Government Jobs – Valuable, Skilled and Educated Work Force

Strategy Plan One

August 7, 2012

government jobsGovernment Jobs

Whether you are an employee in the private or public sector, or self-employed, we all take in the angst from the client groups we serve.

 

 

However, with extremely high expectations of government services, taxpayers and clients of government programs vent a bit more, show more frustration and sometimes treat government workers differently.

Government employees work on all levels, assisting entrepreneurs to assisting citizens in every government program under the sun.  They are there, employed to serve the public.  However, the perception and behavior towards public servants is quite shocking, and sometimes to the point of being disrespectful.  This occurs despite the fact that on the other end of that kiosk or government counter is a very valuable, highly educated individual who can really help you if you tap into these resources and programs.

When you hear public servants, much negativity exudes from the critics. Common comments include, “they are lazy”, “overpaid”, “cushy jobs”, “useless”, and “uneducated”, “biased”, “never helpful”, and on and on.  Yes, very harsh terms for dedicated employees who serve the public on a daily basis.

Government Employees

Obviously these comments are furthest from the truth.  The deepest job cuts in this recent economic climate, have occurred with public servants in the US and Canadian governments.  This comes after much human resources investment and years of corrective public employment processes, in some cases hiring the best and brightest work force.  Government institutions have implemented “employment appointments based on merit“… meaning the candidate must pass the highest scrutiny of meeting the job criteria.  It’s not easy getting into the public service.

The modern public service is a very educated and experienced work force, due to job criteria and the abundance of applicants for government jobs.  This highly competitive employment process results in the highest qualified, ranked candidates out of the bunch of applicants.  It is sometimes common, especially in these economic circumstances, to find that government employees are heavily over qualified.

government jobsGovernment Jobs – Pay and Benefits

Depending on jurisdiction, pay isn’t always the greatest in the public service, especially when the majority of positions are classified as administrative or in program delivery.  Specialized areas may pay better.  Some government sectors provide ample benefits which improve the compensation package, but not to the extent of what compensation a similar position may receive in the private sector.   While some senior executive level public service jobs may include a small annual bonus, the majority of the public service does not receive bonuses or incremental pay based on performance.

The human resource strategy in recent years in the public service has been to find cuts, implement efficiencies through automation and offer the public online features.  Gone are the days where getting a government position was a guaranteed long-term career move.  Job security in the public service seems to have gone the way of the dinosaurs.  Public servants are constantly on edge, not knowing if in the next fiscal year their jobs will be cut.  It’s also a scary scenario when certain States or other jurisdictions announce that they are not sure they can pay for the next payroll.

Government Jobs – Highest Scrutiny

The work of the public service and their employees are held to the highest scrutiny, evolved around implementing the highest ethical standards and upholding good values.  With government programming and staffing costs funded by the taxpayer, the public service is carefully watched, carefully analyzed.  This sometimes leads to stressful environments, however, once acquainted with the roles and responsibilities of a government job, one comes to realize this as the norm.

In the modern public service, government jobs are attractive to candidates.  The public service often calls for qualified candidates to take on challenging, interesting work in this global environment.  The jobs can be rewarding, and can lay the groundwork for building better personal and professional capacities … applicable across the board in the private sector and in self-employment.  If considering advancement in the public service, many government sectors see the value in the development and retention of valued internal employees.  It is definitely worthwhile to tap into these public service employment development programs.

Remember that when you apply for government grants and programs, these public servants work hard to provide the services and products that you are requesting.  Give them the time they need to complete their work in a stressed work environment.  Give them the respect that all should expect.  Be receptive to their ideas, feedback and recommendations to strengthen your applications and your dealings with government.  Remember that these public servants have families, strive for a stress free environment and need to survive like the rest of us.

For more information on government jobs check out:

Relevant personal and business development blogs and articles

Strategy Plan One

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Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Business Trends – Small Business Optimism Index on the Rise

Strategy Plan One

May 8, 2012 

Business Trends

Many economic indicators and sub-indicators of recent months have been favoring positive trends in the economy.  The construction and retail industries have been moving in a positive direction over the 2011 figures.  Entrepreneurs and business owners should carefully watch and analyze the indicators for economic and business trends, and react accordingly in planning and operations.

