Unemployment in Changing Times – Are Seasonal Workers Protected?

Written by Jackie Edwards, specially for The HR Tech Weekly® ▸

Unemployment in Changing Times - Are Seasonal Workers Protected?

In many industries, there is an ever shrinking demarcation of the traditional working day. The fact is, we live in a 24/7 consumer society, and those demands are cascaded through to businesses throughout the value chain. This is particularly the case in the tech industry, where the growing trend in flexible and remote workers means the boundary between home and work balance is becoming ever more blurred. When it comes down to it, the 9-5 working day and 35 hour week with time off for good behavior that was the norm for our parents and grandparents is actually quite a rarity today.

But flexible working practices do not just mean fitting hours to suit personal and business needs, and seeking that holy grail of 21st century existence, the mythical work life balance. Seasonal work is also becoming more common in industries outside the traditional farming and recreational sectors, and is starting to be seen in everything from retail to back office to academia. Here, we take a look at how employment law applies to workers falling into this ever widening category.

Claiming Unemployment Benefit

Even for those who have been in regular employment within the HR tech industry, the rules might seem complex due to variations between states, but the underlying principles are simple enough. If the worker has been laid off through no fault of his or her own, and meets the requirements for the amount of time he or she was in work, then benefits are available.

For seasonal workers, the same principles are in play, but they are a little more complicated to navigate. Specifically, the lack of work at certain times is an understood and acknowledged part of the deal. As such, workers are not actually unemployed, and so many states will not subsidize them during this “lull” period.

States that have a more generous attitude towards seasonal workers, typically those with a significant tourist sector and therefore a larger proportion of people falling into this category, calculate the amount payable on the basis of what was earned during the base period, just as they would for someone who had been in full time employment.

How about Contractors?

Almost three quarters of employers use contractors to provide tech support at one time or another, so how is this sector affected? Only an employee can claim benefits, and in the vast majority of cases, contractors are considered to be self employed, and are therefore ineligible. Even more complex is where the contractor hires seasonal assistance. In this case, however, the key word is “hires” – the assistant is not considered an employee any more than the contractor is, and therefore is not generally going to be able to claim unemployment.

If in doubt, ask

The above all suggests that where unemployment benefits are concerned, the deck is clearly stacked in favor of full time workers, and it could be argued that seasonal employees are not as fairly treated as they could be. Ultimately, though, it is important to remember that rules can vary significantly, so if you are unsure regarding an individual’s eligibility to claim, it always makes sense to check with your state unemployment office to get specific advice.


Not everyone fits the traditional, eight-to-five, year-round job scenario. Seasonal employees work for defined, often short periods of time during specific times of the year. This phenomenon is created by variations in certain industries that are affected by seasonal shifts in demand or weather-related impediments.

Click here to learn more: Unemployment Rules for Seasonal Workers | AboutUnemployment.org

Moving Towards People Analytics Is Now Critical For HR | Featured Image

Moving Towards People Analytics Is Now Critical For HR

Moving Towards People Analytics Is Now Critical For HR | Main Image

HR as a whole has resisted a move towards people analytics for some time but the need is becoming critical.

Recent developments have provided employers with urgent reminders of just why:

  • One third of working life (or 80 working days per year) is spent on completing ‘administrative or repetitive tasks’ according to a new report, costing the UK service industry alone over £400 bn. For HR, not only is it unproductive time but it also diverts attention away from focusing on sourcing talent and employee engagement.
  • That’s not all. The Open University’s (OU) Business Barometer found that the skills gap is now costing the UK an estimated £2.2 billion per year. Delays and skills shortages are driving up recruitment costs as business are forced to pay more to attract the talent they need or turn to temporary workers and recruitment agencies.
  • The problem is compounded by the rise in failed hiring decisions identified by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

Moving towards people analytics is vital to help HR to address those issues and adopt a much needed a long-term approach to talent acquisition and retention. Deloitte’s 2017 Human Capital Trends Survey notes that people analytics is undergoing a ‘seismic shift’ and is now going mainstream but employers risk being left behind.

Effective people analytics enables HR access to ‘real-time analytics at the point of need in the business process’ according to Deloitte. In its most basic form, it enables HR to access live data through recruitment software to begin to build a picture of what exactly is shaping the success or otherwise of your hiring process.

The principles behind effective people analytics

For HR, it is essential that decisions related to talent acquisition and employee development are based on data. Hiring teams which are able to understand the benefits of this analysis and the way in which it ultimately impacts business performance and influence future hiring needs will be more successful in attracting talent. This is achievable with people analytics.

Understanding where to begin

Ask questions : Moving towards people analytics begins with the questions asked of your hiring process. For example, less than a quarter of UK business are confident in measuring their quality of hire. Asking questions about the retention levels of recent hires is the first step towards understanding that.

Know your key metrics : Knowing and understanding your metrics drives successful recruitment. Time to hire, the source of your most successful hires and the ratio of accepted versus rejected job offers are all examples of information provided by your recruitment software. Companies relying on manual recruitment or outdated HR technology will be hindered in measuring these metrics accurately.

