Helpmates Staffing Services Once Again Is Named to the Best of Staffing® Awards for the Tenth Year in a Row

It’s a 10-peat!!!

Helpmates Staffing – once again! – has been named to ClearlyRated’s Best of Staffing® Client and Talent Diamond Awards. This is our 10th straight year of earning this award!

Helpmates Staffing  Services has earned ClearlyRated’s Best of Staffing® Client and Talent Diamond Awards for 2019. (ClearlyRated formerly was known as Inavero.)

We earned the Diamond Awards in both the Talent and Client categories after winning the best Best of Staffing® award in each at least five years in a row. Participating staffing firms are rated by both their clients and their candidates (talent). On average, clients of winning staffing agencies are 2.2 times more likely to be completely satisfied with the agency’s services and candidates who have been placed by winning agencies are 1.7 times more likely to be completely satisfied compared to those working with non-winning agencies.

Fewer than 2 percent of all staffing agencies in the U.S. and Canada earn the Best of Staffing award and just 35 percent of those also earned the Diamond Awards this year.

More than 1.2 million people (staffing candidates and clients) across the country provided feedback on many of the nation’s staffing firms. Award winners are determined by the percentage of satisfaction scores of 9 or 10 (out of a possible 10) given to them by their placed job candidates and clients.

Helpmates won in four areas:

  • Client Satisfaction Award (10th year in a row)
  • Talent Satisfaction Award (8th year in a row)
  • The Best of Staffing Client Diamond Award (6th year in a row)
  • The Best of Staffing Talent Diamond Award ( 4th year in a row)

We never would have enjoyed winning this award for the 10th time without the dedication and hard work of our internal team members. We are humbled that our temporary associates and clients appreciate all the work that our internal employees perform on their behalf: we are honored to work with and for you as we strive to place the best candidates with the best companies in Southern California.

To learn more about our services for clients and job candidates, contact the Helpmates branch nearest you.

Southern California’s Job Outlook for 2019

So here it is, mid-January. Talent still is hard to find around the country. Candidates are ghosting when it comes to job interviews and even employees are just leaving their employer without notice.

But that’s nationwide. What’s this year’s job outlook for Southern California? We put on our sleuthing hats to find out.

  1. More of the same: an absolute candidate market (at least through the 2nd Q 2019).

Brea Jobs

No surprise there. According to the California EDD (scroll down to the link at “Short-Term Projections: Two-Years” and download the spreadsheet), employment in Orange County from 2nd Quarter 2017 to 2nd Quarter 2019 is projected to grow overall by 3.4 percent (interestingly, self-employment is projected to grow by 4.2 percent). Not every employment sector is going to grow (mining and oil/gas extraction, for example, is projected to fall by 8.5 percent overall), but most are growing.  Manufacturing is to grow 1.8 percent; while software publishers are to grow a whopping 13 percent; auto equipment sales and leasing by 6 percent; professional and business services by 3 percent; advertising, PR and marketing by 3.4 percent; professional, scientific and technical services by 4 percent; office administrative services by 6.7 percent; and so on.

(Take a look at the document; it’s fascinating. For example, if you’re looking for work in the “travel arrangement and reservation services,” growth is expected to be 5.6 percent. And this, remember, is in a day when many of us make our own travel arrangements online. So much for the “death of the travel agent”!)

  1. But that’s statewide. And it’s for mid-2017 through mid-2019. What about in Southern California and in just 2019?

We hear you. It’s a bit trickier to find info/predictions for just Orange and Los Angeles counties, but here’s what we found: we may experience an economic slowdown in late 2019.

If you don’t want to read the link, here’s what it says in a nutshell:

Although the economy is currently operating at full employment and benefiting from the massive tax cut and spending increases, the economic stimulus coming from that combination will likely run out in 2020, and deficits it creates will linger for another decade.

In spite of concerns about the risk of a full-blown trade war with China, the forecast for the U.S. economy is one of growth, albeit slower growth. California remains one of the most prosperous states, with a strong market that is expected to continue to grow.

You’ll notice it says the big growth ends in 2020, but further down the report states the growth “will slow to 2 percent in 2019 and to a near recession at 1 percent in 2020.”

As for California: the state’s growth will slow along with the nation’s but our economy is still expected to grow faster than the country’s as a whole. Here’s the skinny, below:

The total employment growth forecasts for 2018, 2019 and 2020 are 1.7 percent, 1.8 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. Payrolls are expected to grow by 1.7 percent in 2018, by 1.8 percent in 2019, and by 0.8 percent in 2020. Real personal income growth is forecast to be 2.5 percent, 3.6 percent and 2.9 percent in 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively. California’s average unemployment rate is expected to have its normal differential to the U.S. rate at 4.2 percent in 2020. Home building will accelerate to about 140,000 units per year by the end of the 2020 forecast.

