Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Archive: April, 2012

POSTED: Friday, April 13, 2012, 3:15 AM

Holly Paul, U.S. recruiting leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers, said she knows how hard it has been for college graduates to find jobs. (You can read more about that in our Inquirer series "Struggling for Work: The Broken Dreams of New Generation.")

But, as someone who heads the recruiting effort of company that hires lots of college graduates, she has some advice: 

"Your number one goal is to focus on that GPA," she said. "It's critical. A high GPA does not equate to being a genius, but it does show how hard you are willing to work, your work ethic and what you are willing to do to make the grade. Our [employees] work at very complex business problems. They have to work and work and work to solve them."

POSTED: Thursday, April 12, 2012, 3:05 AM

Millennials have taken a bad rap in the workplace, said Holly Paul, U.S. recruiting leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the big four accounting firms and one of the major recruiters of college graduates.

"I think Millennials are fairly often misrepresented," she said.  In the past, it might have been OK to tell a young worker, "just do what you're told and wait your turn," she said. "Millennials aren't geared that way. They ask questions. People are taken aback, but I think it's quite healthy. They want to know why. They are asking for feedback."

Paul said that this year, for the first time, her company is back to its 2006 recruiting levels, recruiting for both interns and full time hires. About 60 percent of full time hires are drawn from the company's interns. She said her company recruits at about 200 campuses including the University of Pennsylvania, Temple, University of Pittsburgh, Penn State, Villanova and St. Joe's. To get in, students need to have a grade point average of 3.4 or better.)

POSTED: Wednesday, April 11, 2012, 3:25 AM

Lindsay Runyen, 23, dreams of being a history teacher, but instead, she's working as a waitress and a bartender at Winnie's LeBus in Manayunk. Nothing wrong, with the job. She likes it and the pay is good, but what about all her dreams?

"After college, you are supposed to be able to travel the world and do the things you can do to discover," Runyen said. That's out of the question. She's saddled with so much college debt that she has to work nearly a full week to make her monthly payment. That payment is due, like clockwork, but she manages it, along with her rent, a car payment, cellphone and utilities.

"There's no sense of being able to take a risk," she said. "There's the whole world and I'm not seeing it because of the ball and chain." She saved up enough money to go on vacation to Ireland with a friend, who works as a trauma nurse. While in Ireland, Runyen said, the nurse commented that it was nice to have someone pay you not to work. "I was thinking, `It's Sunday. That's my most lucrative day at the restaurant.'"

POSTED: Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 3:00 AM

 A couple years ago, Lindsay Runyen's father was laid off from work. She saw how much he suffered -- how his many years of experience turned into a liability on the job search front, as did his lack of official education credentials. 

So Runyen, 23, with her college degree in education and a yearning to teach history, isn't going to complain about her bartending/waitress job at Winnie's LeBus in Manayunk. It's a good job. She's paying the bills, she likes the work. Anyway, it's not her style. "I'm 23. I'm making money at the restaurant. I'm comfortable. I've learned how to manage," she said. "Who am I to take a job away from someone who needs it?"

Her father eventually got a job, and the story is a triumphant one that Runyen proudly shares -- how her father showed the value of his experience and people skills when the younger, more educated guy couldn't close the deal. How someone like her father could lose a job, Runyen doesn't know. "It's the way of the world," she said. "You just have to shake your head. That's the way it is."

POSTED: Monday, April 9, 2012, 3:45 AM

Lindsay Runyen, 23, a bartender and waitress who dreams of teaching history,  describes Winnie's LeBus, a Manayunk bar and eatery, as a halfway house for people like her -- 20 somethings who are under-employed.

There's an academic name for her situation: Paul Harrington, director of Drexel University's Center for Labor Markets and Policy, calls it mal-employment. You can read more about mal-employment in "Struggling for Work," our series about the millennial generation and their less-than-promising future. 

When I interviewed Lindsay a month or so ago, she described her co-workers:

POSTED: Saturday, April 7, 2012, 3:15 PM

There's another reason young people keep "Struggling for Work" as reported in Sunday's  Inquirer. It's because they aren't so attached to the labor market in the first place.

"There's a difference between young workers and old workers," said Shigeru Fujita, a senior economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. "If you are old, it’s most likely that you have found what you like – meaning you already have a good match between you and your employer, so you are less likely to be losing a job during the recession."

"It is true the older workers are having a hard time finding a job, but the probability of losing a job is lower," he said. 

POSTED: Friday, April 6, 2012, 3:45 AM

Two weeks ago, Mark DiBattista, of Medford, was one of the nation's 12.8 million unemployed. Out of work for nearly two years, he was one unemployment benefit check away from dire straits. But on March 26, he started a job. How did he get it? Network, network, network.

It's good advice. Yes, as today's U.S. Labor Department report shows, the job market is improving, But a new job isn't going to just jump in your lap.

"I have to believe that 80 percent of the people that are landing today are not landing those jobs via the Internet," DiBattista said. "They are landing them through networking and volunteering.  That was the enabler for me."

POSTED: Tuesday, April 3, 2012, 11:55 AM

What would happen, if, instead of laying off employees during a business slowdown, companies instead allowed employees to share jobs? That's the concept behind a layoff aversion program that is widely credited with helping Germany survive the recent worldwide recession.

Now the U.S. government has provided some funding for states to develop these kinds of programs. In Pennsylvania, employers can reduce the hours of an entire work group and those workers can collect a pro-rated share of their unemployment benefits to help make up the difference in lost income. That's a new program here.

There are winners and losers. Society as a whole is a winner, since dislocated workers often burden social safety nets. It also doesn't help society when workers can't find jobs in their fields and are forced to work outside their skills and training. It's also helpful to companies, once they master the administrative logistics. They can incrementally restaff by simply increasing hours, rather than by going through expensive recruiting and training costs.

About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer