an interview. “The problem is the public sector is slammed.”

Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and a new crop of social- networking startups are stepping up hiring, helping offset government cuts and the shift of computer-hardware jobs to lower-cost regions. Google is adding 6,000 jobs worldwide this year, and Facebook plans to boost its workforce by 50 percent annually. The social-networking giant will move its headquarters to Menlo Park from nearby Palo Alto to accommodate the growth.

One of the companies adding employees was Apple, Inc. The Cupertino, California-based company increased its workforce by 36 percent California-based to 46,600 as of September 2010. Apple also reported having 2,800 full-time temporary workers and contractors around this time, up from 2,500 in 2009.

Employers Rejecting the Unemployed

Unemployed Man

Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, promotes jobs for lower-wage workers. She, along with worker advocates, claims that employers are screening out job applicants who are unemployed.

Owens said a telephone company in Atlanta, which she didn’t identify, ran an help-wanted ad saying only the employed should apply. Jobless applicants were also turned down by a temporary staffing firm and a Texas recruiter because they were unemployed, she said.

“What’s startling are the lengths to which companies are going to communicate this such as including the phrase ‘unemployed candidates will not be considered’ right in the posting,” she said.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is investigating similar claims after media reports revealed that some employers are keeping applicants without jobs from being considered. The practice has also raised concerns about discrimination. Still, many others feel that the practice just doesn’t exist.

The Society for Human Resource Management, which represents more than 250,000 personnel managers, is “unaware of widespread recruiting practices” that exclude the jobless, said Fernan R. Cepero, representing the Alexandria, Virginia-based group.

Applicants who have been out of work may struggle because their skills are more obsolete than those who are employed, said Cepero, vice president for human resources at the YMCA of Greater Rochester in New York.

If you feel you have been discriminated against by an employer, contact the EEOC at 1.800.669.4000 or email info@eeoc.gov.

Is Your Occupation Dying?

Postal Sorting

You may have noticed that there are fewer people working at reception desks, in administrative positions, at checkout counters, and in factories, and more computers are popping up in their place. Self-service check-out, and computers and robots that can do everything from sort mail to assemble a car, have all but eliminated millions of jobs around the world—and the trend is expected to continue.

A whopping  300,000 administrative jobs alone disappeared between 2004-2009 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it projects “continued contraction throughout the next decade.” File clerk positions are expected to decline 23 percent, and according to a recent Forbes article, technology has put postal service mail sorters on the chopping block as well. After losing nearly 57,000 jobs between 2004 and 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a further 30 percent decline in this occupation by 2018.

“The kinds of jobs that are disappearing are the jobs that pay really well (for) relatively unskilled workers,” says Harry Holzer, Ph.D., Georgetown University economist and co-author of “Where Are All The Good Jobs Going.” He lists manufacturing jobs as a leading example, saying that well-paid assembly jobs that require modest training and only a high school diploma or less are a thing of the past.

So where did all the good jobs go? “The combination of technological advancement and off-shoring has shrunk these jobs,” says Holzer.

The following list represents only a few of the world’s dying occupations. Many more are expected to kick the bucket in the coming years.

-Computer Operators: declined by 31% from 2004-2009

-Radio Operators: declined by 43% from 2004-2009

-Carpenters: declined by 17% from 2004-2009

-Stage Performers: declined by 61% from 2004-2009

-Holistic Healers: declined by 44% from 2004-2009

-Telemarketers: 15% decline by 2018

-Door-To-Door Salespeople: 11% decline by 2018

-Photo Processors: 24% decline by 2018

-Seamstress: 34% decline by 2018

Unemployment Lowest Since April 2009

Jobs Ahead

Although economists predicted that the unemployment rate would increase to 9.5 percent, the unemployment rate went in the other direction, dropping 9 percent last month from 9.4 percent in December. Many would consider this good news, but a number of skeptical analysts don’t see it this way. The government reported that 36,000 new jobs were created last month—the fewest in four months. And analysts say this might not be a sign that that economic recovery is picking up pace.

Jim O’Sullivan, chief economist at MF Global, said that the market is discounting the big drop in the unemployment rate. “The information value of this report is limited because it was obviously affected by the weather,” he said.

