Pretty Soon, Old People Will Have All the Jobs

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Dan Resendes, Chief Consulting Officer at the Barrett Group

The U.S. workforce isn’t expected to age particularly well over the next decade. Though much ado has been made over the millennial generation sweeping into the labor market and supplanting both those in Generation X and baby boomers as the largest active age demographic in the domestic workforce, the average U.S. employee is still getting older, and what that means for the future of American employment is complicated.

The Pew Research Center earlier this year estimated the labor force held nearly 54 million millennials, or individuals who in 2015 were between the ages of 18 and 34 years old. That number for the first time eclipsed the pool of workers from Generation X, or those between 35 and 50 years old. Millennials were also expected to unseat baby boomers as the largest living generation in the general population at some point before year’s end.

But while it would be easy to assume that millennials’ meteoric rise would naturally drag down the median age of American workers, that’s not exactly how the last several years have played out. It’s also not a trend that’s likely to crop up in the foreseeable future.

Back in 1996, the median age of U.S. employees was 38.3 years old, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That metric climbed to 40.8 years old by 2006 and to 42.0 years by 2016. By 2026, the median age of U.S. workers is expected to be 42.3 years old.

So why is it that America’s workforce isn’t getting younger as millennials reach working age? Part of the reason is that a greater share of older Americans are bucking traditional retirement and staying in the labor force longer than has historically been the case. Between 2006 and 2016, the number of Americans at least 55 years old who were active in the civilian labor force ballooned by 47.1 percent, according to the BLS. And that number is expected to grow nearly 20 percent over the next 10 years.

“The labor force will continue to age, with the average annual growth rate of the 55-years-and-older group projected to be 1.8 percent, more than three times the rate of growth of the overall labor force,” a BLS report released earlier this month said. “The group’s share of the labor force is anticipated to increase from 21.7 percent in 2016 to nearly 25 percent in 2026.”

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Career Change Lessons

Explore Your Career Change

The vast majority (around 80%) of our clients each year are unhappily employed, the rest are out of work for one reason or another.

Dan Resendes, Chief Consulting Officer at the Barrett Group

Most clients are looking to leave their current job… but many are looking for relief in their current situation: the boss from hell; political negativities; uncertainty resulting from a merger or acquisition; glass ceiling with zero room for advancement; lack of raises beyond cost of living adjustments; feeling under utilized or undervalued; looking to telecommute when it is not the norm; and various unsustainable challenges with no relief in sight.

Those who are out of work, feel quite alone in their search. They may feel embarrassed due to their situation and lack of financial contribution to their families. Many are sitting home applying to endless jobs on the internet and getting nowhere. They reach to 3rd party recruiters who treat them terribly or feel totally ignored.

About 25% of The Barrett Group’s (TBG) clients achieve success by doing a better job of dealing with third party recruiters and job postings.

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The truth is that recruiters get pounded every day with dozens of job seekers (yes dozens) who want to take them out for coffee or expect them to spend their time helping them to find a job. Those job seekers mistakenly think it is the recruiter’s job to place them. As many TBG employees are former recruiters or executives who have hired recruiters in the past to fill open positions. This allows us to expertly coach our clients on how to motivate a recruiter to work set up interviews on your behalf.

Many individuals spend hours applying to job postings. Not only is it frustrating, but is ineffective. We know how to make sure your application is read by an actual human being and not just a computer. We know how to customize each resume and cover letter so the system or person in charge of screening applications will be highly motivated to speak with each and every client. We help our clients to build a library of different resume and cover letter versions so that the reader will perceive each client as deserving of an interview.

Some 25% of our clients achieve success by leveraging their reputation to gain advocacy, political referrals and nomination for unpublished opportunities through their LinkedIn social networks.

Most new clients have LinkedIn profile, but severely lack understanding on how to tap into the unpublished market via LinkedIn. Most new clients also spend the majority of their time on LinkedIn’s job board. They fail to realize that 90% of the hiring on LinkedIn is done covertly by people who leverage their reputation and people looking to hire them do not post jobs, they search for individuals with the background and skills they need. Every year we have dozens of client who land the perfect job due to the learnings we provide. It is amazing.

