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    Hope for Iowa Jobs

    As Iowa Job Surplus Grows, Workers Call the Shots
    Eric Thayer for The New York Times
    Nate Wilde, 23, and Josh Muhlbauer, 27, in the game room at Principal Financial Group in Des Moines. Companies in Iowa are using perks and benefits in an effort to retain workers.

    By JOHN LELAND
    Published: May 31, 2008
    DES MOINES — On a recent evening here, Greg Tew, 28, considered the question: What is it like to work in a state that is creating more jobs than workers? He was sitting in the lobby of a new hotel in downtown Des Moines, part of an extensive redevelopment investment to attract workers to Iowa.
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    Lynn L. Walters for The New York Times
    Workers like Stacy Berenguel and Greg Tew, left, now linger after hours.



    “It is noticeable,” Mr. Tew, a computer programmer at EMC Insurance Companies, said of the jobs surplus. “You’re a hot commodity. Salaries go up just because companies are fighting to retain the talent they have.”
    His friend Stacy Berenguel, 28, a financial advisor at Citi Smith Barney, said that while she was very conscious of talk of a national recession, some of her friends in Iowa were switching jobs over company amenities, like fitness centers. “Even when I’ve had friends laid off, they had no problem finding jobs,” she said. “So I’m willing to take financial risks, like splurging. Last weekend I went to Chicago and shopped for clothes and shoes. It was great. There were sales everywhere.”
    Are these the voices of a nation looking at recession?
    As rising unemployment and layoffs beset workers around the country, Iowa faces a different problem: a surplus of jobs. Or to put it another way: a shortage of workers. A survey of companies by Iowa Workforce Development, a state agency, found as many as 48,000 job vacancies, in industries including financial services — Des Moines trails only Hartford as the nation’s insurance capital — health care and skilled manufacturing. One estimate projects the job surplus to reach 198,000 by 2014, with vacancies increasingly in professional positions. Greater Des Moines alone faces a shortfall of 60,000 workers in the next decade.
    The state provides a small, advance view of what some economists predict will be a broader shortage of skilled workers in the next 20 or 30 years, as tens of millions of baby boomers retire from the workplace, and the economy produces more new jobs than workers. Potential consequences include slower economic growth and competitiveness, as well as higher wages for skilled workers and greater inequality.
    Estimates of the national shortage run as high as 14 million skilled workers by 2020, according to widely cited projections by the labor economists Anthony P. Carnevale and Donna M. Desrochers.
    But other economists believe the number will be lower, as the labor market adjusts to changes in the economy and advancements in technology. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics does not make projections about a labor shortage, but such estimates are often hotly contested because they are often used to support positions on immigration policy.
    Iowa’s surplus arises from colliding trends: the exodus of young college graduates, a state economy that adds 2,000 jobs a month, low immigration and birth rates, and an image problem that makes it difficult to recruit workers from out of state. Iowans’ median age is nearly two years above the national figure, and the state is near the top in the rates of women in the workforce and workers with multiple jobs — further shrinking the pool of people who might be drawn into the market.
    “It’s really a perfect storm,” said Elisabeth Buck, director of Iowa Workforce Development. Over the next decade, more than 70,000 workers a year will become eligible for retirement, with school enrollment — potential replacement workers — dropping by 20,000 since 1998, while the nationwide housing crisis makes it harder for companies to recruit from out of state, because potential employees cannot sell their homes.
    Last year, the state added nearly 13,000 nonfarm jobs, in part because of growth in ethanol and wind energy, and lost 3,300 people from the workforce. With statewide unemployment at 3.5 percent, compared to a national rate of 5 percent, nearly everyone who wants to work and can work has a job. “We’re looking for ways to grow our population,” Ms. Buck said.
    For workers like Brando Guerrero, 25, a sales analyst at Nationwide Insurance in Des Moines, the jobs shortage means companies “have to sell themselves to potential employees, because there are so many opportunities here.”
    “Do they have a free gym, dry cleaning, Starbucks on site?” he said. “What are they doing to make the community better? And once you’re there, companies know they have to promote you to keep you. We’re a little spoiled in our opportunities here.”
    But for the state economy, a worker shortage can slow growth, said Benjamin Allen, president of the University of Northern Iowa. “It’s a much better problem to have than high unemployment,” he said. “But if companies think they can’t find a workforce here, it might deter them from coming out or expanding.”


    More -follow link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/31/us...html?th&emc=th


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  2. #2
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    Re: Hope for Iowa Jobs

    I'd rather see them take away the video arcade and just give me a bigger raise. I've been in there twice.



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    Re: Hope for Iowa Jobs

    Hopefully, they're still adding jobs when I get back next year.

    And dmclone, you are going to hell for making me stare at your avatar...


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    Re: Hope for Iowa Jobs

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
    And dmclone, you are going to hell for making me stare at your avatar...

    True dat!!! Productivity goes down the crapper when I go check out CF and find a post by dmclone. Yowzza



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    Re: Hope for Iowa Jobs

    I work for Principal but I'm not downtown so I can't play Phooseball. Probably why I'm on here all day.


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    Re: Hope for Iowa Jobs

    Quote Originally Posted by CyGuy33 View Post
    I work for Principal but I'm not downtown so I can't play Phooseball. Probably why I'm on here all day.
    "Phooseball, is the DEVIL!!!"


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    Re: Hope for Iowa Jobs

    Now if the jobs in Iowa paid well things would be great. Anybody have a stat that shows what the actual earnings are when you take into account taxes and the like? I thought I heard somewhere that Iowa ranks pretty low in the nation because of taxes.

    I always hear that the cost of living in Iowa is so much cheaper then everywhere else. I agree to an extent but salaries change based on location too. I work at a very large company in Des Moines and there are 5 different area salary ranges listed for each job.



