Unemployment Data — Is The BLS Playing With It?

Feds say they may delay the unemployment report

It is ever so amazing that the feds are now saying that they may delay the unemployment data until after the election. That really raises questions on the validity of the most recent reports. If they do delay, with last month’s major drop in the unemployment rate, we question wither the numbers originally reported for September will be significantly different. If they are then that would be a major blow to the administration that continues the mantra of a major improvement in the economy.

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From our data we see a slight leveling off of unemployment, not the drop as reported by the BLS for September. The concern that we have is the low level participation rate. It continues to be the lowest that it has been since the late 1970’s – over 40 years ago!!

Unemployment Data - Work Force Participation

IT Security Decision Process

IT Security Decision Process

Security PoliciesThe IDG Enterprise Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker survey helps CIOs understand their evolving roles and influence in today’s business environment. The study shows that top CIOs are much more involved in every stage of the IT purchasing process than their business management colleagues.

Other findings include:

  • CIOs partner with business executives in the decision-making process and are involved in decisions outside of IT purchases.
  • The number of IT influencers within enterprises continues to grow rapidly.
  • Eighty-five percent of line of business managers view their IT department as a key resource for achieving strategic goals.
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It is the CIO’s and CISO’s job to identify and present the risks the business may face, but it’s up to the board of directors to make the final decision on the acceptable level of risks. Security decisions should be made taking into consideration all relevant business, economic, organization and technology issues. Factors that could influence the decision-making process include:

  • Economic — the financial risk exposure of a given techinical process or application. IT spending is an investment with real potential benefits, as well as real security risks.
  • Organizational — prior experience with making similar decisions; background knowledge about security in the company; internally established standards; maturity of existing security management processes.
  • Technology — existence of known technical vulnerabilities and risks in the technology stack.
  • Business — relate to the security knowledge and awareness of C-level executives and board members. It is impossible to make meaningful decisions if they don’t realize how security issues may occur at each enterprise level.

The Security Manual is over 240 pages in length. All versions of the Security Manual Template include both the Business IT Impact Questionnaire and the Threat Vulnerability Assessment Tool (they were redesigned to address Sarbanes Oxley compliance).

In addition, the Security Manual Template PREMIUM Edition  contains 16 detail job descriptions that apply specifically to security and Sarbanes Oxley, ISO security domains, ISO 27000 (ISO27001 and ISO27002), PCI-DSS, HIPAA, FIPS 199, and CobiT.

Cloud as part of disaster planning

Cloud as part of disaster planning

Cloud OutsourcingVARs and service providers are seeing that providing physical media to end users upon first backup and on an as-needed basis thereafter, along with overnight shipping of physical media, is an excellent substitute for prohibitively high WAN bandwidth requirements. USB-connected disk drives and/or disk arrays in redundant RAID configurations allow large volumes of data to be reliably transferred in a compact package. A disk array with 10TB of usable capacity, sent via overnight delivery, is comparable to the speed of a 1Gbps WAN connection—but available as-needed, without a large up-front investment, provisioning delays or expensive monthly fees.

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Below are further tips for seeding and feeding in hybrid cloud backup environments:

  • Don’t begin at the beginning — Even before the first full backup is received at the destination replication server, incremental backups should be sent offsite by wire. This eliminates the inherent vulnerability that occurs when incremental backups are delayed waiting for the initial full backup to be fed to the cloud.
  • Seed and feed when in need — In addition to transporting the first initial full backup, physical media can also be used for feeding: transporting any backup set too large to be replicated conveniently over the WAN. Internet and physical media transfers can be used in any combination, in any sequence.
  • Look both ways — Data transfers on physical media are helpful when restoring one or multiple backup sets from the cloud to the business site. This is especially true in the case of disaster recovery for an entire LAN.
  • Pick your battles — Not all backup sets have to be replicated to the cloud. Administrators should retain the flexibility to pick and choose based on weighing the cost of cloud bandwidth and cloud storage capacity.
  • De-dupe for the win — De-duplication saves money by reducing storage volume and network bandwidth requirements, while shortening backup windows. Moving backup sets in de-duplicated format also accelerates recovery, especially when multiple machines must be recovered quickly.

