Equal Opportunity Magazine, launched in 1968, is a career-guidance and recruitment magazine offered at no charge to qualified African American, Hispanic, Native-American, and Asian-American college students and professionals in career disciplines. Equal Opportunity empowers readers to move ahead in their job search and/or current workplace environment.
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Leveraging Your Strengths
Diverse professionals across a variety of industries leverage their strengths, know their worth and remain proactive in their careers as they urge employers to treat everyone equally and to become more inclusive at all levels.
Coming into this this year and new decade we saw 22 consecutive months of more job openings than job seekers with 6.6 million new jobs added to the American economy since January 2017 and another 8.4 million jobs expected to be added overall in the U.S. for a total of 169.4 million jobs by 2028.
And according to U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia at the start of the year, “the nation’s unemployment is at a 50-year low of 3.5%. For 22 consecutive months the unemployment rate has been at or below 4%. Americans of all backgrounds - including African Americans (ending at the lowest rate ever at 5.4% in 2019 and down from 8% in 2016, for instance), Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans and Americans with disabilities - have experienced record low unemployment rates.”
“Historic lows in unemployment and steady job gains marked a strong 2019 for the American workforce, and human capital professionals feel that this momentum will carry into 2020,” says Rebecca Henderson, CEO and executive board member of Randstad Sourceright’s global businesses.
Randstad Sourceright’s Business Health Index finds that overall business sentiment in the U.S. has risen by 11 points, based on weighted index scores when combined with its 2020 Talent Trends Report. Furthermore, 65% of C-suite and HR leaders around the world reported hiring extensively in the last 12 months.
At the same time U.S. employers also report the strongest hiring intentions in 12 years as 23% of employers across the country expect to grow their workforce in the first quarter of the year, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey.
And according to data from the ADP Research Institute, U.S. companies in the U.S. ramped up hiring at the start of 2020, taking on the most employees since May 2015.
However, more recently the economy has been impacted by the global spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
At presstime the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a pandemic as the stock market entered a bear market in response to the ever-rising number of cases in the U.S. and across the world, to the travel bans recently put in place by the U.S. and other countries, and to the social distancing, and to the public protections and guidelines to protect yourself and others against the virus and its spread the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other top U.S. and global health officials have urged and the resulting bans on large gatherings, the resulting cancelations and postponements of large and small events, and the resulting school closings and decisions to switch to online learning.
All of this uncertainty on the heels of such a strong economy and job market is a lot to process, but as this all shakes out, the advice of respondents to Equal Opportunity magazine’s 29th Annual Reader Survey is more important than ever to remember - especially since they’ve been thriving in their respective fields of employment - which range from human resources, healthcare, computer science, engineering and accounting to counseling/psychology, law, education and communications, and from IT and clinical research to finance - and since they represent a range of experience that takes them from the start of their careers to later in their careers after weathering similar uncertainty in the economic and job markets during the Great Recession and post-9/11, for instance.
“Have a positive approach and be strong, be observant and listen, and be proactive, and don’t give up,” they advise. They also urge you to focus on what you want to do, on your strengths and on your future. Be sure to seek all possibilities, and do your homework on companies for which you interview and for which you’ll ultimately work. And know your worth.
They also urge job seekers to take heart and keep moving forward even in the face of uncertainty, and in the face of some of the issues they have faced in the job market, which include covert and overt discrimination, bias, stereotypes and ageism, plus a lack of diversity.
As such, in order to mitigate these issues they cite and have faced, respondents also urge employers to remove subconscious and unconscious bias in the workplace. “Be more inclusive, and create a culture of inclusion with coaching and training for managers and leaders,” they recommend.
They also advise employers to practice fairness, show trust, and be open and helpful, and to look beyond book smarts and at the potential for growth among candidates, and hire for attitude.
These are ideas that the companies and government employers that made the annual Top 50 Employers and Top 20 Government Employers lists, as named by readers, have turned into action. As a result, they were cited by this year’s survey respondents for this.
Their answers about the companies for which they’d most like to work or which they believe would provide a positive working environment for members of minority groups and diverse cultures have been tallied, as in years past, and those that appear on the yearly lists, as named by readers, understand that hiring a diversified workforce and creating an inclusive workplace together strengthen their business.
And to further understand the professional and personal accomplishments of our readers for this yearly study, Equal Opportunity magazine quizzed readers - who represent undergraduate and graduate students, and entry-level employees, managers, supervisors and executives in the public and private sector - about items such as their geographic location, annual salary range, and what they like most about their jobs.
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