Business Trends – Small Business Optimism Index

With a recent survey and report out by the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation, the Small Business Optimism Index appears on a trendy rise.  LIke the index title suggests, The Small Business Optimism Index is the measure of future business optimism from surveyed participants.  The April 2012 figure gained 2 points to 94.5, the highest value since 2007.

business trends - small business optimism index

From sub-indicators in the index, most are indicating favorable views on increasing employment, capital investments, earning potential, and a general overall positive view on the future economic conditions.

business trends - small business optimism index

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Unemployment Statistics for April 2012

Strategy Plan One

May 4, 2012 

Unemployment Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has just released more favorable trends in the unemployment statistics.  The Bureau reported the unemployment rate now sits at 8.1%, a 0.8% drop over the April 2011 unemployment figure.  It was estimated that 115,000 more jobs were added in April 2012.

unemployment statistics

Courtesy:  The Washington Post , Bureau of Labor Statistics

Unemployment Statistics – Sectors

The increase in jobs follows the trend of job increases month after month through 2011 and 2012.  However, the trend shows declining number of new jobs over the past 3 to 4 months.  This might be a sign of employment catching up with the recent slight bump in economic recovery.  Slow and steady.  It could also be a sign of a shrinking labor pool that may exist in certain US business sectors.

The lowest unemployment statistics for April 2012 occurred in the government, education and health services, and financial sectors (3.7, 4.8, and 5.5% respectively), while the small business and entrepreneurial sectors of construction, agriculture, leisure, and business services show the higher rates of unemployment.  Recent statistics have shown that those sectors might be experiencing slow recovery mode.

 

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Working Women – Leading and Armed with Education [Infographic]

Strategy Plan One

May 2, 2012 

Working Women

In this brilliant infographic from OnlineMBA.unc.edu , women are now creating a dynamic shift in making up an equitable share in the workforce and dominating entrepreneur development. According to the research, women now almost make up half of the workforce at 46.9% and leading the highest increase in business development at 1.5 times the national average for business start-ups.

All in the numbers, hers are some other fascinating facts from this infographic:

  • 187 Million women are entrepreneurs worldwide
  • 7.8 Million – number of businesses owned by women in 2007 (20% increase over 2002)
  • 22% – percentage of women on the Board of Directors of S&P 500 companies
  • 40.1, 27.3 and 24.5% – the percentage of companies with women Board members in Norway, Sweden and Finland respectively (US at 16.1%)
  • 18% of all Patents granted in 2010 were received by women (up 35%)
  •  33.3% of MBA recipients are women (highest ever)
  • Women now earn more bachelor’s degrees than men (68% more)

working women

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Business Women – Trends in the Corporate World (Infographic)

Strategy Plan One                                                                                                                     

April 16, 2012 

Business Women

In the recent decades, great emphasis has been placed on employment equity to ensure all have opportunities at all operational, management and compensation levels.  This informative infographic from mba-online-program.com illustrates some trends and statistics of business women, making great strides in the corporate world.

Interesting statistics and trends to note from this infographic on business women:

  • More women attending professional schools, increasing on an annual basis
  • MBA salaries of women in the US higher than men
  • Salary gap has improved by almost 20% for women

business women

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Construction Spending – Construction Industry on the Rebound?

Strategy Plan One

April 13, 2012 

Construction Spending

Construction spending has one of the biggest impacts on economic indicators, as the construction industry is huge.  Construction spending gives us a picture of how well the construction industry is doing in the economy.  Construction, as a major employer is tied to employment and to the housing industry statistics.  The value of construction includes key cost categories such as labor, materials, professional services, and overhead costs.

The following graph from the US Census Bureau shows the trend in construction spending.  The data report indicates that in February 2012, construction spending was at almost $809 Billion, +5.8% increase over February 2011 data.  This represented a $45 Billion increase in construction spending year over year.  Private construction spending accounted for almost a $49 Billion net increase, while public construction spending dropped by nearly $4 Billion.

Overall, the construction industry is on the road to recovery it seems, but still not near the highs of over $1.2 Trillion in construction spending back in 2006.

Value of New Construction Chart

 

 

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Kiva Systems and the New Robot World Order

Strategy Plan One

April 7, 2012 

Kiva Systems Kiva Systems Robots

It has been fascinating to see the recent buzz around Kiva Systems robots controlling and working the floor spaces of warehouses.

 

According to some current reports, the Kiva Systems alone is now being used in up to two dozen larger corporation warehouses, including Amazon and Staples.

So impressed, Amazon acquired the 9 year old Kiva Systems company for $775 Million.  It is sure to have a positive, efficiency impact on Amazon, a company that spends $4.6 Billion on warehouse operations.  Considered to be expensive capital costs to start, but in the long-term, will save companies money with efficiencies created.  Check out this informative YouTube video of Kiva Systems at work.

kiva systemsAutomation Impacts

If this initiates the reoccurring trend and debate around automation, what does this mean in a country that is dying for an absolute job turnaround?  The criticism of automation using machines, robots, and electronics is that those methods directly impact labor jobs, resulting in job loss, people loss.

However, in start-up operations with automation implemented right away there will be no pain of job loss or reduction.  In some cases, businesses may establish a new arm or warehouse in an expansion project to run a pilot project of automation.

Kiva Systems Automation Success

Recently acquired by Amazon, the Kiva Systems Company is doing well, with reports of triple figure growth and profitable figures.  More corporations are jumping on board seeing the value and reliability of modern automation.  Initial kinks have been straightened out and it has been reported that Kiva systems are operating in a flawless manner.

It is interesting to watch videos, demonstrating the efficiency and power of these little orange Kiva robots moving about the warehouse, sliding under a customized skid, lifting and following a programmed route on the floor full of sensors.  You could imagine the programming behind such as a system is complicated, but obviously achievable from an operational perspective.  Within the programming there must be many logic functions to almost allow these robots to alter or find best routes from A to B when traffic gets congested, as seen in some of these videos.

Human Labour

Human power is still evident in these automated warehouses, at stations loading and unloading these skid towers and scanning products before the Kiva robot takes off again.  Obviously there are probably backup plans of a labour force filling in for Kiva robots when the system is “down”.  How often have we all experienced system or computer failures?  There will always be a requirement for a well-trained labor force behind maintaining these robots, building them and developing coding and programming.

Cost Benefit Analysis

On the simple cost-benefit analysis side of things, if the capital and operating costs of automated, innovative processes and assets are less than the cost of non-automated, labour process over a defined period of time, then your organization could experience greater profitability and decreased issues around human resources.

Millions of dollars must be spent acquiring a system such as the Kiva system.  These corporations would undertake their own due diligence, such as a cost-benefit analysis on an automated system vs. conventional warehouse system full of employees driving skid steerer and forklift machines.  Based on many assumptions, savings could be realized even with a Kiva Systems basic scenario implemented. 

Kiva Systems Possible Limitations

Evident in the demonstration videos is the fact that warehouse space (height) is not being used to full capacity with Kiva Systems in place.  In the conventional warehouse system, pallets of products are stacked 30-40 feet high in warehouse shelving frames.  There appears to be limitations in volume with the Kiva robots lifting and moving the customized pallets that are 6-8 feet in height, and in terms of dimensions of the pallet, a 3 by 3 footprint.  With a system like this, warehouse space and volume can be planned effectively with respect to capabilities of this system.

As previously mentioned, automated, computerized systems sometimes experience glitches.  Power outages, coding and programming flaws, electronic interference, physical obstructions, logic flaws and an underestimation of operational issues come to mind when brainstorming the potential issues that could arise.   However, the corporation is probably well prepared with fixes and contingencies for everything.  Build into the program, the system does appear to monitor power levels and automatically schedules charging.

Kiva Systems Opportunities

If the Kiva Systems automated world continues to build, opportunities in other areas could emerge, such as a team of robots to:

  • Carry out office work
  • Automate the front counter at a fast food restaurant
  • Sort and file books at libraries
  • Fully automate beauty salon duties, with programmed robots completing hair and body packages

If these examples above come to fruition, this would now look like a scene of the Disney movie WALL-E.  For sure WALL-E would feel comfortable and at home within a Kiva Systems environment.  It has been interesting to read and see the new buzz around this system.  What will be more interesting in the future to observe will be the impacts and the adjustments made to the human labor force, in the development of more value-added jobs around systems like the Kiva Systems model.

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Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One