  1. Most job growth is in the Inland Empire.

Sorry, OC and LA, but the job growth is greatest due east. Which could be great news if you live there and work west and wish to find a job closer to home. Pay rates are a bit lower, however. For example, Indeed.com reports that the average hourly rate for an administrative assistant in Anaheim is 16.21/hour while in Riverside, it’s $15.28. Yet housing also is less expensive, with the median gross rent in Riverside County hitting $1,212/month, while it’s $1,264 in Los Angeles County and $1,608 in Orange County. (Data is from 2017.)

  1. Wrapping up.

So things look great for job seekers for at least the next six months and possibly throughout the entire year. After all, slower growth still is growth. But don’t be complacent because often in business, slower growth often means….job cutbacks! And that means the unemployment rate will rise and jobs will be harder to come by.

 

So if you can:

  • Learn new skills.
  • Take note of your accomplishments and add them to your resume.
  • Work to add value to your employer (don’t just “show up for work,” do the minimum expected of you and then think that you’re “valuable”).
  • Grow your professional network.
  • Never, ever become complacent. If you’ve never been laid off from a job before, if you’re laid off next year or early in 2020, get ready for potential WEEKS of unemployment. It happens. And to talented, valuable workers. No one is immune.

That’s why it’s a good idea to have a Helpmates recruiter in your professional network. In fact, take a look at our current opportunities, and if one appeals to you, follow the directions to apply. You also can contact the branch office nearest you to register.

How California’s Statewide Minimum Wage Hike is Affecting Your Temporary Workforce

It’s not news to the region’s employers that the minimum wage for California businesses with more than 26 employees increased statewide from $11/hour to $12/hour on January 1.

What’s more, Los Angeles County will be raising its minimum wage on July 1, from $13.25/hour to $14.25/hour.

What this means is that temporary workers taking assignments in Los Angeles County will be making more than $2 more an hour by mid-summer than if they were to take assignments in Orange County, where the minimum wage will remain $12/hour.

Brea staffing agency

We believe that employers in Orange County within a “reasonable” distance from Los Angeles County will lose out on top temporary workers unless they are willing to at least meet the higher minimum wages.

We’ve found that driving 60 minutes or more to make $2 or even “just” $1.25 more an hour is quite attractive to temporary workers. Long commutes are a way of life here in our region, and even taking a trip from the coast to the San Bernardino Mountains for a day is considered pretty much “nothing” to many of your friends and neighbors. (We know you agree with us, but in case you need proof…..)

Workers Making More than – But Near – Minimum Wage Also Expect a Hike

We’ve also seen that temporary workers who earned $2 or possibly as much as $3 more an hour than minimum wage before this year’s hike also expect to see an increase. If not, they will leave. So if an employer was paying a forklift driver $14/hour in December, that driver is expecting a raise to at least $15.

This expectation is particularly acute among lower-wage hourly workers (particularly those working in light industrial environments) on extended assignments (six-months or longer). Our administrative/professional associates, who already may have been making $18 or $20 or more an hour, haven’t been expecting a pay raise since the minimum wage hike.

We do, however, expect our administrative/professional associates to look for wage increases for their higher-than-minimum pay rates once the minimum wage reaches the $14 to $15 an hour area in the next year or so.

What This Means for Your Staffing Firm’s Billing Rates

We’ve found that our clients understand that a temporary agency’s employee cost doesn’t rise by $1/hour when the minimum wage increases by $1. We know they do because most of our client contacts work in human resources and understand well the costs involved in bringing on employees (as well as how using temporary staff can help keep an employers’ costs down considerably).

We also know they do because we’ve made a point of educating our clients months ago regarding how the past (and coming) wage hikes not only the temporary workforce’s pay expectations but also their staffing partners’ employee costs.

Bottom line on billing rates? Paying temporary workers $1/hour more does not mean you will be billed $1/hour more. Your bill rate will increase by an amount reasonable to cover our increased employee costs.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding how much to pay hourly for different skill sets and occupations, or if you’d like to start planning ahead for this summer’s wage increase so that your ability to continue to attract hard-to-come-by top talent, contact the branch manager at the Helpmates location nearest you.

Making Career Resolutions that Actually Stick

Merry Christmas!

While chances are that you’re reading this on some day other than December 25 (the day this went live) and you’re no doubt now thinking of which gifts to return, why not also take some time in preparation for the New Year to think about what career resolutions you plan to make… and how you plan to keep them in 2019.