Another 25% of our clients achieve success because we help them to grow their network with very little effort on their part.

We know our clients are busy so we identify send introductions to individuals working at specific companies in targeted geographic areas and industries. We do all the work: We research and identify the individuals, author the introductions, print, sign and process introductions. We pay for postage, we send a confidential packet to each approved recipient. We coach our clients on the nuances of how to make a 2 minute phone call to inquire about the recipients interest in networking or employment. Even the busiest person has time for a short phone call.

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Preparing for your job interview…

Explore Your Career Change

…make it a two-way interview

The modern day interview has evolved tremendously from what it used to be. Gone are the days of sitting on the other side of an imposing interviewer sitting behind a huge desk with a significantly-raised chair. Nowadays, candidates are interviewing the companies just as much as they themselves are being interviewed. And why not?

    “Nowadays, candidates are interviewing the companies just as much as they themselves are being interviewed.”
    Greg Emslie, Business Coach

The hiring process is a two way street. Both sides need to be engaged in the process and be equally excited to work with the other. Next time you find yourself interviewing for a new position, be sure you make it a two-way interview.

Here are forty questions to help you figure out if the company will be right for you.

Questions about the position

You want to understand exactly what will be expected of you and whether or not this aligns with your skills and ambitions. Be sure to have a full understanding of the position and your role in it before leaving your interview.

1) Why is this position open?

2) Is this an existing or newly created position?

3) If someone was in this position before me, why did he or she leave?

4) Beyond what I see in the job description, what will make someone successful in this role?

5) When coming into this position, what are the top 3 things the new employee must do?

6) How will you measure the success of someone in this role?

7) What keeps you awake at night? How can this role help you to sleep better?

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Becoming A Truly Great Executive Through Personal Leadership

Explore Your Career Change

    By Mark Steinke, Executive Business Coach

To be a great leader, you must first master the art of Personal Leadership. This is the first of four topics on how to increase, develop and demonstrate your Personal Leadership so you and your business skyrockets to the heights you deserve!

It all Starts with YOU! How you handle stress is critical to your personal success and business success. You see it is not the issue you are facing that is causing your stress. It is YOUR reaction to that issue that is causing your stress. Let that sink in for a minute…

    “85% of what people worry about never happened…”

    Don Joseph Goewey

Leadership requires consistent high performance coupled with a calm, clear mind and the ability to maintain a high degree of objectivity toward yourself and your business. Stress is rampant. An important step toward becoming an authentic leader, then, is to learn to successfully and gracefully manage the inevitable stress that will come your way. Let’s look at the sources of stress.

Worry

According to Don Joseph Goewey, author of the book, “The end of Stress, four steps to rewire your brain” states “85% of what people worry about never happened and with the 15 percent that did happen, 79 percent of subjects discovered either they could handle the difficulty better than expected, or the difficulty taught them a lesson worth learning. This means that 97 percent of what you worry over is not much more than a fearful mind punishing you with exaggerations and misperceptions.”

A simple four step process can help you dealing with your stress:

    1) Clearly define your worry in writing
    2) Determine the worst thing that could happen if this worry comes true
    3) Having defined the worst result, resolve to accept it
    4) Set about doing your best to ensure this worry will not occur now that you have a clear mind

Lack of Meaning

When stress arrives, typically our minds go to what is going on with my life… Why is this happening to me? This resonates if one does not have a clearly defined meaning and purpose. You see when you are confident and know what you are and why you are, then mapping this worry against it allows you to define it, determine an antidote and vanquish your worry.

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The “Incomplete Action”

A job or task not done or an employee of yours not doing what they should correctly for a client can be a source of enormous stress. It is time to employ the four steps in the worry section so you show self-discipline and keep a clear mind. Do not let not completing tasks or doing the tasks “incorrectly” drive your stress. Coach, teach and show Personal Leadership.

