Archive for December, 2009

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See you in the new year!

December 23, 2009

It’s December 23. December 23! I still can’t quite believe it. This year has gone by ridiculously quickly. It has been challenging, stressful, fun and exciting in both a private and professional context. 2010 shows no signs of slowing down.

One of the things I am glad I made time for was getting this blog up and running. I have already had a lot of great conversations, debates and feedback about my posts which encourage me to keep sharing my thoughts here. The dialogue has helped me learn and broaden my perspective and knowledge on things, so thank you.

This time next week I will be on holidays – blissfully checked out and mentally recharging so this is a good bye, I’ll see you next year post :).  I will be completely disconnecting from the virtual world so that means no blog updates until next year.

I hope you all have a great Christmas and a great start to 2010 – I’ll see you back here in late January 2010!

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I have a confession to make…

December 15, 2009

Remember Go Home on Time Day?

I’ll let the pictures start the story:

I was not alone. After Go Home on Time Day on November the 25th, The Australia Institute ran a brief survey of those who signed up with a 12% response rate. According to this post on the HR Magazine’s site, of the ~20,000 people who put their names down for a ‘leave pass’, the survey results indicated that just over half (55%) who signed up kept to their commitment to go home ‘on time’. The remaining 45% (guilty as charged), were not quite as successful.

Of the 45%, the majority cited having “Too much work to do” (68%), and “Colleagues were working late” (11%) as the main reasons they didn’t make it home on time. For me, staying back to get some more work done was a concious decision that I made. The work was not ‘can’t-wait-until-tomorrow’ urgent, but I wanted to spend the extra hours finishing it off before heading home.

The Australia Institute has taken down the Go Home on Time Day site, and I haven’t seen anything to indicate whether they are planning to run the Day next year, or whether they feel the day was a success. Personally I hope this is something they continue to run annually. I found the results from their initial research really informative and it definitely gave me more insight into working hours and patterns in the Australian context.

‘Fess up. If you put your name down to go home on time, did you do it?

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Australia at Work 2009 research findings

December 13, 2009

Last month, the third Australia at Work (A@W) research paper ‘Australia at Work: In a Changing World’ was released by the University of Sydney’s Workplace Research Centre. A@W is a five year research project that started in 2007 to keep tabs on how changes in Australian labour law impact working life.

The paper’s results are based largely on interviews conducted with ~6,801 workers during February-June 2009. As A@W is a longitudinal study, it is worth remembering that the results are limited to the opinions and experiences of the original sample group (i.e. 2006 workforce participants); the results therefore do not take the experiences of new workforce entrants into account. Read more about the survey methodology here or take a look at pages 6 and 7 of the survey.

Things I found interesting:

  • The average number of working hours for full-time employees is 44 hours per week – the same level reported in the A@W 2007 and 2008 papers. This data is also consistent with the Australia Institute’s figures on overtime in Australia which reported that full-time workers were working 70 minutes per day worth of overtime
  • One in four full-time employees want to reduce their hours of work, whilst one in five part-time employees want to increase their hours of work
  • On the whole, the total number of Australians in work has remained stable in spite of the Global Financial Crisis, fear of a recession hitting our shores and an increase in our unemployment rate to 5.7
  • Despite job stability, the number of employees who regard themselves as “dispensable” increased by 3% (to 51% total) stating that they felt if they left their current job, they could easily be replaced
  • Despite the downturn in the economy, the study found considerable evidence that a large portion of workers were unaffected by the downturn with the survey results identifying a 6% decrease in the number of people who reported a lower standard of living in comparison to the 2008 research (21% vs 27%)
  • While a large portion of the workforce reported no affects from the downturn, employees who changed jobs during this time reported a drop in working conditions including a decrease in the number of paid hours of work, a decrease in annual salary and a loss of, or reduction to their paid leave entitlements
  • More workers reported an increase in their managers sharing information with them by consulting about workplace issues. (I wonder if this has anything to do with the increasing popularity of using social media in workplaces?)
  • The number of women employed has increased, although they are quick to caution that this increase should not be misinterpreted as gender equity within Australia
  • What are your thoughts? Are these research findings reflective of your own employment experiences over 2009? I know the information delcaring a large portion of the workforce were unaffected by the downturn came as unexpected news to me (and I still do not buy it).

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    Not using social media in recruitment? You’d better start

    December 6, 2009

    Last week I attended the ATC Social Media Conference that focused on the use of social media in recruitment. There were ~130 people present:  in-house corporate recruiters (the majority), ~15% were agency recruiters and a handful of HR and other professionals.

    Mark Pesce kicked off the day with a talk called “Everything old is new again” and put forth that using social media in recruitment is about using different tools to get the same thing done. Just like with using email, phone and face-to-face meetings, tools such as Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and FaceBook (and the list goes on!) can be used to communicate with and attract your candidates.

    Lesson 1: Social media does not need to be approached with the raised eyebrows and fear that many recruiters (and HR professionals) have. It really is not that scary.

    Mark did a quick poll of the room – of the ~130 attendees a mere 15-20% used Twitter and 70% used FaceBook. I think the stat for FaceBook was artificially high as I would hazard a guess that most people use it exclusively for personal purposes. But that’s not to say that it can’t be used as a recruitment tool, and a successful one at that. Margie Kwan from Ernst and Young spoke about how they use FaceBook to interact with and attract graduates. Their FaceBook page has since become the top referrer to their careers site and has helped them communicate the many graduate opportunities available inside the company, outside of accounting.

    When I heard Mark comment on the timeframe over which recruiters have to become adept with social media tools (below) I was confused. Did I hear right? Recruiters have a few years to catch up with social media tools. What?

    You have at least a few years to become adept with the tools, and a few more to build out those nationwide networks. But I can promise this: at the close of the 2nd decade of the 21st century, recruiting will look entirely different — Mark Pesce.

    Full transcript of Mark’s presentation, here.

    I really think this is the wrong message. If you are a recruiter who is not using social media, you are already falling behind. Quickly. Particularly in industries where social media is being used by employers and candidates alike to create their own social networks or by using recruitment agencies who have already cottoned-on.

    Social media means increased accessibility to information and people – boundaries are fast becoming a thing of the past. Smart companies and candidates are already one step ahead and are actively using social media to their benefit. In an unconference session on LinkedIn later in the day, Riges Younan, the facilitator asked the room “Are you guys scared about what’s being talked about today?”

    Lesson 2: If you are not using social media in recruitment, start getting involved now.

    Spend the time understanding where your candidates spend time in the online (and offline) world. An online presence on Twitter, FaceBook or LinkedIn may work for one company, but fail for another if their candidates are not using the same tools. Dan Nuroo, who also attended the conference wrote a good post on this. Social media shouldn’t replace traditional means of recruitment, but that’s another story!

    There were a lot of other great talks and sessions at the conference. A big thank you to the organisers, speakers, and to all the Tweeters I got to meet and catch up with in person – proof of social media in action!

    The 2010 conference is already in the works. If you’re an agency recruiter,  make sure you’re there or feel the wrath of Riges Younan and Ross Clennett. You’ve been warned.