We’ve Got Veterans, Absenteeism, Jobs, and Lawsuits, But No Laughs

Jun 1, 2012
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

If you’re here for a laugh, we’re going to disappoint you this week.

Maybe it’s due to the memories Memorial Day evokes; maybe it’s because the economic news has been gloomier than usual (and we haven’t even seen this morning’s jobs report from the U.S. Labor Department). Whatever the reason, we just couldn’t find anything recruitment-wise that tickled us, except perhaps an “umbrella recruiting tour” — more on that below.

Oh, we took a bit of schadenfreude from watching the Facebook ticker. And we see Kenexa is suing not-quite-everybody on some patent claim (more about that in a moment). What came closest to our goal of informing, while entertaining, was a report this week from Bloomberg BNA that says worker absenteeism is far below what it was pre-recession.

Median rates of unscheduled absence (excluding long-term absences and partial days out) averaged 0.7 percent of scheduled worker days through the first three months of this year, up slightly from 0.6 percent in both the previous quarter and the first quarter of 2011. Despite that modest uptick, the first-quarter average is substantially lower than levels observed prior to the economic downturn of 2007-2009 (e.g., 1.5 percent in the first three months of 2006). Job absence plunged to record lows in 2009 and 2011.

This is not one of those “Who woulda thunk it?” studies. Still, it is comforting to know there is real evidence to show us working stiffs are pretty much on our best behavior these days.

There’s one more bit of report milking here that makes us all smug and wiseguy-ish: The predicted ship-jumping by workers is not happening. Oh, you read the same reports we did (because us and everyone else was writing about them). The predictions that employees were ready to walk out the door if the office coffee pot was left empty just one more time.

Not so, says the report, which found turnover went down last quarter. Says the Bloomberg people, “The Bloomberg BNA survey offers no evidence that worker separations will soon approach levels observed before the recession.”

Monster’s Veterans Index

About this next item, there’s nothing even mildly amusing. More like disappointing. Six months after issuing its first survey of the hiring outlook for veterans, Monster found employers doubting vets are ready for civilian jobs, and vets more discouraged they’ll find suitable work.

In the first Veterans Talent Index report, which we reported here, Monster found 77 percent of employers “agreed that veterans or those with prior military experience are prepared for a career transition out of the military.” Now, that’s down to 39 percent.

Still, that’s the only part of the components of the Employer Veterans Hiring Index to have taken that big a drop. Overall, the Index is down only slightly, from 74 in November to 71 now.

The biggest hurt is among the vets themselves. Their confidence about finding work went from 44 percent to 29 percent. Likewise, the percent who feel they’re prepared for the career transition out of the military dropped five points since November to 47 percent. Some areas improved, but overall Monster’s Veterans Career Confidence Index decreased to 54 from November’s 56.

Kenexa Sues

It might be a shorter list if we said who Kenexa isn’t suing. But then we’d leave someone off, and their lawyers would write us $500 an hour letters with words like “ridicule” and “contumely” and other so forth. So near as we can tell here’s who Kenexa is suing: Akken, Daxtra Technologies, GetHired,, Sapien, Hirebridge, Main Sequence Technology, Otys E-Recruiting Systems, Qfetch, Readyforce, and Sendouts.

Kenexa complains in its court papers that the companies infringed three of its patents, which relate to the parsing and databasing of unstructured data, in essence, resume parsing.

Kenexa BrassRing v. et. al.

Most of the defendants in the federal case have been publicly mum, but not Main Sequence. It’s taking umbrage at being sued, and in an emailed statement, called Kenexa a “patent troll,” and said, “Main Sequence denies that it has engaged in any act of infringement and will vigorously defend the allegations of this suit.”

It’s not nearly as much fun as when SuccessFactors sued Halogen, but with the former now part of SAP, a patent lawsuit will have to do.

Million Links

LinkUp, which perhaps should change its tagline to “the job site that sounds like LinkedIn but isn’t,” says its “index of job openings from company websites is rapidly approaching 1,000,000 jobs.” That despite it is finding “lackluster job growth in the U.S. economy.”

LinkUp, owned by JobDig, indexes corporate career websites for job openings.

Women at Work

Many years of talking about gender diversity in the workplace have worked … not that well. At least not in terms of changing the makeup of the CEO job and very senior management.

McKinsey has a new report on the topic of why “the top circles of corporate America remain stubbornly male.”

The consultants looked at 60 companies and tried to figure out why, at 12 of those firms, women have better odds of advancement to C-level. It talks about that in the report, and a little workshop in Michigan will go into it further.

Umbrella Recruiting Tour

Check out this site and a cryptic career video will play, playing up the Umbrella Corporation’s life-changing work, and its “mobile recruiting journey.”

The recruiting tour will take place in Cannes, Barcelona, Warsaw, Rome, San Diego, and Tokyo. Dates are coming soon. More — but not a whole more, if you’re confused already — on this recruiting campaign here.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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