Two Roads look at staffing, the economy, and engineering & technical industry news


News Sleuth


    Top 10 States for Tech Workers Willing to Relocate  December 10 2014 02:33:47 PM
    Using data from, reveals tech professionals' 10 most desirable states to relocate to.

    1. It's probably no surprise that California tops the list of most desirable job-relocation destinations.  According to DICE, Silicon Valley topped the list of highest paid talent in 2014.

    2. New York, second on the list, tops all East Coast relocation destinations.  "Silicon Alley" salaries rose 5% last year, and the choice of tech jobs is expansive.  Like California, the cost of living is high, but salaries are equally at the top end.

    The remaining eight spots in order are:

    3. Texas
    4. New Jersey
    5. Illinois
    6. Georgia
    7. Pennsylvania
    8. Virginia
    9. North Carolina
    10. Florida

    To read the original article in all its glory, click HERE and read it at

      Fatal Job Interview Mistakes  November 25 2014 12:35:32 PM
      Monster Contributing Writer Catherine Conlan looks at five fatal mistakes interviewees make that could  prevent them from landing a job.  Read the original story HERE
      Could one of these five fatal mistakes be keeping you from landing a job?

      If you’re being called in for interviews but can’t quite seem to land a job, it’s time to take a look at what might be holding you back. Here are some ways you might be falling short in job interviews.

      You let down your guard
      While it’s important to connect with interviewers, you don’t want to get too friendly, says Jeff Altman, host of Job Search Radio. He recently had a candidate on the final long-distance interview before being flown in for the in-person interview, and it was going very well. The area head and candidate were getting along great, laughing and joking with each other. Then the area head asked a question and the candidate replied, “I'll give you the answer at the whiteboard when we meet."
      “There was no meeting,” Altman says. “The candidate was rejected. He had confused the camaraderie of the moment and lost track of the fact that this person was still evaluating him and had every reason to expect an answer.”

      You wave red flags
      Obviously, you don’t want to lie in a job interview. But if you’ve made it to that stage, you need to keep in mind that hiring managers are looking for red flags, so don’t show them any.
      For example, if you ran your own business only to have it fail, talk about the success it did have when times were good instead of focusing on what went wrong. “A business owner who failed to renegotiate a lease and lost access to his facility is not a good explanation as to why you want another job,” says Robert Meier, founder of Job Market Experts.

      You don’t pay attention to detail
      We’re not talking about proofreading your resume for typos -- that should be a given. “One small mistake that's made all too often is not accounting for time zones when doing a phone or video interview,” says Chris Brown, director of human resources at InterCall.
      He says he scheduled to interview someone located in California at 1 p.m. Eastern, 10 a.m. Pacific, but the interviewee logged in for his interview at 1 p.m. Pacific, clearly not accounting for the time change. The interviewee missed the call. “This simple mistake knocked him out of the running for the position,” Brown says.

      You talk about retiring

      While retirement is a natural topic of discussion for workers of a certain age, this kind of “honest dialog” can be a detriment, Meier says. Talking about retirement can make it seem like you’re counting the days until you can stop working.
      He also encourages military veterans to avoid using the word “retirement” to describe the end of their service. “The word ‘retirement’ should be banished from your vocabulary.”

      You fail to follow up
      “Sending a thank you to the interviewers after an interview is good form and shows courtesy, respect for their time, and genuine interest in the job,” says Trevor Simm, founder and president of OpalStaff. “Plus, it keeps the lines of communication open with the employer. Always follow up after interviews.”

        Study: Women with more children are more productive at work. Men too.

        Mark Gottschalk  October 31 2014 12:16:20 PM
        The Washington Post reported on a study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis that concluded that mothers outperformed childless women at almost every stage of the game.  In fact, more kids equaled more productivity.

        ...the authors found that within the first five or so years of their career, women who never have children substantially underperform those who do. (The difference in productivity between women with one child and those with no children is more muted using a different ranking for research. But in both cases, mothers with at least two children perform the best.)