8 Characteristics of a Good Disaster Recovery Manager

8 Characteristics of a Good Disaster Recovery Manager

The characteristics of a good disaster recovery manager and leader in a crisis like a recovery process are to make decisions which are are situational aware and provide up-to-date information both up and down the organizations. It is too late to work out how you get the information when the crisis has happened, so a way of monitoring potential problems needs to be constantly running. Despite this, when the crisis erupts, managers can still fail if they are not perceived as being “on top of the situation.”

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Some ways in which they can show this level of leadership are:

  1. Always tell the truth based on the facts that are available.
  2. If you don’t know answers to a question, explain why and when you might know.
  3. Always follow up on what you promise.
  4. Do not delay making decisions and taking action. If you delay taking action, you almost always make things worse and are seen to be drifting.
  5. Concentrate on protecting reputation, not necessarily minimizing short-term financial loss.
  6. Ensure proper processes and systems are in place so that situation changes can be constantly monitored and responses modified as appropriate.
  7. Communicate with all stakeholders, regularly and often. Make sure technical mechanisms are in place and the correct people are involved.
  8. Ensure that internal and external messages are consistent. Do not tell the media one thing and staff something different.

Read on…

5 tips to improve productivity

5 tips to improve productivity

The Internet is full of ways to improve productivity, but in Jeff Haden’s latest column for Inc., he offers five easy ways to boost employee productivity that you might not have thought of yet. Managers, take note!

  • Add self-esteem incentives. These initiatives are meant to boost employees’ confidence in a way that resounds with them. For some team members, this might mean cross-training in a different department, while for others, it might mean getting the lead role in a crucial project.
  • Jettison unnecessary tasks. Worthless tasks — typically the ones justified by “that’s how we’ve always done things” — only waste time and prevent your teams from doing their best work. Eliminate these mindless tasks and watch productivity soar.
  • Ask your team for suggestions. What could you do to make your employees’ jobs easier? You won’t know unless you ask. “Never force your employees to settle for a ‘same stuff, different day’ work life,” advises Haden. “Status quo is a motivation and productivity killer.”
  • Help out. Every chance you get to help your team is an opportunity to interact with them and check in on their overall well-being in a natural way. You might be surprised by what you learn managing this way.
  • Streamline expectations. “Deciding what to do is important, but often deciding what not to do is even more important,” writes Haden. Help your employees prioritize the most essential aspects of each project, and they’ll spend less time on the less-important things.
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IT Staff Turnover Rates at Very Low Levels

IT Staff Turnover Rates at Very Low Levels

In a recent level news story in ComputerWorld it was reported that the Society for Information Management has reported that the current staff turnover rates is 5.23%. Janco reviewed it data and found that the staff turnover rates agree with the data that it has.

IT Staff Turnover Rates
In a given year only one in twenty IT pros change jobs

The SIM study, according to ComputerWorld, also found.

  • 60% of IT departments increased salaries, 29% kept pay levels unchanged and salaries declined at 11%.
  • The average CIO tenure reached nearly 6 years in 2012, up from an average of 4.5 years in prior years, the survey found.
  • IT analysts have reduced spending projections in recent years .
  • 48% of IT departments surveyed said their budgets increased from the prior year.
    • 46% of respondents expect budgets to increase next year
    • 54% said their budgets will remain stable or be reduced.
    • 36% of IT budgets, on average, were spent on outsourcing, up from an average of 28% last year.
    • The percentage of IT budgets spent on outsourcing is expected to remain at 36% next year, but the share of outsourced work done offshore will rise from 5% to 7% next year.
    • 4% of IT budgets this year are being spent on external cloud and 5% on internal clouds

The data from SIM is interesting in that is shows the same trends that we have had at Janco for the past few years.  What is important from this set of information is that the economy has not recovered as of yet.

This is all driven by the uncertainty in the the world.  Everything from Europe and EU issues, to political conflicts between China and Japan, and to the Middle East.

