November 2017 Prosperity at Work E-Tip

Economics & Job Creation:


Life Sciences:
“7 Secrets to Help Accelerate Your Next Career Move”

“Making glass invisible: A nanoscience-based disappearing act”

“Navigating the genome to cure deafness”

The Industrials:
“NYC Law Banning Salary History Queries Set to Begin”

Human Capital Solutions, Inc. (HCS) is a Retained Executive Search and Professional Recruiting firm focused in Healthcare, Life Sciences, the Industrials, and Technology. Visit our LinkedIn Company Page to learn more about HCS and receive weekly updates.

HCS has created the Prosperity at Work proposition which focuses on creating prosperous relationships between companies and their employees (associates). HCS assists companies in improving bottom line profitability by efficiently planning, organizing and implementing optimized, practical and value-added business solutions.


Economics & Job Creation:



Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 261,000 in October, and the unemployment rate
edged down to 4.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment
in food services and drinking places increased sharply, mostly offsetting a decline in
September that largely reflected the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. In October,
job gains also occurred in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 4.1 percent in October, and
the number of unemployed persons decreased by 281,000 to 6.5 million. Since January, the
unemployment rate has declined by 0.7 percentage point, and the number of unemployed
persons has decreased by 1.1 million. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (3.6 percent) and
Whites (3.5 percent) declined in October. The jobless rates for adult men (3.8 percent),
teenagers (13.7 percent), Blacks (7.5 percent), Asians (3.1 percent), and Hispanics
(4.8 percent) showed little change. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

In October, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was
little changed at 1.6 million and accounted for 24.8 percent of the unemployed. (See
table A-12.)

The labor force participation rate decreased by 0.4 percentage point to 62.7 percent in
October but has shown little movement on net over the past 12 months. The employment-
population ratio declined by 0.2 percentage point over the month to 60.2 percent, after
increasing by 0.3 percentage point in September. The employment-population ratio is up
by 0.5 percentage point over the year. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to
as involuntary part-time workers) declined by 369,000 to 4.8 million in October. These
individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time
because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time
jobs. Over the past 12 months, the number of involuntary part-time workers has decreased
by 1.1 million. (See table A-8.)

In October, 1.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little
changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals
were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a
job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they
had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 524,000 discouraged workers in October,
essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.)
Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe
no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.0 million persons marginally attached
to the labor force in October had not searched for work for reasons such as school
attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 261,000 in October, after changing little
in September (+18,000). Employment in food services and drinking places increased sharply
over the month, mostly offsetting a decline in September that largely reflected the impact
of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. In October, employment also increased in professional and
business services, manufacturing, and health care. (See table B-1.)

Employment in food services and drinking places rose sharply in October (+89,000),
following a decrease of 98,000 in September when many workers were off payrolls due to
the hurricanes.

Professional and business services added 50,000 jobs in October, about in line with its
average monthly gain over the prior 12 months.

Manufacturing employment rose by 24,000 in October, with job gains in computer and
electronic products (+5,000) and chemicals (+4,000). Employment in fabricated metals
continued to trend up (+4,000). Manufacturing has added 156,000 jobs since a recent
employment low in November 2016.

Health care added 22,000 jobs in October. Employment in ambulatory health care services
continued to trend up over the month (+16,000). Health care has added an average of
24,000 jobs per month thus far in 2017, compared with an average gain of 32,000 per
month in 2016.

Employment in other major industries, including mining, construction, wholesale trade,
retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and
government, changed little in October.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at
34.4 hours in October. In manufacturing, the workweek increased by 0.2 hour to 41.0
hours, and overtime edged up by 0.1 hour to 3.5 hours. The average workweek for
production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by
0.1 hour to 33.7 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, at $26.53,
were little changed in October (-1 cent), after rising by 12 cents in September.
Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 63 cents, or
2.4 percent. In October, average hourly earnings of private-sector production
and nonsupervisory employees, at $22.22, were little changed (-1 cent). (See
tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised up from
+169,000 to +208,000, and the change for September was revised up from -33,000
to +18,000. With these revisions, employment was 90,000 higher than previously
reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from
businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from
the recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged
162,000 over the last 3 months.


Life Sciences:

“7 Secrets to Help Accelerate Your Next Career Move”

As executive recruiters and talent acquisition professionals know best from candidates, the last few months of the year are often a time to start thinking about a career move. Bonuses will be paid shortly and companies are making plans for next year. Perhaps major organizational changes are in the works and it makes sense to investigate the market.

But according to Ted Pryor, managing director with Greenwich Harbor Partners, many senior executives have not “job hunted” in a long time – having been hired and promoted several times by people who knew their work – and the prospect of making cold calls for the next position is daunting.

Once upon a time, the primary job hunting technique was to call everyone you knew in a process called “networking,” but a random conversation is not likely to land the best possible position. People have grown tired of networking. You must be strategic, said Mr. Pryor.

Here are seven strategic secrets he offers to making a career move that will land you the right job and accelerate your career in the process:

1. First Rest and Recuperate. If you are leaving a high stress, demanding position, step one is to clear your head and recharge your batteries, said Mr. Pryor. Take some time off. Take the family to Costa Rica. Clean the garage. Take a cooking class. Write an article. Start a new exercise regime. Do whatever it takes to get back in balance, get some perspective and away from the pressure and assumptions of the most recent position.

2. Research, Research, Research. Take serious time to consider your industry and your interests. “You may have done this many times for your company – now you need to do it for yourself,” Mr. Pryor said. What are your strengths, likes and dislikes? What are your goals? Where is the industry going? Which are the best companies and why? Who is growing? Who will be the winners? Are there technology threats? Is offshore competition about to land? Is automation going to be a factor? What are up-and-coming industries where your functional skills might be valuable? What is your strategy?

3. Develop a Criteria Template. You must develop your own criteria list for the next job and define the limits of what you will consider, said Mr. Pryor. You must define: 1) the ideal job, 2) an acceptable position with some compromises and 3) the bottom line beyond which you will keep looking. Don’t waste time talking about jobs that don’t meet your bottom line. You can always deal with “blue bird” opportunities as they arise, but you don’t need to hunt for them.

4. Name 10 Great Companies. Based on current knowledge, write down the names of 10 great companies you would like to work for without regard to whether there is a position for you, said Mr. Pryor. This is a “scratch and carry” list that you will modify as you learn. Develop files on the best companies and get to be expert on them. Which ones are growing? Which ones are run by CEOs you admire? Which ones have good reputations as places to work? Which ones are ripe for injection of new technology or new ways of doing business? Look hard at agile, up-and-coming companies rather than bureaucratic legacy companies. Look for a “disruptor,” not a “disruptee.”

5. Concentrate on Personal Growth. Your next job should offer personal growth, Mr. Pryor said. What will you learn in the new position? What new skills and experience can you gain? Can you increase in scope, scale and responsibility? Can you be more entrepreneurial? Can you learn a new industry? What scale do you want: Early stage growth? Large middle market? Multinational? Put money aside at first. Matching salary may not be the top priority. You may be offered equity or the opportunity to build skills that will pay off in the long run.

6. Focus on a 45 Degree Pivot. Look to make a change that is no more than a 45-degree pivot, said Mr. Pryor. If your skills are: 1) functional, 2) industry, and 3) operating scale, you’d like to use at least two of these major skills in the new position, Mr. Pryor said. Otherwise, you are leaving too much behind and you are bringing too little to the table. The desire to take on fresh challenges is natural, and a change of industry or function can bring the needed new horizon.

7. Network, Network, Network. Once you have developed a plan and criteria, talk to a lot of people. But your questions should be around industry trends and the leading companies, not strictly looking for an open position, said Mr. Pryor. Asking, “Do you know if there is an opening,” can produce a very short conversation. A more interesting question is: “Do you have time to talk about where the industry is going?” Prepare five or six questions. If the person only has 10 minutes to talk, you may be able to get through your prepared questions and learn a lot.

“This is a rare opportunity to cross party lines that you could never cross when employed by one company,” said Mr. Pryor. “Pick a start date when you will be job hunting formally and treat everything before that date as research. Once you get to your start date, hit the ground running.”

Eighty percent of all jobs are found through networking and less than 20 percent through internal and external recruiters, he said. “Talk to everyone you can. Go to former colleagues, mentors, college alumnae, industry contacts, former clients, industry analysts and industry consultants. Finally, the best jobs can come from going direct to the CEO or a C-suite executive and pointing out a business need they have not yet developed that you would be perfect for leading.”

