I am so sick of negative news right now. “The troubles across the pond are floating our way.” “Income inequality has never been greater.” “There aren’t enough jobs.” “Job seekers don’t have the right skill sets for the jobs that are available.” And on and on. You know what? That doom and gloom doesn’t match my own recent personal experience. So allow me to share and amplify, and do my part to spread some good news!
My week started out at the Minnesota Recruiter’s Conference with a couple of hundred people who make their living in recruiting and HR.
The very first person I met standing around the coffee line before the opening session is a corporate recruiter for UnitedHealth Group.
“So how are things?” I ask. “Things are freaking great!” came his enthusiastic response. “We can’t even hire enough recruiters to keep pace with the hiring demands. And I get to work from home now because they ran out of office space. I don’t know of a single recruiter who doesn’t have a job right now, so it’s an awesome time to be in this business.”
The next person I meet is an IT recruiter for Kelly IT Resources. He too says he can’t find enough good people fast enough to fill all his open job reqs.
The third person I meet is a woman looking to make a career change to become a recruiter because she likes the prospects for the profession.
I don’t know about you, but I would opine that recruiters themselves are a pretty good harbinger of hiring trends, so I would view those interactions at the conference positively.
So I go back to the office feeling pretty good about things, and in my mailbox is a Time magazine with the cover story, “Can You Still Move Up In America?”
You can read the whole article if you want, but I’ll give you a couple of graphs to help make my point.
“It’s harder to get ahead than it’s ever been in the postwar era…wages, which have stagnated in real terms since the 1907s, have been falling for much of the past year, primarily because of high unemployment… for the first time in 20 years, the percentage of the population employed in the U.S. is lower than in the U.K., Germany and the Netherlands.” You get the idea.
If that’s not enough, in that same issue is an article about the new generation gap. And another one that says if we don’t improve our schools we’ll have to accept a lower standard of living.
A whole lot of bad news. And that’s one issue of one magazine.
Around mid-week I went to a meeting of the Minnesota chapter of TiE; a non-profit global network of entrepreneurs and professionals, established to foster entrepreneurship and nurture entrepreneurs.
On this particular night the theme was “How Did You Do It?” with a couple of entrepreneurs sharing their stories of success.
One of the featured speakers was Sabin Ephrem, the founder of a staffing, interactive marketing, technology and design company called Horizontal Integration.
I wrote this Staffing Talk article about their growing contingent workforce component.
I didn’t know how much they were growing though. Sabin said for the year they will have a 105% growth rate, and continue their string of 100% year over year expansion since their inception in 2003.
The only impediment to future growth at that pace? Finding enough qualified people, he says, particularly in the IT ranks.
The only impediment to future growth at that pace? Finding enough qualified people, particularly in the IT ranks.
Also speaking at the meeting that night, Cem Erdem, the founder of Augusoft, a company that provides cloud-based/SaaS enrollment management solutions for continuing and corporate education programs,
Erdem is also the brains, and at least at the outset, the bankroll behind Project Skyway,™ a tech accelerator for software entrepreneurs.
Twice a year the program is helping a handful of early-stage software companies by offering seed money, resources and connections to entrepreneurs, mentors and investors.
In the audience, some of the “graduates” of his first round of start-ups, one of whom just received $325,000 from an investor. And guess what? They are creating jobs with that cash.
Sharing the program this particular night also was the CEO of an award-winning agricultural manufacturing business called Nova-Tech Engineering.
I bring them up because they are growing and creating jobs for one. But also because they became the first tenants of a fairly unique spot, a former state mental institution built in 1912 that has now been refurbished and repurposed.
The MinnWest Technology Campus is a privately owned, collaborative business community for innovators in bioscience, agribusiness, technology and bioenergy. There are 30 buildings with over 500,000 square feet of commercial space .
And yes, they are keeping jobs in the community, as well as creating new ones.
The vibe of the evening was so overwhelmingly positive, and there was so much optimism emanating from the podium.
That positivity of course stands in stark contrast to what we hear all the time from much of the mainstream media. That gap had Gopal Khanna, the president of the local TiE chapter, and Minnesota’s first CIO, rather worked up.
Several times he looked right at me during the evening, and said, “See David Gee, there is an opportunity for you to share all of this good news.” And so I am.
Later that night I came back home and logged on to my computer and went to my favorite business news website.
Here are the headlines ripped from their home page.
“A Whole String Of Bad Economic News”
“Consumer Confidence Falls”
“The FHFA Prince Index Went Down”
“Inflation Is Coming”
Now, to end the week, I attended a presentation by a sales trainer that was held at a local accounting firm.
In the audience I personally met three different people who in the past six months had started new companies. And they are creating new jobs not only for themselves, but for others hopefully as well.
There is lots of good news, if we allow ourselves to listen to it.
So I encourage you to be optimistic about our future. And to be enthusiastic - and deliberate - in your response the next time someone says, "How's your business?"