IT Job Market is Poor at Best

IT Job Market Is Poor At Best

The information technology job market in the U.S. shrank by 6,600 jobs in September, and the number of IT jobs supposedly added in July and August was slashed, consulting firm Janco Associates reported Friday.

IT Job Market Trend Moving Average Workforce Participation Percentage

The jobs picture for IT professionals is not bright, Janco CEO Victor Janulaitis said in a statement. Complicating matters is the fact that the IT jobs numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics have proved unreliable recently, he said.

“Looking back at historical data, it seems the BLS data over-reports the number of jobs created and then adjusts downward,” Janulaitis said. “The BLS keeps on downgrading the number of (IT) jobs that are created in a given month, one or two months after the fact.”

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In data out Friday, the BLS adjusted down the number of IT jobs added in August to 3,200 from 12,400. And it cut the number of jobs added in July for the second straight month. The BLS now says 11,000 IT jobs were added in July, down from its September estimate of 13,600 and August estimate of 20,400. Janco parsed the latest BLS data to come up with the decline of 6,600 IT jobs in September.

The stock market responded positively to the news that the U.S. unemployment rate had dipped to 7.8% in September from 8.1% in August. But while the overall U.S. job market added 114,000 jobs, more than 400,000 people dropped out of the labor force, Janulaitis said. Most of the jobs added were in the public sector, he said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed to its highest level in nearly five years Friday on the jobs report, Reuters reported. The S&P 500 is also near a five-year high. The unemployment rate is its lowest since January 2009.

The latest jobs data provided fodder for the 2012 election.

“This is not what a real recovery looks like,” Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said. “We created fewer jobs in September than in August, and fewer jobs in August than in July, and we’ve lost over 600,000 manufacturing jobs since President Obama took office.”

The drop in the unemployment rate could provide a boost to the re-election hopes of President Barack Obama, Reuters said.

“This morning, we found out that the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since I took office,” Obama told a crowd of supporters at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., on Friday, Yahoo News reported. “More Americans entered the work force, more people are getting jobs.”

The jobs report was downbeat for tech, but a continuing of chief information officers by Janco finds that many company CIOs are cautiously optimistic that IT hiring will improve in 2013. “In telephone interviews in late September of 92 U.S.-based CIOs, we found that many are looking ahead to a brighter future with increased staffing in late spring and early summer,” Janulaitis said. “CIOs are keeping their current overall (full-time equivalent) head counts level but are looking to replace consultants and contractors with full-time employees.”

But CIOs were less optimistic in the recent survey than they were in the prior survey, Janulaitis told IBD. “A month and a half ago, one in five (companies) was going to be hiring. Now it’s one in 10.”

10 Things to do to Increase Your Chance of Getting a Raise

10 Things to do to Increase Your Chance of Getting a Raise

Growth of IT job market continues to slow down and many companies are reducing target raises in their new budgets

What are the ways that IT Professionals can get an increase in compensation?  The easiest way it to get promoted to a senior management position, but many technologists do not want to do that. Unfortunately, that is often the only avenue in many companies.

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But what if you enjoy the technical aspects of the job and don’t want to move away from that? Here are some things you can do to boost your salary in the position you’re already in:

  1. Stay ahead of the crowd with technology – Be aware of what is new and what is hot.  If you are the first one there with a technology or solution you will show your value.  However you want to be able to apply the technology to a business issue
  2. Get a certification  – With a certification you typically gain addition skills which have value if that is an area that your CIO is moving
  3. Use the latest technology and tools – Do not depend on  your employer for everything. When the new technology comes out get it and use it.
  4. Provide peers with insight and training on your area of expertise – Share with others your insight and knowledge.  When your manager sees you doing that it only increases your value in their eyes.
  5. Fit into the organization as a team player– Do not be a loner  join in with other IT staff members and go out after work and have a relationship that goes beyond the office
  6. Be a focal point in your area of technical expertise – Create an on-line presence. Soup up your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and social media presence with affiliations with some prestigious companies and technical organizations. Create your own blog in which you write about technical issues that you are an expert in. Contribute to on-line tech publications and blogs.
  7. Market your skills – Create a blog.  Blogs not only showcase your knowledge, but search engines like the frequent stream of fresh content.  Give speeches. You can do this in tech organizations that you belong to. Send speech topics to event organizers and maybe they’ll take you up on one.
  8. Network with IT Pros in other organizations that have the same technical responsibilities – This is also a great way to learn what is hot and what is not.  In addition this can lead to learning what others in your field are getting paid
  9.  Make users love you  – Many tech pros consider it a  good day if they don’t have to interact with anyone. But if you’re willing to  help end-users with the software (addressing problems but also training them  how to use it), you become the go-to person and your name that floats into conversations most often. Being the company expert on an application does make  you more important.
  10. Keep your ear to the ground and listen to where the CIO and company are moving – If a company is moving into unknown territory (like the Cloud and BYOD), management will want to learn everything they can. If you’ are  the person who can answer all the questions, you’ll become prominent on the radar screens, and thereby raising your professional profile.

CIO and Productivity

CIOs drive productivity

Looking ahead, managers and CIOs in particular have a focus on productivity.  That not only applies to the IT staff but to all of the users of IT services. Here are a few things to take into consideration when trying to raise the level of productivity.

  1. Create a pleasant environment both in the office and the online environment
  2. Keep your employees and users happy
  3. Assign clear service levels, responsibilities and accountabilities
  4. Review all of your employee and user requirements and see they are met
  5. Communicate with everyone in coordinated way
  6. Encourage and motivate employees and users to work as a team
  7. Set realistic targets for what is to be accomplished
  8. Have clear plans in place and follow them
  9. Focus on results versus meetings and paperwork
  10. Train everyone – often even if repeated

CIO Role Defined Read On…

Top 10 CIO Productivity and Budgeting Issues

CIO Productivity Metrics

CIO – Productivity Kit

The best companies, and their CIOs, recognize the importance of ready access to the right information to drive the right choices between different variables.

There will never be a time when IT directors can, but with the economic turmoil of today concerns are extremely  high. On the security front, internal and external threats are on the increase, especially as the enterprise boundary continues to increase with the growth of mobile and wireless based applications. Keeping the business operating in the  face of existing economic conditions, security threats, whether against the  systems themselves, or against the business and the environment in which it  operates is part of any CIO’s basic role.

The top ten concerns are:

  1. Budgets – Budgets have never been tighter. Since the dot com bubble burst  where IT budgets were pared to the bone, organizations are striving to keep a really tight control over them, even though they still need innovative IT to keep ahead of the competition. Smart CIOs are seeing savings through standardization of the IT infrastructure so new systems can be financed without increasing budgets.
  2. Staffing – People are an organization’s most valuable asset. For CIO they are not only the most valuable, they are causing the most headaches as well. Recruiting, managing and training staff are the most pressing concerns for CIOs
  3. Security – Internal and external threats are on the increase, especially as enterprises continue to increase the growth of mobile and wireless based applications.  Keeping the business operating in the face of threats, whether against the systems themselves, or against the business and the environment are a major component of CIO’s role.
  4. Compliance – Security and compliance work together for CIOs as many governance and compliance regulations were spawned from risk management and directly affect security. For many companies regulatory compliance is now part of everything they do. This has allowed the CIO to understand exactly what resources and processes an organization has and to increase efficiency and throughput as a result.
  5. Resource Management – Managing time and resources are a major concern for CIOs. Enterprise management now demands more efficient working. CIO now are now using more of their time and resources they used to spend on legacy maintenance on more produce to manage critically short supplies of resources.
  6. Infrastructure – Updating technology infrastructures and keeping the backbone of an organization’s IT up to date is another top concern for CIOs.
  7. Business Alignment – Keeping IT strategy in line with business strategy is something at which CIOs have become masters but it is still one of the areas that causes a lot of work and is resource heavy.
  8. Managing Users – CIOs must prioritize the needs of their users and customers. Dealing with users while improving the quality of service for users is a constant for all IT departments.   More CIOs are putting metrics in place to see just how well they are doing. Excellent customer service and cost effectiveness in driving the business forward are the two overlying themes for many businesses. The aim is to lift the bar on customer service, on cost effectiveness and on the capabilities of service offerings and people.
  9. Managing Change – The fast moving pace of technological innovation means change is a guaranteed part of the CIO’s role. But the way they manage its effect on the business is more critical. Arguably, the most significant management issue that CIOs have to face this year is change management – business process change, changes in organizational cultures and how they affect people are very high on the CIO’s agenda.
  10. Organizational Politics – To manage change and integration effectively, CIOs need the support of their senior management team. The success of change management programs and the contribution IT can make to those depend heavily on the support and drive of senior managers. If the CIO lines of report – CEO, CFO or COO -understand the power of transformational IT investment and if a CIO can educate and communicate what is possible, IT should be a key enabler for business and process change. Many companies are going through massive change and integration programs, all of which need board support to succeed.

