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Back to School Means Back to Work

There’s something about this time of year — bred in the bones since childhood insisted on September being a fresh-start kind of month — that sparks a special kind of energy in a person. A new survey confirms same, and points out that the presence of kids in our orbit underscores that impulse.

In new “back-to-school” research, Boulder, CO-based FlexJobs asked 1,300 employment-seeking adults for feedback on how the fall season informs their job search. Among other illuminating results, it’s discovered that parents of children in the school system ramp up their focus on finding employment at this time of year (with the majority citing it as their “most productive” period), and are hungry for a job that will accommodate their child-encumbered lifestyle.

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The highlights of the report:

• Eighty-two percent of parents say that having school-age kids boosts their desire for a flexible job.

• Thirty-three percent of parents say they’ll ramp up their job search in accordance with their kids’ return to the classroom.

• One in three people have a daily commute of two or more hours, notable given the time savings a flexible or work-from-home position would afford them.

• Sixty-seven percent of women and 54 percent of men take longer than 30 minutes to get ready for work.

• One in four women could save more than $1,000 a year if they were to secure a telecommuting post (15 percent of men would anticipate such savings).

“I think it’s compelling to see how directly correlated a parent’s job search and career choices are impacted by their children’s lives,” says FlexJobs CEO Sara Sutton Fell. “When kids go back to school, parents go back to work, and when kids are young, parents overwhelmingly value work flexibility in their careers — often more than the actual job.

“With mothers being one of the most highly educated and under-utilized potential employees, employers who offer work flexibility have a competitive edge to hiring and retaining this audience.”

Canadian Staffing Index Links Temp Staffing to GDP Performance

There’s no shortage of indicators available for folks anxious for a reliable handle on the fragile Canadian economy, but the Canadian Staffing Index, just released by the Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services, provides unique insight.

ImageThis accounting of the number of leading staffing firms’ billed hours throws wide the view into the demand for temporary staffing in this country. And that’s an important metric, say the experts, given its track record of providing an early-warning signal about a country’s economic developments and its strong correlation with GDP growth.

Historically, temporary employment gets a boost as overtime hours increase and unemployment claims decline. This means the index can deliver a “near real-time” indication of how the Canadian economy is performing.

The most recent result — reflecting temporary staffing demand for July 2013 — is 115, up 5% from the same month a year before, when it clocked in at 110 (the index value of 100 corresponds with the size of the industry in July 2008, when the index began). It also exemplifies the same gain over June 2013.

This, says Timothy Landhuis, a research analyst at Mountain View, CA-based contingent work global advisor Staffing Industry Analysts, “represents modest or flat expansion in demand given that there was one additional working day this July compared to a year ago.

“So far in the first half of 2013, the index suggests that growth in overall demand year-over-year is either taking a pause or growing at best modestly.”