Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Monday, May 28, 2012

Income Security

To the extent that career developers help people to find suitable jobs we are enhancing the world's economic efficiency by introducing resources sooner. Many of the world's countries also have employment insurance systems that are intended not only to prevent wasteful individual financial difficulties, or actual hardship, but also to afford time for people to again find suitable jobs that optimise their contributions to the economy, as reflected in their incomes. There is one other system of measures that a country can provide to stabilise its work force that we seldom hear about. I refer to the one that provides for employment protection.

According to the OECD1 Canada has some of the slenderest measures for the protection of employment in the world. Of those countries listed to the left only the United States provides less protection. Please see the chart to the left.

blue: Protection of individual workers against (individual) dismissal
red: Specific requirements for collective dismissal
yellow: Regulation on temporary forms of employment

This limited protection means that employees can be dismissed more easily by employers in countries at the top of the list. It might also mean that people seeking employment, or in employment, in these countries are likely to feel an imperative to be more 'flexible' in their relations with employers. One of the dangers of putting excessive power into the hands of employers might be the tendency for them to act in haste when dismissing someone, without thought for the costs of rehiring or the reasons for the failure that has occurred.

I also notice that, at least according to the OECD, Canada has fewer provisions for the protection of the employment of temporary workers than any of the other countries listed. If, as has been suggested, the Canadian government moves to invite more international temporary workers then this could have the effect of depressing the already low standard for all workers in this country. Which is something to think about.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jobs List for Career Developers

My thanks to all those who have let me know that it has not been working.

The Contact Point site has changed. The list should, in effect, simply ignore this site for the time being. I will add its contents back into the mix when, and if, I can.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Applicant Tracking System Thoughts

Nowadays even small organisations use applicant tracking systems to process the enormous numbers of applications they receive in response to job advertisements. It therefore pays to know something about these systems themselves, their strengths and weaknesses, and about the attitudes, knowledge and beliefs of the people that use or provide advice about them.

Sean Carruthers, the 'Global Hermit,' recently made a programme for CBC radio about this topic. You can listen to the complete interviews he did for the programme, and the programme itself here.

Here's what I want to know: One of the people interviewed says that job sites are on their way out, and that social networking will replace them. Has anyone seen any good statistical evidence for this statement?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Beware of Teachers

I've had this item on my list of topics for many months. Although it will probably offend a few people I believe that it is important. Training and education are necessary steps in many peoples' lives and sometimes unwitting, careless, senseless or cruel behaviour on the part of a teacher does more harm than all of their instruction.

As career developers we might need to be ready to hear clients when they talk about their experiences with teachers. Here are a couple of my experiences:
  • A couple of years ago I walked into the office of my boss in a university business school. He told me that he had just told some student that he (the student!) wasn't suited to university. Need I say that chances are that this advice would have been devastating to the student? And isn't it amazing what conclusions people can come to? The student was obviously a completely hopeless case.

  • This seems to happen again and again.

    My education was not a smooth flow from one institution to the next. At one point I took a night school course as part of my university entrance requirements. The teacher asked little of us as a class; consequently almost no-one said anything, me included. One evening he brightened sufficiently to ask us why we were taking his course. When my turn came I told him my intentions he said, "You don't wanna go to university." Now I wonder how he could conclude that. However, I can see that he might have deserved a place in a university business school.
And about 40-odd years ago I was pretty bad as a schoolteacher myself.

We become accustomed to being marked and graded by teachers rather than judging for ourselves. Perhaps students should be encouraged or advised to see their teachers in a somewhat different light:
  • Especially at post-secondary levels, most of the people that teach, or lecture, are experts in subjects other than teaching or one of the support occupations. Furthermore, many of these same people regard themselves primarily as researchers; they are teachers as distant seconds.
  • Remarks made by teachers might very well be by chance, or just offhand. Also, a student might be well to remember that even a full-time teacher who has spent many years in the occupation could very well be jaded and bored.
  • If teachers seem to represent an inachievable level of skill, knowledge and expertise then remember that, very often, they have been revising that same area of interest for many years. A teacher might be a gifted researcher but that does not likely mean that they have developed everything that they are passing on to you themselves. Both of you are in a long chain of learners.
  • Lots of teachers are second and third stringers, like most of us.
One of the university teachers I had told a class of us (something like), "Some people can count, some can't." Being short of confidence myself, it took me about a nanosecond to conclude that I was in the latter group. The truth is that, given patient practice—and a modicum of confidence in oneself!—anyone can learn to count in the sense intended by that teacher.

I believe that this teacher meant well. He was probably trying to comfort those of us who would have apparently insurmountable difficulty learning to count. Unfortunately, his psychological strategy was flawed. Here's the article that finally stirred me to write this post: Be careful when comforting struggling students.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Test: Can You Compete Under Pressure?

After you undergo a series of repeated tests involving simple psychomotor skills, coached by short videos of olympic athlete Michael Johnson, further clever use is made of videos of him to give you feedback about your performance and the characteristics of your response to pressure. Try the test.

I can't believe that anyone could possible do better than my best: 56.1 seconds.

The test is part of what is intended to be the largest-ever study of the psychology of pressure: more details here.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Career Developer Jobs List: Do Me a Favour?

I don't look at the list every day myself. Consequently when something goes wrong with the software that generates it I might not notice for some time.

I've arranged to include some diagnostic information at the top of the report. What you see to the left is typical.

If you don't see this diagnostic stuff then you can trying reloading the page; that might work. If it doesn't, please tell me.

If the 'others' entry is anything more than zero, please tell me.

If any of the counts is 0 or 1 (or less than 2, however you prefer to think of it), please tell me.

In this latter case it's possible that the site from which I am extracting advertisement information has changed its formatting. For example, I understand that Contact Point is planning to make changes soon. When they do my software will be unlikely to cope, and the count for Contact Point will become either 0 or 1. In that event, please tell me.


Job: Job Developer, Dunnville, ON

"... duties will include developing employment opportunities for clients in the Haldimand area, providing client assessment and case management, developing service plans, providing group skills development, individual counselling and marketing program to local employers."

I can't find a link other than the one to the entire organisation at their Dunnvile site:

Job: Employment and Career Advisor, UAE

"... will assist the Career Development and Employer Relations team and is responsible for following-up with employer contacts established by the Marketing and Community Relations team."

Job: Employment Counsellor, St Catharines, ON