CIO Productivity

Top 10 States with the Highest Unemployment Rates

10 States Have Unemployment Rates over 9%

In the latest release of state unemployment rates there are 10 states which stand out because of their high levels. Included are states with large populations. This does not bode well since the number of jobs that need to be created in this states is very high. Included in this mix of states is California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and Michigan.

States With High Unemployment

These states are offset somewhat by 11 other states that have levels lower than 6%. That is not to say that 6% is an acceptable unemployment level, however if it were there for the rest of the nation we would be out of the recession

States With Low Unemployment

In this environment hiring can be a challenge. Background checking and work history references are difficult at best. The job interview remains key to assessing the candidate’s fit. The job interview remains the tool you can use to get to know your candidate on a more personal basis. The job interview process helps other employees “own” the new employee who joins your organization.

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Employee Tenure – Telecommunications workforce is aging

Employee Tenure – Telecommunications workforce is aging

The latest analysis of BLS data by Janco Associates and eJobDescription.com shows that employees in telecommunications are an aging population.

Employee Average Tenure
Telecommunications Workforce is aging and there are too few younger employees with sufficient experience to fill the required leadership positions.

As companies cut back the first thing they typically do is eliminate newer less experienced employees, then they cut back the middle layers of experience, and retain only the employees with the longest seniority and experience set.  This is exactly what has happened in the telecommunications market for IT Pros.

During the recession companies have continued to reduce the size of the workforce in telecommunication roles.  This has resulted in fewer employees and those in those roles are older.  In the long run this will be an issue as the economy turns around there will be too few “younger” employees who can take over the reigns as telecommunication demands increase.

 

Top 20 CIOs paid over $2 million in 2011

Top Paid CIOs

The top compensation for highest paid CIO is now $8.6 million and that is for Steve Sqaueri the CIO of American Express. From public filings at the SEC we have found that there at least 19 other CIOs who’s compensation exceeds $2 million.

CIO Compensation

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IT Job Growth Slows, Though CIOs Anticipate Hiring Next Year

IT Job Growth Slows, Though CIOs Anticipate Hiring Next Year

Both the New York Times and Janco Associates have say that the job market is poor.

IT Job Market Trend Moving Average Workforce Participation Percentage

The workforce participation rate is the lowest that it has been since 1980.  If you look at real unemployment number the real unemployment level is close to 18%.

IT Employment Up In a Soft Job Market

Between the first to second quarter of this year, the unemployment rate of computer hardware engineers went from 4.4% to 0.5%. For software developers, the unemployment rate shrank from 3.6% to 2.5% over the same period.

IT Employment Picture

However, for computer support specialists, the unemployment rate over the two quarters rose from 7.1% to 8.2%.

The entire job market in the US did increased by 96,000 jobs in August, but troubling was the fall in the labor market participation rate which fell another .2% to 63.5% with 368,000 dropping out of the labor force. Victor Janulaitis. The CEO of Janco Associates said, “The year to year comparison of workforce participation shows how deep a hole we are in. Until those percentages turn around there will be little hope for a strong recovery.”

IT Job Market Trend Moving Average Workforce Participation Percentage

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