Long Beach careers

Take a look below for some tips on how to keep your career resolutions this year.

  • If you’re looking for a new position, 2019 is probably one of the best times to do so. Yes, even better than it has been this year.

This resolution should be easy to keep: the economy next year is expected to continue to grow and the fantastic candidate market (if you’re a job candidate) or war for talent (if you need to hire someone) is projected to continue.

In fact, the unemployment rate nationwide is expected to fall in 2019 from 3.7 percent (2018’s rate) to 3.5 percent. (One caveat, however: the economy may slow a bit in the second half 2019 as a result of the current trade war and other factors.)

Still, if you’re unhappy at work, now is the time to put your toe in the job-hunt water: recruiters are eager (some might say, desperate) to help you.

  • Explore careers that might interest you. As in REALLY explore.

It’s one thing to say you want to change careers. It’s another to actually start researching different possibilities because doing so probably will take you out of your comfort zone.

You don’t want to move to a different career just because you “think” you’ll like it. Instead, you need to “try it out” as much as possible before making any change.

How can you do so? At minimum you should read as much about it as you can. Your second (easy-ish) step is to find people who work in the field now and talk to them. Talk to at least three and ask them what they love/hate about it, how they got the work they do in the career and ask what you should do to learn more about it.

If at all possible, try to work in the career yourself. See if you can get a part-time job within the field. Or freelance. Do this for at least three months so that you can be sure you actually like the profession/work.

  • Get those skills you’ve been promising yourself you’ll get.

Hard skills are in great demand today, especially in technology and healthcare. So desperate are Southern California employers for people with these skills that the state’s community colleges offer dozens of two-year (or shorter) degree and/or certificate programs that will help residents learn new job skills. Getting trained in some in-demand-positions (such as “middle skill” healthcare positions) may not take nearly as long as you think and could raise your salary, possibly considerably.

If you’re not up to two years or several months of education, consider taking short certificate programs, either online or off. Don’t forget to ask your supervisor about being reimbursed for short training programs you find online (although many online professional development courses are free).

If you’re thinking of finding a new job (or a new career), consider registering with Helpmates. We have many part-time and even direct-hire and temp-to-hire opportunities waiting for you; one of them could well have your name written upon it. If you see one that interests you, follow the posting’s instructions or contact us.

Happy New Year! And here’s to a wonderful 2019 for you and your loved ones!

Hiring Trends for 2019

Happy 2019 (soon)! As we get ready for the New Year, we thought we’d explore the next 12 months to see how they may differ from 2018 from a hiring standpoint. How will AI affect recruiting and staffing? How will candidate interviewing evolve? How will data affect sourcing?

Take a look below.

  • Talent will continue to call the shots.

If you think finding great people is going to get any easier next year, keep your sourcing and networking skills sharp because the economy is expected to continue to grow throughout the year  and so the hot candidate market is expected to continue apace. In other words, as it stands now, employers/recruiters don’t pick candidates, they choose you. And that state of affairs is expected to continue throughout the coming year.

Torrance staffing

Many recruiters and employers have started treating candidates more like customers. Which means hiring this coming year will mean using even more marketing tactics in recruiting so that you attract, convert and retain your customers candidates.

In other words, you’re going to continue to be exceptionally nice to candidates (as you’ve always been, of course!) and you’re going to continue building solid relationships with them. You want to continue to be their BFF throughout the recruitment process and beyond.

  • Speaking of BFFs, say hello to your new best friend, AI.

Many recruiters worry that artificial intelligence will take sourcing/recruiting jobs away, and while it may take the really tedious aspects of the recruitment process from off humans’ hands (tasks such as screening resumes and scheduling interviews, for example), it actually will make recruiters’ lives better and more enjoyable, allowing them to do the things they entered the field to do: to connect great people with their employer (and for independent recruiters/staffing firms, other great companies).

AI also will help recruiters and hiring managers improve quality of hire, because AI uses data that standardizes the matching of a candidate’s experience, skills and knowledge to a job’s requirements, thus helping match the right person to the right job, resulting in more productive and happier employees. You know, the types that tend to stick around for the long term.

In addition, LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends Report 2018 predicts that AI also will remove human bias in hiring and save employers money.

  • Job interviews may become more like auditions and it’s possible we’ll start to say goodbye to the paper resume.

As more and more employers start placing more and more importance on “technical” skills, employers may start asking job candidates to perform aspects of the job during the interview, an audition of sorts. (Marketers may be asked to create a marketing plan while coders may be asked to create some code, for example.)

Meanwhile,  because companies also are looking for soft skills in addition to technical acumen, a candidate’s social media profile or a video submission may provide an accurate first impression more accurately  than the traditional “paper” resume.

