March 2015

HR Extras

Hiring likely to be on the rise in 2015

CareerBuilder recently published its 2015 U.S. Job Forecast and the results bode well for job seekers. With about 36 percent of employers expecting to add full-time, permanent employees in 2015, the report shows the best jobs outlook since 2006.
 
Hiring in the areas of information technology, financial services, manufacturing, and health care are expected to exceed the national average. The top five areas for hiring in 2015 focus on revenue growth, innovation, and customer loyalty.
  1. Sales (36%)
  2. Customer Service (33%)
  3. Information Technology (26%)
  4. Production (26%)
  5. Administrative (22%)
Wage growth has been stagnant for the past few years but that’s likely to change this year. Eighty-two percent of employers plan to increase compensation for existing employees (up from 73 percent last year) and 64 percent plan to offer higher starting salaries for new employees (up from 49 percent last year). Information Technology professionals are leading the pack when it comes to employee pay increases.
 
Hiring of school employees could get more competitive this year. US News and World Report recently released a list of the 100 best jobs of 2015 evaluating jobs based on a variety of factors, including pay and the likelihood of being hired. Jobs common in schools, including registered nurse, information technology worker, physical therapist, occupational therapist, and speech language pathologist were close to the top of the list. Elementary school teacher came in 39th, with high school and middle school teacher not far behind at 43rd and 45th, respectively. Human resource specialist came in at number 50. School counselor was 76th.

Sunset Advisory Commission recommends doing away with SBEC

The state’s Sunset Advisory Commission has recommended doing away with the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC). The commission says the board’s duties can be overseen by the Texas Education Commissioner.
 
The commission made the same recommendation in 2012, noting that having two governor-appointed entities oversee work performed by TEA causes confusion and a lack of clear accountability for the oversight of educator certification and professional conduct issues, but the amendment containing that recommendation never came up on the floor of the Texas Senate. SBEC has not had its own staff and budget since 2005.
 
Last year, Waco ISD Superintendent Bonny Cain, who also serves as SBEC’s chair, offered a defense of the board in a letter to the commission. The letter stated that teaching should be treated like all other professions that have their own licensing boards, ability to set entry standards for the profession, and discipline members.
 
The Sunset Advisory Commission has reported its findings to Texas legislators, who have the final say in whether or not to eliminate the board through legislative action.

EEOC hears testimony on workplace harassment

If you think workplace harassment is a thing of the past, think again.
 
In January, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) noted that 30 percent of the changes filed with the agency involve workplace harassment based on sex, race, disability, age, and more. At that hearing, Carla Miaskoff, the EEOC’s acting associate legal counsel, said that recent harassment lawsuits demonstrate the need for progress now, 50 years after Congress created the EEOC to enforce workplace anti-discrimination laws. The agency plans to form a task force to identify strategies to prevent and correct workplace harassment.
 
So how can employers prevent harassment? The experts that testified had some ideas:
  • Conduct training that is repeated, includes leaders, and offers specific examples of unacceptable behaviors.
  • Offer short refresher training sessions as part of other large-group meetings using examples of workplace harassment in the news.
  • Handpick the people who will hear employee harassment complaints. Don’t require employees to report to their supervisors as a matter of policy.
Employers can also take action to help reluctant employees report harassment. They can offer hotlines or conduct yearly anonymous surveys asking workers if they’ve seen or experienced harassment.
 
—“Workplace Harassment Still Pervasive, EEOC Hears,” SHRM Website, Jan. 14, 2015.