Fear of Failure

Some of us allow a fear of failure to cause us stress. Fear is a great emotion. It is powerful, can be very healthy if we take it as a motivator to focus, concentrate, remove distractions, and act in a way that we know we can. Whatever the results of your proactive actions, they very probably better for you than the paralyzing result of no action or action motivated by fear. Affirm to yourself that you can do what needs to be done, do it, and then adjust based on the outcome.

Fear of Rejection

The need for approval to some is so strong that fear of rejection is scary. As a leader sometimes you need to be on the island by yourself. That is not a bad thing. It is a temporary state until the team, clients, and/or partners start to understand. When they do, they will slowly move over to your island. Stay in the belief that rejection is not permanent and worst case only temporary.

Denial

Probably the biggest stress source to overcome is denial. Refusing to acknowledge and face unpleasant reality is a sign of weakness. Do not let embarrassment, loss of face or even pain be the driver for you or anyone else to deny what is or could be happening. Victory over this starts with acknowledgement!

Anger

The most powerful and damaging emotion is anger. This negative emotion destroys relationships and cultures in companies. Anger comes from within. Henry David Thoreau, a noted poet, wrote: “No one can make you feel bad unless you let them.” You cannot control the people and circumstances in your life. You can only control how you respond to them. When your anger flares up, put a trigger in your head that will remind you to stop, pause, think and resolve without anger. This is very hard… but very important.

In all honesty, the issue making you angry most likely is NOT a 911, end-of-the-world issue. Put it in perspective.

Personal Leadership is the most important skill you need to develop, and demonstrate in your business. Over the next few articles we will identify the other three behaviors to develop so you can show your truly great Leadership.

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Anxiety…isn’t good for you!

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    By Mark Steinke, Executive Business Coach

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Those who are unemployed are feeling anxious and stressed as they search for work in a struggling market. The pressure to find and keep a job, in addition to everyday work-related stress, can take a toll on mental health.”

This feeling of Desperation is very common among job seekers be they men or women, technical or professional, entry level or executives. It is this last group, the executives, we work with at The Barrett Group to assist them in finding that next level of employment.

How clear are you on why you work so hard and whether you are earning the recognition you deserve? Our Clarity Program helps Executives answer this question in three to four sessions.

You see, stress during the job search process brings up a significant amount of Desperation, panic, poor judgment and reactions. Studies conducted by “A team of researchers led by the psychologists and neuroscientists Prof. Markus Heinrichs and Dr. Bernadette von Dawans at the University of Freiburg, Germany, examined in a study how men react in stressful situations – such as job searching.”

Let me clarify that this study focused on men only. women’s reaction to stress has been studied and the results according to Heinrichs and Von Dawans is: “that women show an alternate “tend-and-befriend” response to stress — in other words, a protective (“tend”) and friendship-offering (“befriend”) reaction.” Whereas “men, in contrast, were still assumed to become aggressive under stress.”

The study goes on to say that “”Apparently men also show social approach behavior as a direct consequence of stress. With this study, the research team experimentally investigated male social behavior under stress for the first time. The results are published in the journal Psychological Science.”

So with executives (men / women) experience stress in job searching and both genders are moving toward a “tend & friendship – offering”, their minds are focused on obtaining guidance, assistance and coaching in finding that next job. A wise, lower-stress decision.

The Barrett Group offers executives the opportunity to reduce their stress even more with a solution that expedites the next career option for these executives.

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Should I stay or should I go?

Explore Your Career Change

Respondents to our on-going job satisfaction survey come from many different industries. About 90% of the respondents are currently employed. Their titles range from C-level officer to SVP, VP, GM, and on down the organizational hierarchy with a fair amount involved in sales, finance, and legal professions.

On balance they are surprisingly satisfied with their jobs and can give specific reasons why, but they can also imagine how their professional lives could be better.

This ability to imagine that things could be better is actually hardwired into much of life on earth and certainly into homo sapiens. Daniel Goleman (“Emotional Intelligence”) describes the workings of the limbic brain that allegedly only has three basic urges: safety, dominance and adventure. In other words, in any situation requiring a choice we will generally operate from one of those nodes of motivation: safety, for example, might require us to freeze and stay where we are even if we are uncomfortable or it might require that we run for our lives, depending on the situation.

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Dominance may require that we rise to the challenge and fight back. Adventure might dictate that we try something new because we are bored.

All of these motivations can be seen in the workplace, of course, but the question is how conscious are we of why we do what we do. Self-awareness is supposedly what sets humans apart but it is not always switched on.

Dan Resendes, Chief Consulting Officer at the Barrett Group tells us that often career changers are fleeing a negative situation with the boss. Interestingly, our on-going job satisfaction survey indicates that this is one of the most negative aspects respondents cited: the statement “I admire the executive management’s ethical and commercial values” attracted more disagreement than agreement.

Explore Your Career Change

At the Barrett Group we help career changers reflect on whether they are running away from something or running toward something better. Part of our Clarity Program includes a Personal Strategic Plan that helps clients define in some detail the situation they would like to be in professionally in two to five years. This clarity of vision is critical to achieving success professionally as well as in life in general.

Asked about what they would change, respondents to our on-going job satisfaction survey gave an interesting mix of answers that can be qualified as negative or positive as well as more emotional or rational in character.

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Salary and Cost of Living Comparison

Explore Your Career Change

Career changers face many barriers and constraints along the way. Helping you to manage these challenges is what we at the Barrett Group do. Consider the information below, and then contact us to evaluate your own specific situation. We’ve helped more than 2,000 executives change careers over 28 years… why not you?

It seems to us that there is often too much focus on CEOs and too little on the legions of capable managers who report to them who also add value. Therefore our report today will look at four unsung heroes or heroines: the positions VP of Sales, VP of Operations, CFO, and VP / Director of Human Resources.

There are numerous sources for compensation data, of course. We will use an index derived from want ads via Indeed.com.

The good news is that this data will be quite recent, stemming from March 19, 2018 and reaching back for up to 36 months. The bad news is that want ads often reflect what the would-be employer would like to pay, but not necessarily what they actually pay. In other words, actual salaries are likely to be higher.

Let’s start with the VP of Sales position.

With more than 200,000 positions or ads as its data source, this is certainly a representative sample. The average US salary for these positions lies at about $141,000 per annum with a low of $75,000 and a high end of $233,000. The market varies no doubt across industries but also across major cities, as we see in Figure 1 where the national average equals 100%.

Driven perhaps by the frothing tech market, San Francisco comes in at 118% of the national average, while Atlanta lies at 102%. Naturally, the cost of living also plays a role in this differential as does the relative supply and demand situation.

Figure 2 takes this somewhat into account by factoring in the relative cost of living according to Money/CNN.

In our sample of major cities, we have set the lowest cost of living (St. Louis) equal to 100% (Figure 3).

That means that although you might earn 118% of the national average in salary in San Francisco, for example, your cost of living would be about 95% higher than St. Louis, so, at least at the reported average salary level, you would actually be worse off.

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Now let’s consider the VP of Operations position.

The universe is also large here at 127,000 positions or ads in this data set. The average salary lies at $129,000 or so with a reported low of $77,000 and a high of $262,000.

In this case, Philadelphia actually tops the average salary chart at 133% of the national average while Atlanta (-4%) and Boston (-2%) come in on the low end (Figure 4). When we take an index of the cost of living into account, however, Tampa really shines because of the relatively high salaries for this function and the relatively low cost of living (Figure 5).

What about Chief Financial Officers?

Yes, we could have chosen VPs of Finance, but these are relatively rare birds while CFOs are more common, so we focused on them although the number of CFO positions or ads was much lower in the sample (circa 16,500) versus the two previous positions. In straight financial terms, New York City and San Francisco come off very well at 29% and 25% above the national average on salary, while Philadelphia (-6%) and Denver (-2%) come in on the low end at least within our selection of major cities. (Figure 6).