        While the news is mostly about the moms -- who have routinely been discriminated against in the workplace due to perceptions of decreased work effectiveness -- the effect wasn't limited to women.  Fathers of multiple children were more productive than fathers of one child and childless men.

        For men, fathers of one child and those without children performed similarly throughout much of their careers. But men with two or more kids were more productive than both groups.

        The study does indicate that young children take a toll on work, but the increased productivity over the long term more than offset this effect.

        But as any parent knows, the days are long and the years are short. That’s the case here, too. Mothers tend to be more productive both before and long after the birth of their children. When that work is smoothed out over the course of a career, the paper found, they are more productive on average than their peers.

        Honestly, the result shouldn't be a surprise.  Parents have responsibilities to their kids that they take seriously.  Providing financially for children, typically through work, is a gigantic one of those responsibilities.  Singles or childless couples (excluding unique exceptions) have far fewer people depending on them and are thus freer to focus on their own needs and desires -- and the ability to act on them.  Parents feel obligated to set good examples for their kids. Reliability, dependability, and hard work are just a few of the bits of character they usually try to impart.  There is also the looming need to financially provide for them today and, if able, into their college years.

        I think it's important not to misinterpret cause and effect here.  Simply having another child won't make mothers or fathers more productive.  Rather, in the domain of the more privileged women and men looked at in the study -- who have "careers" as opposed to "jobs" -- additional children are presumably well planned for.  And these parents might be more driven or more organized innately in ways that let them handle both home and work roles more effectively than most of us.

        Click HERE to read the original article.

          Trend of US onshoring from China continues

  October 24 2014 03:13:25 PM
          Ferret, an Australia Manufacturing, Industrial and Mining Directory, cites a report today about the trend of onshoring -- i.e. bringing back home to the US -- manufacturing work from China:

          A new report by management consultancy firm Boston Consulting Group suggests the number of US firms onshoring from China has risen for the third straight year.

          AFP reports that BCG’s Made In America, Again survey investigated the views of 252 respondents, senior executives from companies in a variety of manufacturing sub-sectors.

          Overall, 16 per cent of executives from companies currently manufacturing in China said they were already actively onshoring. The inaugural 2012 report saw 7 per cent giving this response.

          “These findings show that not only does interest in repatriating production to the US and creating American jobs remain strong but also that companies are acting on those intentions," Harold Sirkin, the report’s co-author, said.

          Fifty-four per cent said they were interested in re-shoring, about the same as last year.

          Click here to read the report.

            Earnings for Full-Time Workers Rise 2.5% in Q3 2014

    October 24 2014 03:05:53 PM
            Median weekly earnings of US full-time wage and salary workers rose 2.5 percent year over year in the third quarter to $790 (not seasonally adjusted), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced today.

            Women who usually worked full time had median weekly earnings of $715, or 82.2 percent of the $870 median for men.

            For workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher, the median was $1,170, and for workers with a high school diploma only the median was $681.

            Among occupations, workers in the management, professional and related occupations posted the highest median weekly earnings at $1,326 for men and $980 for women. Earnings were lower in service jobs where the median earnings were $585 for men and $467 for women.
            Read the original article at HERE

              Survey Says Small Businesses Planning to Hire

              Staffing Industry Analysts  September 22 2014 12:34:13 PM
              Small businesses expect to have a profitable second half of the year, according to the SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard survey for September. The survey found 81 percent of small business owners expect to be profitable in the second half of the year, up from 77 percent in June. Optimism among small business owners rose to 73 percent, its second highest point in 2014; it reached 75 percent in May.

              Fifty percent said they would make investments in their business in the fourth quarter, up from 44 percent at this time last year. Of those planning to make new investment, 52 percent said they would do so by adding new staff.

              However, hiring edged down 0.1 percent from August and 0.7 percent year over year.

              “The businesses that we work with are your mom and pop shops, your really tight-knit operations with just two or three employees, and a really high number of them have worked their way into profitability,” said SurePayroll General Manager Andy Roe on the hiring increase. “It’s tremendous and the excitement is really back in the air for small businesses heading into the year-end stretch. We'll look to see more investment from business owners in staff, marketing and technology, as well as new equipment and even office space for some.”