Analyse the data : Understanding the underlying issues indicated by recruitment data enables HR to adjust hiring processes. For example high levels of candidate drop off rates may indicate a prolonged or repetitive application process. It may also indicate a lack of engagement with the talent in your pipeline. Time to hire is another crucial metric. The OU’s report found filling open jobs is problematic for three quarters of all employers – on average, it is taking one month and 24 days longer than expected. These are issues which can be identified and streamlined with effective HR technology.

The step towards evidence based HR

Simply put, evidence based HR means that hiring decisions are made with reference to supporting data, yet for too many organisations this is not the case. One in five hiring managers make snap decisions on candidates within one minute, according to research from TotalJobs.  Only one third wait until after the interview has ended. Data from your recruitment software should reinforce or challenge your final decision. The potential for human error and bias are also minimised through the use of data driven recruitment.

Once the obstacles to successful hiring are identified, HR can begin to address them and adopt a long-term approach to planning. People analytics can then help to predict the most likely source of your next new hire based on your data. Without this knowledge, it is impossible to improve your hiring process.

Getting started

Recruitment software is the most straightforward way for your business to move towards people analytics. It immediately reduces the time spent on time consuming ‘administrative or repetitive tasks’, streamlines the hiring process to minimise delays and reduces the potential for failed hiring decisions. Making that move is now critical for HR.

Advorto’s recruitment software provides workflow and structure across the entire hiring process, offering a dynamic database of candidates and analytics. Used by some of the world’s leading organisations, it provides a straightforward first step into people analytics and big data. Contact us today to take that first step.


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Tech Hiring Is Slowing Down

True or False – is tech hiring slowing down? I believe the answer is both, true and false.

There is undeniably a slowdown in VC funding in the Bay Area as of late 2015 with all the unicorns and even giants falling in valuations due to “tech corrections”. Fundraising is not as easy as it was before because the bar has been set a bit higher for startups who are raising money. I know this because we fund raised our seed fund of $1.5M in late 2015 right before things started to slow down and right now we are gearing towards another fundraising round. The money is there, and investors are investing left and right even in the Valley, but we do see a slowdown of seed money invested and more of latter rounds as indicated by CrunchBase January 2016 and MatterMark. It almost seems like as if investors suddenly got smarter with their investments (no pun intended). Good companies that performed well are still raising successfully especially with all the hundreds of millions invested just late January 2016.

How does this translate to hiring? Well, hiring is slowing down yes, but that’s mostly because open job positions that have been there for a while are now filled. Fewer jobs are being offered by seed stage companies and fewer new job positions overall, but what are we comparing this to? Is hiring now much worse than the .com boom in 2004? Is it much better than the bust in 2008? Let’s look at the data. Let’s observe Google Trends search in the US which indicates what people search for that month and year signaling level of interest for hiring and recruiting?

The answer is it’s a lot better than 2008 bust, but about the same in 2004 boom. One interesting thing we can observe from this graph is that hiring is indeed in full swing but the acceleration slowing down, and recruiting is picking up exponentially. There are three reasons simple reasons why this is happening. First, we are running out of is left of unemployed or underemployed tech talent caused by the slower economy since the last regression. The active talent pool is smaller, and the passive talent pool is getting bigger, less responsive, and hiring managers are increasingly pickier. Second, the easy jobs got filled leaving the most challenging roles open. Third, the market has become so saturated and competitive for tech talent especially in the Valley.

Comparing this January 2016 to January 2015 on Indeed, hiring is in full swing across all industries especially the +136% in transportation and +20% in IT compared to same time last year. However, looking at last quarter and month in IT sector, we can see zeroes or negative figures in growth. Anyone who took college Physics or Calculus can mathematically derive that although the quantity of hiring is very high and in full swing and yearly velocity/growth is amazing, monthly velocity is becoming negative, which means that the acceleration is slowing down, and we are near the peak of the hiring boom. We are in the early beginning of stage from points B to point C in the picture. For example, the IT industry graph validates this even to date (April 2016).

My advice for job seekers for the next few months is to act fast on any offers they get before the open jobs are gone and hiring slows down. If you are considering switching careers or change now, act fast. There is still a good window. Who knows things might pick up after a while, it’s the economy after all. One thing is for sure, when the economy goes up, it must go down eventually. Looking for a job in a recession is tough. From my personal experience, I graduated from Cal and fundraised for my previous venture during the recession in 2012, and it wasn’t easy to secure funding then. It is much easier even now after tighter VC funding. Many of my engineering friends who graduated in 2012 couldn’t find a job for more than one year. Don’t wait for that to happen.

About Author

Ninh Tran, CMO at Hiretual.com blog imageNinh Tran, CMO at Hiretual, a Recruiting Power Tool made by Recruiters for Recruiters

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Source: Tech Hiring Is Slowing Down | Ninh Tran | LinkedIn