When we take an index of the cost of living into account, however, the picture changes, and St. Louis actually comes out on top followed by Tampa (Figure 7).

Please remember, this is a simplified comparison. If you want to consider relocating or negotiating a salary, ask an expert.

Explore Your Career Change

Lastly, let’s look at Human Resource responsibles.

There is probably considerable latitude in the definition of these jobs from hiring managers all the way up to Chief Human Resource Officers and the like. In this sample, we have added them all together (all 106,000 of them) and considered the average salary.

In straight salary terms, Boston (+27%) and New York City (+23%) come in at the top versus the national average salary for this position of $94,000 (Figure 8). The picture changes, though when we take location into account and again, St. Louis, Tampa and now Houston emerge as relatively attractive from a salary and cost of living point of view based on this data set (Figure 9).

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Get Going While the Going’s Good

Explore Your Career Change

If you are familiar with the theory of the sigmoid curve, you know that whenever you start a new job or activity you need to put in more energy then you get back. At some point your competence and the energy you have put in begin to earn a reward and the job or activity gets easier. However, ultimately, entropy sets in and you start to lose enthusiasm or find yourself putting in more energy then your getting back. Now you are on that slippery downward slope and you will only have to work harder to stay where you are.

That’s why it’s better to make a change at the top of the curve, at the top of your game… to get going while the going’s good.

The executive job market is a case in point.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ recent good news about job growth indicates that this 9-year old expansion still has some steam, and even those recalcitrant underemployed older men are starting to reengage as the labor participation rate nudged up to 63%.

Regionally, the US coasts continue to prosper as does the Western heartland, but the Eastern heartland (from Mississippi to Michigan) continue to suffer higher unemployment, opioid addiction, as well as rising disability and mortality rates.

What about the market for senior managers and executives in the US?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that this pool included about 2.6 million positions in 2016 with an expected job growth of 8% through 2026, adding another 190,000-plus senior jobs. Median pay for the most senior jobs stood at about $180,000 in 2016 while general or operations managers’ median pay stood at about $99,000.

Not surprisingly the states NY, MA, RI, CT, NJ, DE, MD, DC, VA, NC, FL, TX, CO, and CA showed the highest annual mean wage for the operations and general management echelons ($130,00-$168,000) as of 2016. CEOs showed a similarly higher mean wage at $212,000-$242,000 in NY, MA, RI, CT, NJ, NC, GA, FL TX, CO, NE, SD, and CA n the same year.

A recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that the ability of a senior executive to capitalize on globalization, i.e., to help his or her company expand in the global market place most directly impacts the manager’s financial success.

From an industrial perspective, BLS reports that health care leads the way in total job growth predictions with a compound annual rate of change of 4.4% for all health care jobs through 2026, followed closely by Information Services and Individual and Family Services at 4.0% and 3.4% respectively. The list of industries with fast-declining employment will look familiar and should remind us all that the US economy now derives less than 15% of GDP from manufacturing activity.

IF TIME IS MONEY… then shouldn’t you shorten your journey with some expert career counsel?

If you have ever looked for an executive job before, you know what you’re facing… so brace yourself. The Barrett Group helps hundreds of executives find the right job every year, people in all kinds of situations. We understand what you are up against. Which of these describes you?

    1. Best in class but under-appreciated
    2. Expecting a re-org
    3. Exhausted
    4. Bored
    5. Feeling like a dinosaur

How Satisfying Is Your Job? Take Our Poll.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a helping hand, a guide, and some moral and very practical support during your six-figure (or more) career change journey?

The Barrett Group has served more than 2,000 executives in the last 2.5 decades in practically every industry as they reflected on their career trajectory, chose their targets, selected their tactics, sharpened their skills, and launched their career change initiative with confidence. Here are a few examples:

    ■ Partnering with the Barrett Group was the most important investment that I have made in my career. I strongly recommend their services to anyone interested in advancing their career.
    ~ Kevin Baker, Regional Director, Metamark Genetics
    ■ I could not have done this without my consultant because she kept me on track for my entire career search, and helped me to understand what type of opportunities and geographical areas to focus on.
    ~ Svetlana Tikhonov, Senior Director of Corporate Strategy, SAP
    ■ TBG delivers exactly what they promise! I would NEVER have been able to do this or to get the same results on my own. Without TBG, I would still be searching!
    ~ Lee Price, Arkansas State Director, US Department of Labor

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The Tax Act of 2018: What Does It Mean for High-Earning Professionals?

Explore Your Career Change

In December 2017 Congress passed legislation known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Much has been reported in the media about the impact of this event on people up and down the income scale. Notably, there were specific changes included in the new tax law on the treatment of executive compensation. With tax season upon us, you may wonder: Is the Tax Act good news or bad news for high-earning professionals?

The answer depends on several things, including where you live, whether you’re married, what industry you work in and what your income is. Americans at most income levels will benefit from a lower tax rate, but some medium-high earners will find themselves bumped up to a higher tax bracket. (Some earners who were in the third tax tier paying 33% in 2017, for example, will now be in the second to top tier paying 35%.)

In general, a majority of Americans in the middle-to-higher tax brackets would see a sizable tax cut.

But those who live in high cost-of-living areas, like the East and West Coasts, and from cities where residents have previously been able to deduct state and local taxes from their federal taxes, may still find themselves paying more going forward. Meanwhile, the disappearing incentives to homeownership will present challenges to people in high-cost housing markets and those considering a home purchase.

Ben Dunbar, an investment advisor representative from Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management based in Santa Monica, says that the tax law will certainly affect his clients, whose annual incomes range from $200,000-$750,000. “Most of them have mortgages north of $750,000 and already pay high state taxes. Now they’re going to lose the state tax deduction, and the deduction on their mortgages is going down.”

$ 1 Million Deductible Cap Gone

For earners who count themselves among the C-Suite, the Tax Act has several other significant changes regarding executive compensation. The most notable is the change to Section 162(m) of the Tax Code.

Previously, Section 162(m) imposed a $1 million limit on the tax deduction that a public company could take on compensation paid to its CEO and three other highest paid executive officers (other than the CFO) – also known as “covered executives.”

An important exception, however, allowed companies to fully deduct compensation above this cap if it was considered to be performance-based. It’s no surprise, of course, that companies have typically capped the base salaries of their highest-paid executives at $1 million and offered them compensation beyond that figure in the form of stock options, stock grants, performance-based bonuses and deferred compensation.

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The new law does several things. First, it eliminates the performance-based compensation exception, which means that companies will no longer be able to deduct compensation above $1 million from their taxes. Second, it expands the group of executives that are subject to the deduction limit to include the CFO. In addition, for executives that have ever been a covered executive, the new rule applies forever – even if they leave the company.

Market-based Compensation Will Prevail

With high executive pay packages becoming costlier to companies, one might expect to see overall compensation decline – or at least to see compensation packages restructured. That’s unlikely, however, according to several experts.

“Companies are going to pay executives what the market demands. I don’t think corporate boards are going to say, ‘We can’t pay this guy because we can’t deduct it,’” said Clare Wherley, CEO and Co-Founder of Lassus Wherley, a wealth management firm serving the New York City and Florida markets.

The provisions in the Tax Act regarding executive compensation are just the latest effort by Congress to rein in executive pay packages which have soared over the last two decades. But few experts believe it will have the intended effect.

“The loss of tax deductions is not material to most companies. In general, deductions are a cost of doing business,” said Jim Barrall, senior fellow in residence at the UCLA School of Law and former chairman of the executive compensation practice at Latham & Watkins.

As a point of comparison, Dennis Minich, managing director of Andersen Tax in Chicago, points out that when the Affordable Care Act was enacted, it lowered the limit of executive salaries that corporations in the healthcare industry could deduct from their federal taxes to $500,000. “I don’t think the Aetnas of the world have changed policies much,” he said.

One sector that could be most affected by the Tax Act is the non-profit world. A new provision in the Tax Act imposes a 21% excise tax on tax-exempt organizations for compensation paid to any of the top five executives in excess of $1 million. That rate is equal to the new corporate tax rate. This could impact universities where some deans and coaches make in excess of $1 million. But how big of an impact it will be remains to be seen. In the non-profit world, as in the business world, where talent is important, the market will dictate compensation regardless of the tax impact.

A New Wave of American Migration?

In considering how the Tax Act will affect executives and their pay, much is still unknown. The code was written quickly and not well.

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“It’s fairly well known in accounting circles that there are a lot of errors in the provisions of the Act. There is a lot of behind the scenes scrambling on the part of the IRS, Congress, and people in the executive compensation field trying to figure things out,” said Wherley.

One unintended effect, however, may be a growing migration of Americans. In November 2017, Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute, told FOX Business that the elimination of the state and local income tax deduction would encourage high-earners to leave wealthy high-tax states, like New York, New Jersey and California, in favor of states with more favorable income tax rates.

In February, Richard Florida, an American urban studies theorist focusing on economic competitiveness and demographic trends, and head of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto, made a good case to that effect in an article published on CityLab.com (See Map).

He argues that a talent shift from large coastal cities, like New York and San Francisco, to smaller cities in the West and South, is already underway. Using maps from LinkedIn, the popular professional networking website, he was able to demonstrate the population gain of cities like Denver, Austin and Charlotte and the population loss of cities like New York, Los Angeles and Seattle, by looking at how LinkedIn users changed their location on their profile in January. The data suggest that professionals are, indeed, leaving high-cost cities – and often for small cities in lower-cost regions. He speculates that this transition might well be accelerated by the Tax Act.

Of course, technology developing as it is, another possible outcome is that professionals may increasingly live in lower cost areas and work remotely for a company that continues to be based in a high-cost urban center. Whether this trend happens will depend on how company policies evolve – but the Tax Act may well be a deciding factor.

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Seagulls and the Online Job Market

To the casual observer, the modern job search appears more convenient than ever. Three clicks of a mouse, a flurry of typing, and a potential applicant is whisked away into the magical world of online job postings. And it appears to be the land of plenty; there are bushels of job postings. They submit resumes and wait. And wait. And wait. And never hear back.

What did they do wrong? They were qualified for every position they applied for, their resume was immaculate, but the hiring companies never made contact. The answer, strangely enough, lies in the habits of the infamous sand rats known as seagulls. Consider a busy day at the beach: people are so tightly packed onto the narrow strip of sand that you can’t shake out a towel without earning a dirty look from someone. The internet is millions of times more crowded. Online job postings are inundated with potentially thousands of virtually identical resumes a day. Applicants applying to such listings are like seagulls flocking to a single hand spreading crumbs at the beach: you might get a taste –it might be enough to keep you hopeful—but you will not walk away satisfied from the experience.

Relying on the published job market is narrow-minded and bird-brained. Why compete with thousands when you can narrow down the field to less than one hundred with little effort? Instead of searching for job availabilities, search for specific industries, company sizes, and desired location. Once you’ve created a list of attractive companies, search for the executive that might be in charge of hiring the position that you would be seeking. Mail them your resume directly. There might not be a job opening, but if there is then you’ve managed to cut out the applicants that would only apply if the job availability was posted online. Think back to seagulls: instead of being one of the flock, be the lone maverick patrolling the beach and hunting for the whole sandwich it can snatch out of an unsuspecting individual’s hands.

It’s a higher risk approach, yes. I am not suggesting that you completely eschew the published market. However, by supplementing your search with so-called “unpublished introductions,” you can broaden your search and possibly reap greater rewards in a shorter time span.

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Are you in a midlife career change? Are you changing careers at 30, 40 or 50 years of age? Do you need a new career? If you are currently experiencing difficulty in your job search, we’re here to help. Please send a message with your information or call.

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