              SurePayroll’s Scorecard compiles data from more than 40,000 small businesses and exclusively reflects the trends affecting businesses with one to 10 employees. The average business reflected has six employees. SurePayroll Inc. provides online payroll services to small businesses. It is a subsidiary of Paychex Inc. (NASD: PAYX).

              Read the original story at HERE

                Top 5 Things Not To Do In A Job Interview

        August 6 2014 04:05:44 PM
                You'd be forgiven for believing there is a simple list of obvious things we'd all agree should not be done in a job interview.  But, as with common sense not actually being so common in practice, interviewees can and have done the darndest things to unwittingly undermine their chances of getting a position.

                Below is an original article from Tamara Elliott at Global News which provides guidance on common interview slip-ups.  The original article can be found HERE.

                Hunting for a new gig? It turns out you could derail your chance of getting hired before the interview even starts.

                Staffing company Express Employment Professionals has released a list of the top five interview mistakes that people make. They include lying about experience, checking a cell phone, arriving late, answering a phone call and acting arrogant.

                “It takes a great deal of effort to secure an interview for most jobs, so it baffles me that anyone would throw away that opportunity by lying or arriving late,” says Bob Funk, the CEO of Express Employment Professionals. “But believe it or not, these things happen.

                He adds that there are simple steps that every interviewee should take.

                “My advice is don’t even think about answering your phone, texting on your phone, or even looking at your phone,” Funk says. “In fact, turn your phone off before entering the building. If an employer sees you can’t take an interview seriously, I promise he or she won’t trust that you can take the job seriously.”

                The following list outlines the worst things an applicant can do during a job interview:
                • Lie about experience- 79%
                • Check phone-  63%
                • Arrive late- 58%
                • Act arrogant- 53%
                • Answer a phone call- 53%
                • Drink (alcohol)- 47%
                • Badmouth boss or co-worker- 47%
                • Not do homework/research- 16%
                • Smoke- 16%
                • Bad eye contact- 16%
                • Bring a friend or relative- 16%
                • Text message- 5%
                • Dress inappropriately- 5%
                • Use improper language or slang- 5%
                • Chew gum- 5%
                • Act nervous- 5%
                • Not know weaknesses- 5%

                  The most valuable keywords to have on a tech resume

                  QUARTZ  July 8 2014 03:33:30 PM
                  QUARTZ published a fascinating look at what STEM skills pay off the most when listed on a resume (and we'll also assume that the resume owners are actually capable of performing said skills...).  The article pulls it's conclusions from an equally fascinating -- and  detailed -- study put out by the Brooking Institution that looks at advertisement duration vs skill requirements for job listings.

                  Computer skills, unsurprisingly, come out high on the list, with Process Management, Automation Tools, Machine Learning, Load Runner
                  and Big Data forming the top five skills in highest demand.  "Big Data" and "Machine Learning" are obviously broad categories under which particular technical skills will also be in high demand.

                  Combining skills with industries yields an equally interesting list, led by: Credit Risk, Credit Analysis, Financial Solutions, New Biz Development,
                  and Commercial Lending.  Clearly,  computer/IT skills combined with banking/finance is a high-demand combination.

                  Lastly, the study looked at how long it took to fill a position with particular skills.  On average, QUARTZ researchers found that non-STEM job listings took an average of 33 days to fill, while
                  STEM listings stayed open an average of 50 days.  The hardest skills to fill: Verilog, NoSQL, Machine Learning, Apache Hadoop, and CISA.

                  Silicon Valley CEOs (and many from farther afield) are constantly complaining that good technical talent is expensive and in short supply. There’s something to their concerns. At every education level, jobs requiring STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) skills in the US take far more time and money to fill than just about anything else, according to a new study from the Brookings Institution.

