News & Commentary

December 3, 2015

Companies in the U.S. added 217,000 jobs in November, according to the New York Times and Associated Press. Increased hiring was focused in service sector firms, led by gains in retail, finance and other service industries. The government will issue its official jobs report for last month tomorrow.

The New York Times reports that small business owners are developing creative ways to hold onto employees. Quit rates in private businesses have stagnated after rising in recent years, but the number of employees voluntary leaving small companies continues to rise. One Manhattan-based small business owner explains, “we don’t have a 401(k) and can’t always offer a big salary.” Most who quit report doing so due to a lack of career path or growth opportunities. Small business owners describe their efforts to retain workers: they make a point of spending one-on-one time with all staff members, focusing on their interests, and discussing their career aspirations, as well as making sure their needs outside the workplace are met. Some offer shares in the business. The individualized attention and perks, as one employee put it, “makes you want to work at 110 percent for somebody.”

According to the Wall Street Journal and the Huffington Post, financial companies are beginning to follow tech’s lead in the parental leave movement. Credit Suisse announced Monday that it would begin offering 20 weeks of paid parental leave to its 8,300 U.S. employees. Most of Credit Suisse’s banking competitors offer about 12 weeks, with the exception of Goldman Sachs, at 16. But, as a company rep explained, the landscape has changed; Credit Suisse’s competitors no longer include only banks. The company also announced it would pay for parents to bring a nanny if they had to travel within the first year of a child’s life. The policy, which applies to primary caregivers, gives employees a year within which to take the time off, ideally allowing dual-income families to stagger their leave time.

There is a new company in town for working moms, according to the New York Times. The Second Shift, a new membership-based company in New York, is focusing on pairing mothers who left professional careers with companies looking to hire consultants and freelancers for projects. Membership is free, but when the company successfully matches a member with a job, employers pay the Second Shift 15% of the total fee on top of the agreed-upon salary, and members have 5% deducted from their payment as a service fee.  Since the website launched in January 2015, the company has placed women in 45 project-based jobs, and has amassed 300 members, with 500 more whose references are under review. Google is one of the companies who has hired through the Second Shift, glad to access this demographic, especially as it tries to improve its staff-wide diversity.

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