(Job seekers take note: it may be necessary to create digital portfolios, your own website, etc. And make sure to clean up your social media profiles!)

What about you? What hiring/recruiting trends do you see making stronger footholds next year? Let us know by contacting the Helpmates branch nearest you. We’d be happy to offer tips/best practices on how to recruit top talent in 2019 and beyond.

Looming Shortage of “Middle Skill” Healthcare Workers

Are you already noticing a shortage of medical coders, billers, patient intake admins, and other “middle-skill” healthcare pros here in Southern California? If not, you will soon.

The Pasadena Star News reported last year that 42 percent of the demand for these types of “middle skill” workers (and others) won’t be met by 2022.

In fact, the LA Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) predicted 125,000 healthcare job openings by 2022 for all levels of medical positions. These positions pay well and are a great way for people to find in-demand careers after just one or two years of training.

What is your Los Angeles/Orange County healthcare organization doing to prepare?

Los Angeles healthcare recruiters

For example, what do you currently pay your medical billers, coders, and admins? We believe healthcare organizations are going to have to raise salaries to attract these hard-to-find workers.

Here’s what Indeed.com reported as the average hourly rate for these workers for #LA and #OrangeCounty (as of early September):

  • Medical biller: Anaheim, $16.15. Los Angeles, $16.46
  • Coding specialist: Anaheim, $25.38. Los Angeles, $27.66
  • Medical transcriptionist: Los Angeles, $42,720 per year
  • Practice manager: Newport Beach, $67,243 per year

If you’re not able to raise pay rates, here are some ideas you could try to attract middle-skill healthcare professionals:

  • Offer current medical clerks and receptionists fully paid-for training to become coders, transcriptionists, etc.
  • Offer remote work/telecommuting options.
  • Recruit outside your traditional talent pool/adjust your skills and experience requirements. For example, instead of requiring six months of experience for an entry-level position, take someone out of high school and train him in medical billing.
  • Consider hiring contract/freelance workers.
  • Partner w/ a # healthcare staffing agency.

Helpmates provides healthcare staffing services for Orange County and Los Angeles employers. From medical clinics, private practices, hospitals, nursing homes, and more, we provide coders, transcriptionists, insurance billers, office managers, receptionists, and more.

Contact the branch nearest you when you need healthcare staffing help.

Are Apprenticeships the Answer to Ill-Prepared Workers?

Thousands of young (and older) Southern Californians will be heading to public and private colleges and universities soon (some have already started!) and the question here is: how well do these institutions of higher learning prepare their graduates for real life jobs?

Most college students say “We’re ready!” Employers? They’re saying: “No you aren’t!”

Cypress CA temporary agency

The Association of American Colleges and Universities ran a survey in 2015, finding that 70 percent of college students thought they had the “critical thinking skills needed to succeed in the workplace.” But only about one-third of employers believed new grads were ready for the real world.

A solution? Apprenticeships!

Have you ever offered apprenticeships at your company? Have you ever participated in one as an apprentice?

Most Americans (62 percent) believe that apprenticeships make people “more employable than going to college,” according to a recent American Staffing Association poll.

What’s more, the survey found that 87 percent of adults surveyed thought that “it’s smart” to consider both college and apprenticeships.

Speaking of apprenticeships: California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency in May announced that there are almost 82,000 active apprenticeships in the state. This is up from 53,000 in 2015 (the goal is 100,00o in 2020).

The agency reports that the Golden State has the “nation’s largest and fastest-growing apprenticeship system.”

The state’s program wants to grow apprentice opportunities in transportation/logistics, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, and IT.

Has your company hired graduates or students in these apprentice programs? If so, what’s your firm’s experience been with these workers?

We make sure here at Helpmates that our temporary associates are ready to – as the saying goes – “hit the ground running” as soon as they arrive at your worksite. Our temporary associates participate in our Quality Control process to ensure they have the skills you need. What’s more, if our associate doesn’t meet your standards, you don’t pay.

Contact us to learn more about our Employee Quality Assurance Program.

Pay Rates in Southern California

As it becomes harder and harder to find top talent in Southern California, especially for our clients’ temporary workforce needs, we’ve done a little digging regarding what great workers expect in Orange and Los Angeles counties regarding pay rates.

SoCal pay rates

Below are some pay rates for positions we typically fill (from Indeed.com):

  • CSR, Anaheim: $13.82 (14 percent higher than national average)
  • CSR, Aliso Viejo: $14.12 (16 percent higher)
  • CSR, Brea: $14.11 (16 percent higher)
  • CSR, Los Angeles (13.88 (14 percent higher)
  • Forklift Operator, Anaheim: $13.52 (7 percent higher)
  • Forklift Operator, Buena Park: $13.15 (meets national average)
  • Forklift Operator, Commerce: $12.62 (meets national average)
  • Forklift Operator, Los Angeles: $13.26 (meets national average
  • Administrative Assistant, Anaheim, $16.05 (11 percent higher)
  • Administrative Assistant, Aliso Viejo, $17.97 (24 percent higher)
  • Administrative Assistant, Brea: $14.97 (meets national average)
  • Administrative Assistant, Los Angeles: $16.44 (13 percent higher)

Meanwhile, down in San Diego, people in these positions are receiving:

  • CSR: $14.05 (16 percent higher)
  • Forklift Operator: $13.86 (10 percent higher)
  • Administrative Assistant: $16.11 (11 percent above average)

All meet – even exceed – national averages. Which is proper considering that the cost of living in Orange County has an index of 187 (according to Sperling’s Best Places), with 100 considered to be the U.S. average). What’s more, Orange County’s housing index is a whopping 356. Los Angeles County’s overall cost of living index is 156 with its housing index at 283), still far above the average.

If you run or manage a business in Southern California, what are you noticing about how much the better employees in different job sectors are expecting in regards to pay? What’s the minimum they will accept?

If you’d like some help in deciding what the best pay rates will be for your temporary or regular workforce, contact us here at Helpmates. Our expertise (not-so-humble-brag) in the Southern California market is extraordinary and we’ll be happy to help you set rates that will help attract the best workers possible.

The Rise in the Minimum Wage and Your Temporary Workforce

The minimum wage rose to $13.50/hour in Los Angeles in July and will rise to $12/hour in Orange County in January. Couple this with the fact that it’s a hot candidates’ market today with unemployment in Los Angeles at 4.1 percent (in May) and in Orange County at an incredible 2.6 percent (also in May), and the best temporary workers have their pick among assignments.

So if you’re not paying even more than the new minimum wage going forward, you more than likely will find that your staffing partner won’t be able to fill your order because it won’t be able to find quality candidates at that rate.

Top Talent Wants More Than Minimum Wage

The fact that better talent wants more than the new minimum is understandable: not only should better employees be paid more, they often are. And they expect it.

What’s more, if you want a temporary person to stay with you for the duration of his/her assignment (or even work with you on a temp-to-hire assignment), you should pay top talent more in order to keep them working for you: underpaid workers may decide to look for better-paying work. Irvine staffing agency

Investing in top temporary talent by paying a few dollars more is still less than paying for wasted training, productivity and overtime when the best workers leave assignments for better pay.

The average tenure of a temporary employee industry wide is 10.7 weeks (in 2017), but Helpmates’ temporary associates stay with us an average of 17.1 weeks, 60 percent longer!

Billing Rates Need to Rise with the New Minimum Wage

In addition, chances are you might be asking your staffing firm to keep its billing rates low. At first blush, this makes sense from your standpoint: after all, the temporary workers aren’t your employees but the staffing firm’s and one of the reasons a company works with a staffing agency company is to  keep its staffing/workforce costs low.

But your staffing partner’s costs have just increased because the staffing firm has a ton of expenditures that need covering with the money it receives after it subtracts the rate it pays its employee (your temporary worker) and your billable rate:

  • Worker’s compensation
  • Payroll taxes
  • Benefits (to both internal and temporary employees)
  • Recruiting costs
  • Office lease and overhead costs
  • And so on.

Here’s a little-known fact: while you may pay a billable rate of $22.50/hour to your staffing firm and the agency pays its employee $15/hour, you may think that that 50 percent markup is considerable. But don’t forget all the costs the staffing firm needs to cover (as listed above). The reality? A staffing firm’s actual profits “are pennies on the dollar, low single digits.”

Sounds like we’re whining doesn’t it? Yet, just like our clients, staffing companies are in business to make a profit. If we continue to charge you the same but pay our employees more, our already-slim profit margin decreases even more.

Bottom line: the higher minimum wage requirements in Los Angeles and (in January) Orange County will affect the quality of the temporary workers your staffing partner is able to attract and place. You should expect your partner’s billable rate to increase and support its doing so.

In fact, Orange County employers may want to consider raising their own “minimum wage” now because Orange County residents can “cross borders” to work in Los Angeles County cities with the higher minimum – and they probably will.

If you’d like to partner with Certified Staffing Professional experts who have the tools to customize a temporary staffing program that will deliverable favorable results in this challenging market, or if you just want to better understand compensation and billing rates, contact us here at Helpmates: we’ll be happy to chat with you.

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