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; Will Schatz, Managing Editor and Andrew W. Mitchell, Podcast Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media



“Making glass invisible: A nanoscience-based disappearing act”

If you have ever watched television in anything but total darkness, used a computer while sitting underneath overhead lighting or near a window, or taken a photo outside on a sunny day with your smartphone, you have experienced a major nuisance of modern display screens: glare. Most of today’s electronics devices are equipped with glass or plastic covers for protection against dust, moisture, and other environmental contaminants, but light reflection from these surfaces can make information displayed on the screens difficult to see.

Now, scientists at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN) — a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility at Brookhaven National Laboratory — have demonstrated a method for reducing the surface reflections from glass surfaces to nearly zero by etching tiny nanoscale features into them.

Whenever light encounters an abrupt change in refractive index (how much a ray of light bends as it crosses from one material to another, such as between air and glass), a portion of the light is reflected. The nanoscale features have the effect of making the refractive index change gradually from that of air to that of glass, thereby avoiding reflections. The ultra-transparent nanotextured glass is antireflective over a broad wavelength range (the entire visible and near-infrared spectrum) and across a wide range of viewing angles. Reflections are reduced so much that the glass essentially becomes invisible.

This “invisible glass” could do more than improve the user experience for consumer electronic displays. It could enhance the energy-conversion efficiency of solar cells by minimizing the amount of sunlight lost to refection. It could also be a promising alternative to the damage-prone antireflective coatings conventionally used in lasers that emit powerful pulses of light, such as those applied to the manufacture of medical devices and aerospace components.

“We’re excited about the possibilities,” said CFN Director Charles Black, corresponding author on the paper published online on October 30 in Applied Physics Letters. “Not only is the performance of these nanostructured materials extremely high, but we’re also implementing ideas from nanoscience in a manner that we believe is conducive to large-scale manufacturing.”

Former Brookhaven Lab postdocs Andreas Liapis, now a research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Wellman Center for Photomedicine, and Atikur Rahman, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune, are co-authors.

To texture the glass surfaces at the nanoscale, the scientists used an approach called self-assembly, which is the ability of certain materials to spontaneously form ordered arrangements on their own. In this case, the self-assembly of a block copolymer material provided a template for etching the glass surface into a “forest” of nanoscale cone-shaped structures with sharp tips — a geometry that almost completely eliminates the surface reflections. Block copolymers are industrial polymers (repeating chains of molecules) that are found in many products, including shoe soles, adhesive tapes, and automotive interiors.

Black and CFN colleagues have previously used a similar nanotexturing technique to impart silicon, glass, and some plastic materials with water-repellent and self-cleaning properties and anti-fogging abilities, and also to make silicon solar cells antireflective. The surface nanotextures mimic those found in nature, such as the tiny light-trapping posts that make moth eyes dark to help the insects avoid detection by predators and the waxy cones that keep cicada wings clean.

“This simple technique can be used to nanotexture almost any material with precise control over the size and shape of the nanostructures,” said Rahman. “The best thing is that you don’t need a separate coating layer to reduce glare, and the nanotextured surfaces outperform any coating material available today.”

“We have eliminated reflections from glass windows not by coating the glass with layers of different materials but by changing the geometry of the surface at the nanoscale,” added Liapis. “Because our final structure is composed entirely of glass, it is more durable than conventional antireflective coatings.”

To quantify the performance of the nanotextured glass surfaces, the scientists measured the amount of light transmitted through and reflected from the surfaces. In good agreement with their own model simulations, the experimental measurements of surfaces with nanotextures of different heights show that taller cones reflect less light. For example, glass surfaces covered with 300-nanometer-tall nanotextures reflect less than 0.2 percent of incoming red-colored light (633-nanometer wavelength). Even at the near-infrared wavelength of 2500 nanometers and viewing angles as high as 70 degrees, the amount of light passing through the nanostructured surfaces remains high — above 95 and 90 percent, respectively.

In another experiment, they compared the performance of a commercial silicon solar cell without a cover, with a conventional glass cover, and with a nanotextured glass cover. The solar cell with the nanotextured glass cover generated the same amount of electric current as the one without a cover. They also exposed their nanotextured glass to short laser pulses to determine the intensity at which the laser light begins to damage the material. Their measurements reveal the glass can withstand three times more optical energy per unit area than commercially available antireflection coatings that operate over a broad wavelength range.

“Our role in the CFN is to demonstrate how nanoscience can facilitate the design of new materials with improved properties,” said Black. “This work is a great example of that — we’d love to find a partner to help advance these remarkable materials toward technology.”



“Navigating the genome to cure deafness”

A new Tel Aviv University study solves a critical piece of the puzzle of human deafness by identifying the first group of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in the auditory system.

“The research on long non-coding RNAs is crucial to understanding how gene expression and regulatory elements influence the auditory system,” says Prof. Karen Avraham, Vice Dean of TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine. “How do changes in these inheritable parts of the genome contribute to deafness? There is a need for new approaches and entry points to gene therapy. Knowing more about how genes are controlled may help devise strategies.”

Prof. Avraham led the study together with Dr. Igor Ulitsky of the Weizmann Institute of Science. The results were recently published in Scientific Reports.

As much as 98% of the human genome is “non-coding” — it does not code for protein. RNAs contained in this non-coding part act as regulatory molecules and have a large impact on gene expression: where in the body and when during development or adulthood genes are expressed. One type of these RNA molecules, long non-coding RNAs, has been linked to a wide range of diseases and inheritable conditions such as cancer and celiac disease.

“Ours is the first report describing lncRNAs on a comprehensive level in a model of human deafness. This work provides a resource to look further into some of the lncRNAs and study their exact function in the inner ear — a key first step towards a potential cure,” Prof. Avraham says.

According to the study, identifying the lncRNAs that play an unknown role in regulating genes involved in deafness will have an impact. “Recessive mutations causing disease — and deafness — continue to prevail, especially in the parts of the world where marriages take place between relatives, such as in the Middle East; this is known as ‘consanguinity,'” Prof. Avraham says. “LncRNAs are situated beside deafness genes, suggesting they direct and regulate these genes. By further examining these lncRNAs down the line, we may be able to help the hard of hearing, young and old alike.”

The researchers performed state-of-the-art next generation sequencing (NGS) on a model of human deafness to identify the critical lncRNAs. “We generated a whole-genome lncRNA profile to recognize differentially expressed lncRNAs in developing inner ear organ systems,” Prof. Avraham explains. “The resulting catalogue, which contains over 3,000 lncRNAs, summarizes for the first time their expression patterns across the auditory and vestibular systems. We focused our attention on three genes out of these lncRNAs. They were selected because of their proximity to genes related to hearing and deafness.”

The researchers are currently performing experiments on specific lncRNAs to reveal their precise functions within the inner ear sensory epithelium.

“There are still a considerable number of unsolved inherited deafness cases, despite the use of NGS,” Prof. Avraham concludes. “This was what first led us to start an effort to identify novel genomic regulatory elements to explore the noncoding portion of the genome. Identifying such players can eventually assist in isolating pathogenic variants or regulatory elements that can be at the root of human hearing and balance disorders.”


The Industrials:

“NYC Law Banning Salary History Queries Set to Begin”

Beginning Tuesday, employers in New York City – and the executive search firms that represent them – are prohibited from asking job candidates about their salary history. The New York City Human Rights Law, as it is known, is an effort to help bring women’s pay in line with that of their male counterparts. A growing number of municipalities and states across the nation have enacted, or are considering, similar legislation.

The New York City law, which met resistance from Wall Street and the search industry, will in many cases change how salary and other compensation is discussed during the recruitment process. Beyond the ban on directly inquiring about previous salary, employers are also restricted from asking a candidate’s previous employers about an individual’s pay or searching public records for that information. If employers inadvertently come upon a prospect’s salary history, they are restricted from using it to decide how much to offer.

Under the law, employers can consider salary history if the candidate offers the information “voluntarily and without prompting.” Violators could be fined as much as $125,000 for an unintentional transgression and as high as $250,000 for willfully breaking the new law.

Dealing with Change

When asked about the effect of the law on recruitment firms, Melissa Osipoff, a labor and employment attorney with the Fisher Phillips law firm, said it will no doubt change certain aspects of how recruiters do business. “This is something that’s going to be challenging for them to do their jobs the way that they have in the past,” she said.

The New York City law and others like it pose a series of challenges for employers and recruiters that go beyond merely being forbidden to ask a specific question during a one-on-one interview. “Employers need to review all of their application materials and ensure that they don’t include any requests to disclose salary history,” said Ms. Osipoff, who is based in New York and who has been busy in recent months helping her management clients plan for complying with the law. “They need to remove any salary history questions from their background checks or any other verification inquiries that they make. Importantly, they need to train their personnel, their human resources personnel and anyone else who’s involved in interviewing candidates, to make sure that they’re not asking these types of questions.”