                  Researcher Jonathan Rothwell, together with Burning Glass, a labor-market data analysis company, collected data on thousands of American job ads, the dates they opened and were taken down, and the skills that they require.

                  Google, for example, took an average of 97 days to fill computer-related jobs (primarily software engineers), 56 for sales, and 79 for management in the San Jose area (which encompasses Mountain View, where the firm’s headquarters are). About half of the jobs in Rothwell’s dataset that were posted for 70 days required high levels of STEM knowledge.

                  The dataset also tracks required skills, and identifies which ones pay off most handsomely. Computer skills make up a large portion. The average salary value of a skill is calculated from the averaged advertised salary of jobs that mention any particular ability.

                  Rothwell passed the detailed data on to Quartz, and we made the graphs below to show the average salary value for each skill. (We confined ourselves to skills with more than 2,000 job ads in the dataset.)

                  Some caveats: This isn’t a perfect dataset. It scrapes from a large set of job advertisements, not all of which include salary data. Some of the skills broken out are catch-alls, broad tags like “big data,” “machine learning,” and and “data modeling,” rather than skills with particular techniques or programming languages. Others, like “IT management,” “process management,” and  “concept development” seem like proxies for managerial positions, which likely accounts for why jobs with these “skills” have higher high salary figures.

                  What’s more, these descriptions don’t identify the primary skill a job is hiring for, just those skills that were mentioned prominently in the listing. So some less consequential skills likely come out on top. And it will always be a combination of skills rather than any one that employers look for. But the data do provide a useful window into some of the specific skills and areas of knowledge that are in greatest demand. First, the data for computer-centric skills:
                  Image:The most valuable keywords to have on a tech resume
                  >>> Click HERE to continue reading the article at

                    Want women technology leaders? Start by fixing summer camp...

            July 1 2014 08:15:00 AM
                    (The original article appeared HERE at

                    Shereen Shermak, chief executive of Boston’s Launch Angels, shares her thoughts on how to get more girls interested in — and sticking with — technology, starting with a youth staple: Summer Camp.

                    On a recent morning, like many parents, I called to check in on the new camp I’d recently signed my daughter up for. It is a well-respected programming camp that offered a module based on the popular game Minecraft, a video game many parents have to limit for their kids because it is so engaging.

                    It turns out that Minecraft also makes for an excellent learning tool. My daughter was ridiculously excited about the week at camp.

                    While I was speaking with the camp’s representative, I happened to ask if there were any other girls in her class. There were none.

                    I thought about it and called back and asked if there would be any female counselors at the camp. That week, the camp rep said that there would be one for the teenage camp, but none for the little kids.

                    “Are there any other little girls in any of the other classes for her to interact with at lunch?” I asked.

                    Not in the entire camp that week.

                    I hated doing it, but I switched my daughter to a different programming class at another location that had a few girl students and female counselors.

                    After I hung up, I was reminded of a similar experience of my own 30 years ago when I went to camp to learn BASIC and robotics. I was 16 at the time and much better able to handle being a girl among boys. I had been passing by them in math and science for a decade by then.

                    The problem is not the little kids; many little girls are playing Minecraft and in theory would want to spend a week on it. Adult women are a much larger demographic of gamers than boys under the age of 17, so we can’t say gaming is inherently male.

                    Carnegie Mellon University turned their engineering school around in only 5 years, going from 7 percent girls to nearly half. Maybe we need to take a closer look at what CMU did.

                    The other players in this equation are parents. There are many reasons not to go to such a camp — expense, location, travel plans. But all of these reasons apply to both boys and girls.

                    These parents are not alone — the US as a whole substantially trails the global average of about one-third of women engineering graduate, although individual schools like MIT recently started to exceed that number.

                    In parsing out the issues, the most bothersome is that this camp will, in theory, be shaping who will potentially be going to engineering school ten years from now, and who are young programmers will be 20 years from now.

                    Can we just get some girls to camp for a week to build up their confidence in programming and see if they are interested in doing more?

                    Note that the camp had tried to attract girls in all of its messaging, pictures, etc., but often with girls, you have to specifically invite them. So camp administrators need to specifically target local schools and make sure that a diverse group of students (and parents) are aware of the opportunities.

                    It would be terrific if the corporate community could step up and sponsor additional seats for girls as well.

                    Everyone seems to be frustrated that women aren’t making it down to the other end of the funnel, moving from engineering and design to C-level positions like chief executive or chief technology officer. For this to happen it’s important that more girls get (a fun and exciting!) early start such as one that a camp focused on Minecraft might offer.

                    Shereen Shermak is the chief executive at crowd funding firm Launch Angels. Previously, she helped found Boston startups Buyside FX and Fashionplaytes. With degrees from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Shermak has also worked at StateStreet and New York City’s Division of Economic and Financial Opportunity.

                      Tips for Turning Your Temp Job into Full-Time

                      Fox Business  June 30 2014 04:48:43 PM
                      Temporary workers are no longer just that. Increasingly companies are using temp and contractors to find full time employees, relying on short term projects to weed out the good and the bad.

                      That’s great news for job seekers looking to land a full time job. But it doesn’t mean every temp worker is going to transition into an employee.

                      “Test driving employees is a great way to get to know a candidate, before making the full investment of bringing them onboard permanently,” says Joel Garfinkle, author of Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level. “Obviously, what each employer is specifically looking for during this ‘test drive’ is different. However, there are some general factors that usually help determine whether or not a temp successfully transitions to full-time.”

                      From treating the assignment as an on the job interview to going above and beyond, here’s a look at ways career experts say you can parlay a temp job into a full time one.

                      When it comes to working as a contractor or temp with an eye toward making it a permanent job, career experts say you have to carefully choose where you are temping. After all, you may be an expert in marketing, but if you take a temp position as a receptionist is it really something you would want to do full-time? “You want to pick (a temp) job that most closely resembles what it is you want to do permanently,” says Tom Wharton, Managing Partner with OI Global Partners, the career consulting firm. “If something is too far out in left field you won’t do it well and you won’t last long in the assignment.”

                      Even if you are hired to simply answer phones and make copies, you have to treat the assignment as the equivalent of an interview and act accordingly. “Don’t under estimate the watchful eye and the impact you are making while doing your job,” says Paul McDonald, senior executive director with Robert Half. “The impression you are making while on the job speaks volumes to those around you.”

                      For technical roles, it’s likely you were given the assignment because of you skills. While it’s important to showcase those needed skills during your temporary work, experts say you also want to demonstrate you possess the soft skills like being a great communicator, flexibility and a penchant for being a team player. If you are able to show your boss and co-workers that you listen and play nice with others it can compensate for any weaknesses in your technical skills. “The other most important factor an employer is test driving is the qualitative aspects of the candidate,” says Garfinkle. “How are their personal skills? Do they fit well with the other team members? Are they able to communicate effectively? These are things you hope to get a feel for during an interview, but really can’t know for sure how it’ll go until the candidate is actually in place and interacting with everyone.”

                      Going above and beyond cannot be understated if you want the temp job to become full-time.  Not only do you want to do your job to the best of your ability but you also want to volunteer for extra work and help co-workers in a pinch. Wharton has had clients who did so well during their contract assignment that they ended up replacing a current full-time employee who wasn’t at the same level. “Being a team player is very important,” says Wharton, noting it behooves people to try to work with other departments as well as their own so that they come into contact with all the different department heads. “You want to be recognized as a key contributor and somebody who believes in the company and its mission,” he says.

                      Most people aren’t mind readers, and that’s particularly true of hiring managers, which is why McDonald says it’s important to communicate your interest in working for the company on a permanent basis. Not only do you want to let your boss or bosses know that but you should also alert the staffing firm, which may have a contract with the company.  McDonald says to ask if there is an opportunity for the role to transition to full time, then be flexible about taking on jobs in other departments that you may be qualified for. “If you want to parlay it into a full time position then demonstrate your flexibility,” says McDonald. “Let them know you are interested because not every temp is interested in full time employment.”