The unemployment rate fell despite the small number of new jobs because some people who are out of work gave up looking for a new job, Mr. O’Sullivan said.

Andrew Wilkinson, senior market analyst at Interactive Brokers, said: “It’s extremely difficult to see beyond the snow to understand today’s data.”

Fortunately, during a recent speech the National Press Club, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed expects the economy to improve this year and inflation to remain low.

How to Tell When You’re About to Get Fired

 Youre Fired

A recent msnbc.com careers report just might save thousands of unsuspecting employees from the shock and humiliation that comes with getting fired or laid-off. It’s perfectly fine to play defense, especially in the workplace today, so whether you’re feeling a little paranoid about your benefits being cut or your company’s loyalty to its employees is questionable,the 8 signs listed below will help you beef up your defensive game—so you can stay ahead of the game.

1. Your company is sold
Tough times can mean lots of mergers and acquisitions — was your company bought out or taken over recently? Even if you’ve been told your job is safe, these kinds of corporate moves always mean the deck will be shuffled, so make sure you hold you cards firmly. Make a list of your accomplishments and contributions, and be ready to give a sales pitch on your worth to the company should you be called in by your boss or a consultant.

2. Pay or benefits are cut

3. Co-workers are fired
Pink slips are handed out all around you, but you’ve been told your job is safe. If layoffs have happened at your work, don’t be naive enough to think you couldn’t be next. Make sure you have your resume ready, and scope out the job market. The worst thing is to be laid off and unprepared, so be ready — just in case.

4. You’re left out of meetings

5. You don’t get along with your boss
This one may be obvious, but just in case: If you and your boss aren’t getting along, your job is in jeopardy. Think about it: When he or she is asked whom to give a pink slip, you’ll have a bull’s-eye on your back. If this is you, look for ways to move within your company. Not possible? Suck up to the boss a little. It may be hard, but it might just save your job.

6. You’re given a dead-end task

7. Your projects are stalled
Feel like all of your work is stopped in its tracks because no one seems to be interested? Watch your back: Having your projects stalled out on someone’s desk is like a big neon sign, announcing that you may be fired soon. Look for projects that you can get accomplished, to show you can contribute to the company’s objectives.

8. You see your job advertised

There are two things you can do if you suspect that you are about to get fired. You can do whatever it takes to stand out at work if you think your job can be saved or is worth saving, or you can start looking for a new job so you can do the walking on your own.

Widespread Layoffs Lead to More Workplace Discrimination Filings

Hearing Impaired Person at Workplace_Wikimedia Commons

It happened after the 2001 recession and it’s happening again. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a report stating that workplace discrimination filings increased from 93,277 to 99,922 between September 2009 and the end of September 2010. The 7.2 increase is the highest level of new discrimination cases ever recorded.

Workplace discrimination cases are typically filed when a worker feels he has been unfairly treated based on sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or other protected category. The EEOC report shows that the largest increase in filings was from disabled workers. According to a recent NYT report, “this increase may be linked to recent changes in the legal definition of disability to make it more expansive. The Obama administration’s growing reputation of greater interest in discrimination cases than its predecessor may also have increased filings. But experts say the chief reason for the increase in accusations of prejudice is most likely tied to the broad layoffs of the last few years.”

Many employer’s feel that most of the discrimination case filings with the EEOC  are “spurious attempts by workers with no job opportunities who have not experienced discrimination.”

“The majority of the time, the EEOC is still finding no reasonable cause for the charges being filed,” said Michael S. Burkhardt, an employment partner in the Philadelphia office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius who represents employers in discrimination class-action suits. “In some cases, people are just upset that they were terminated, and they happen to be in a protected category. Even if that has nothing to do with why they were terminated, they still file a charge.”

He added that employers have had to become increasingly careful about how they structure layoffs when they reduce their work forces, as many have done since the financial crisis began several years ago.

If you feel that you have been discriminated against in the workplace, contact the U.S. Employment Opportunity Commission at 1-800-669-4000 (1-800-669-6820 TTY) or visit the official EEOC website at www.eeoc.gov.

Older Workers Get a Facelift, Literally

Cosmetic Surgery_24655996

In a recent Tribune news report, several workers ages 50 or better discussed a trend that seems to be catching on in the career world. Older workers, both men and women, are opting for cosmetic procedures more often in order to make themselves more marketable and even in an attempt to hold onto their jobs. One Evergreen Park, Il. woman (a 64-year-old receptionist in a doctor’s office) discussed an ultimatum she received from her boss—do something about your hair or be transferred to a job with less patient contact. Another Illinois resident discussed how working out at the gym for two hours a day, embracing the latest fashions, and coloring her grays was not enough. The resident, Charlotte Doyle age 61, decided to get her teeth straightened after losing her position as a pharmaceutical salesperson after 29 years on the job. “I would do it all—botox, lasers, everything—if I could afford it. If it meant getting hired, I would do whatever I could to stop time,” Doyle said.

Some older workers and even older business owners have decided to take even more drastic measures to shave years from their appearance. Hair salon owner Linda Stanojevic got a midface lift because she thought, “How am I going to make someone else look attractive if it seems that I don’t care about my looks.” And Michael Krause, age 65, decided to get an eyelift  to be a more competitive job candidate. Krause, who thought his eyes made him look old and tired states, “I’m glad I did it because it has given me more confidence. And considering the rejection, that’s something you really need.”

It’s true, looks do count when it comes to increasing your chances of getting (and keeping) a job, according to several research studies on the subject. In one research study, Screening job applicants: The impact of physical attractiveness and application, L.M. Watkins & L. Johnston wrote: “There is considerable empirical evidence that physical attractiveness impacts employment decision making, with the result that the more attractive an individual, the greater the likelihood that that person will be hired.” And in another study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, K. Dion (and colleagues) wrote: “This generalization is known as the “what is beautiful is good” stereotype.”

A review of the literature supports the notion that being physically attractive is an advantage when applying for a job. There is little support for the “beauty is beastly” effect. The “what is beautiful is good” bias seems fairly universal and has been found in a variety of different cultures. Since it is not fair to base hiring decisions on non-job-related factors like attractiveness, training hiring managers to avoid this bias is one way to reduce such inequity.

In the meantime, the Evergreen Park receptionist, who wanted to remain anonymous, has this advice for older workers that may be experiencing a change in appearance (and treatment) due to aging, “No matter where you work, do something before everyone starts to notice.”

Workers Stop Retiring, Gen Y Starts Worrying

Gen Y_I Need a Job

If you take a look at Census Bureau data on why any given industry may experience job growth over a period of 10 years, retirement is usually listed as one of the reasons why certain fields will have an impressive percentage of job openings for the decade. But according to a new analysis by a senior research associate at the Employee Benefit Research Institute, “the median length of time on the job rose markedly during the recession, as fearful workers—particularly baby boomers—clung to their existing positions and a few new employees were hired on.”

The analysis, by Craig Copeland, is based on the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, which asks Americans about their job tenure every two years.

As of January 2010, workers reported they had been on the job a median of 5.2 years, up from 4.9 years in 2006. In 2010, 29.8% of all workers said they had been on the job for 10 years or more, up from 26.7% in 2006.

Among men aged 60 to 64 still working full time, 56.8% had held their current job for 10 years or more, up from 48.1% in January 2006 and 52.4% in January 2008. Such numbers indicate that aging boomers understand that finding a new job is tough for older folks. Indeed, according to a new analysis by the AARP of Department of Labor Statistics’ average duration of unemployment for older laid-off job seekers rose to 44.9 weeks in October.

Even in 2008, “people were switching careers,’’ says Copeland. “We even had a program where we were looking at how large employers were trying to retain their employees. But once the recession hit, that wasn’t a problem. Workers weren’t retiring.”

Other scary news for older Gen Y’ers and graduating seniors is: baby boomers are not the only workers holding on to their jobs. All workers are holding on to their jobs to avoid competing with, well, college graduates, older Gen Y’ers, and the more than 4.2 million unemployed workers currently looking for jobs.

Although the recession is officially over, Copeland is quick to remind Americans that, “the unemployment rate has barely budged; it stood at 9.8% in November compared to 10% the year before.”

For more information about the job outlook for all careers for the 2008-2018 decade, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook at  http://www.bls.gov/oco/.

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