Ms. Osipoff said employers are going to have a challenge “on how they want to deal with when an applicant voluntarily discloses their salary, and what they want to do to document that,” to ensure that it was voluntary and that they are complying with the law. “They also have to consider how they’re going to inquire about the candidate’s salary expectations without getting into salary history.”

Seeking Parity

Despite the restrictions, employers are permitted to ask about competing offers and counteroffers. They can further ask about “objective indicators of performance, such as the volume, value, or frequency of sales,” according to the New York City Commission on Human Rights. The prospect’s book of business and profits generated, for example, fall under this category. But an employer is forbidden from asking about a candidate’s current or former profit percentage.

Employers are also allowed to inquire about certain forms of compensation, the commission said on its website: “Employers may ask whether an applicant will have to forfeit deferred compensation or unvested equity from their current employer and the value and structure of the deferred compensation or unvested equity, request documentation to verify the applicant’s representations, and consider such information in making the applicant an offer.”

In 98 percent of occupations, women earn less than men, according to the National Women’s Law Center. Women are typically paid 80 cents for every dollar that their male colleagues receive. By using past pay as a starting point in pay negotiations, proponents of the salary laws say, employers prevent women from earning enough to reach parity with men.

New York City is far from alone in its attempt to boost women’s salaries through salary history legislation. This year, almost half the states are said to have considered such laws. Oregon’s salary history law went into effect earlier this month, with a series of others scheduled to start in the months ahead: Delaware (December), California (January), Puerto Rico (March) and Massachusetts (July). New Orleans and Pittsburgh have similar laws on the books. San Francisco’s will take effect in July. And Philadelphia’s version is under legal challenge. Many other municipalities and states have been considering such legislation. In some cases, such as Illinois and New Jersey, salary history laws have been vetoed.

Impairing Salary Negotiations

“A lot of the resistance has to do with implementation and how to handle it,” said Ms. Osipoff. “And I think its also going to get to be a little problematic as each jurisdiction passes their own unique twist to it and you get into situations where employers that operate in multiple states and multiple cities will have to comply with similar laws but laws that are slightly different in each different jurisdiction that they operate in.”

Critics have charged that such laws will impair salary negotiations and could make it more difficult to attract top candidates. The laws also stand to impede research about competitive wages, say opponents.

Many in the search industry, however, are showing little concern, at least publicly. Steven B. Potter, CEO of Odgers Berndtson U.S., who is based in New York, expects the law to have but minor effect on how recruiters at his firm go about their work. “It is not likely to change much at all,” he said. “Most candidates will volunteer their salary information, if only to make sure the new opportunity is going to pay more. Even if they don’t, we will slightly vary the questions we ask. ‘What are your compensation expectations,’ for example. Nobody is going to say less than they are currently making.”

Nor does he expect the law to result in new hires receiving bigger salary packages than previously. “Most companies have a pretty good idea of what the market is,” he said, “and they have pretty firm comp parameters that are well thought out.”

Questions Remain

Mr. Potter said whether the law ultimately helps women reach parity with men remains an open question. “It’s possible that this will help women who lag the market,” he said. “It’s hard to say until we see it in place and working. It could have a counter-intuitive negative effect. If candidates, women or otherwise, don’t volunteer compensation information, potential employers may assume it’s lower than the job they’re talking about and therefore start with a lowball offer. I’m not saying this will happen, but it might.”

Other recruiters also seem to have few to no major concerns with the law or its intent. They generally understand why it has been put in place and actually like the idea. Over time, they admit, it should drive everyone to be paid what a particular job might be worth, rather than based upon what someone’s salary is already to date.

One recruiter, wishing to remain anonymous on a subject that many seemed unwilling to speak publicly about, said that his search consultants already have a good grasp of pay in the market. “We’re going to ask people for their expectations, and then I would say that we can probably estimate ourselves around where the candidates currently are today,” he said. “If people want to share their financial package, then they can openly and freely do that.”

Most recruiters seem to agree on one essential matter – and fall in line with Mr. Potter’s belief – that the law is unlikely to bring salary levels up. The thinking is that if candidates try to stretch their salary levels too high at the beginning of a contract negotiation, they might exclude themselves from the ultimate short list. So an unintended consequence could be salaries leveling out.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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