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    Re: Hope for Iowa Jobs

    #24 in Median household income

    This means very little to me. You have to ask questions like this:

    What does someone doing my EXACT same job make in another state. Then ask yourself how their expenses are different. Just a few things to factor in:

    How are taxes in the other state?
    How are housing costs? Renting?
    How are transportation costs?
    Will you have to send kids to private school?
    Insurance costs?



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    Re: Hope for Iowa Jobs

    One of my problems with the Iowa "Job Market" (a misnomer, obtw) is that it is tougher than just about anywhere else to get anything except "little square box" jobs.

    If you, as a job-seeker, don't fit, exactly in the "little square box" that their HR tells them their employees should fit in, apparently companies would rather have the job go unfilled, than hire someone who has a slightly different skill-set. Or diverse life experiences.

    Let me use my own example: I am a technical writer. I love technical writing. I'm extremely mechanically inclined, and I think I have a good "hand" at writing. Even better, I am NOT a frustrated novellist. I don't have aspersions to "greater things". I am just a really, really good technical writer. But I do not have a B.A. or better, in English. My B.A. in History or my M.A. in International Relations just doesn't measure up to that awesome English major.

    BTW - How does a B.A. in English prepare you to write Operator's Manuals, or Maintenance Manuals, or Technical Instructions for anything??? Or even better, how does an English major translate the technical jargon of the engineer or mechanic???

    Even funnier, I've had someone "flush" me for not having experience in operating "XYZ" publishing program. Dude, I could MASTER that thing in a long afternoon. I don't need 5 years of experience using a computer program to make it work.

    Ironically, I have several standing job offers from employers who would put me to work tomorrow, but they are out of state, and I want to live in Iowa.

    But that's just been my experience, when looking for jobs in the Iowa Market since 1990.

    P.S. - I've had some sniffs from my current company, intimating I may be to "telecommute" from Iowa at my current job, here.


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    Re: Hope for Iowa Jobs

    I would love to return and work in Iowa, but I would have to take a 20% cut in pay to do it. This is factoring cost of living. The same job in Iowa simply doesn't pay as it does in neighboring states, especially Mn, Ill. and WI. And I'm not talking about the Twin Cites, Chicago or Milwaukee.


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  11. #11
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    Re: Hope for Iowa Jobs

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
    One of my problems with the Iowa "Job Market" (a misnomer, obtw) is that it is tougher than just about anywhere else to get anything except "little square box" jobs.

    If you, as a job-seeker, don't fit, exactly in the "little square box" that their HR tells them their employees should fit in, apparently companies would rather have the job go unfilled, than hire someone who has a slightly different skill-set. Or diverse life experiences.

    Let me use my own example: I am a technical writer. I love technical writing. I'm extremely mechanically inclined, and I think I have a good "hand" at writing. Even better, I am NOT a frustrated novellist. I don't have aspersions to "greater things". I am just a really, really good technical writer. But I do not have a B.A. or better, in English. My B.A. in History or my M.A. in International Relations just doesn't measure up to that awesome English major.

    BTW - How does a B.A. in English prepare you to write Operator's Manuals, or Maintenance Manuals, or Technical Instructions for anything??? Or even better, how does an English major translate the technical jargon of the engineer or mechanic???

    Even funnier, I've had someone "flush" me for not having experience in operating "XYZ" publishing program. Dude, I could MASTER that thing in a long afternoon. I don't need 5 years of experience using a computer program to make it work.

    Ironically, I have several standing job offers from employers who would put me to work tomorrow, but they are out of state, and I want to live in Iowa.

    But that's just been my experience, when looking for jobs in the Iowa Market since 1990.

    P.S. - I've had some sniffs from my current company, intimating I may be to "telecommute" from Iowa at my current job, here.

    I agree, I have a sports management degree, which in Iowa opens very few doors and it's hard to get looks from companies who NEED a Business Degree or something along those lines. They would readily take a recent grad with no experience over someone who has worked in different areas and has some work experience to speak of.


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    Re: Hope for Iowa Jobs

    What are these jobs in Iowa (or Des Moines)??? Seriously? The only jobs I ever see are for the insurance companies or for Wells Fargo. For me thats not my thing. Especially when it seems that WF and the insurance groups do best getting kids out of college starting them in low salaries. Iowa doesn't really have a very diverse work base. It seemed to be very tough in eastern Iowa when I lived there as well.

    Maybe I wrong JMO



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    Re: Hope for Iowa Jobs

    Quote Originally Posted by 4429 mcc View Post
    What are these jobs in Iowa (or Des Moines)??? Seriously? The only jobs I ever see are for the insurance companies or for Wells Fargo. For me thats not my thing. Especially when it seems that WF and the insurance groups do best getting kids out of college starting them in low salaries. Iowa doesn't really have a very diverse work base. It seemed to be very tough in eastern Iowa when I lived there as well.

    Maybe I wrong JMO
    You're right, it is tough to find a position outside of Principal or WF because they are major players and their aren't alot of other companies that are as large with as many openings.

    Compare the Fortune 500 companies in Iowa (1 Principal) to lets say Minnesota (19). For a lot of people finding a job in a major company is easy, its the smaller companies that may be a great fit but you have no idea exsist that make it difficult for me to find an exact fit.


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    Re: Hope for Iowa Jobs

    Quote Originally Posted by 4429 mcc View Post
    What are these jobs in Iowa (or Des Moines)??? Seriously? The only jobs I ever see are for the insurance companies or for Wells Fargo. For me thats not my thing. Especially when it seems that WF and the insurance groups do best getting kids out of college starting them in low salaries. Iowa doesn't really have a very diverse work base. It seemed to be very tough in eastern Iowa when I lived there as well.

    Maybe I wrong JMO
    I think you're right. There are many, many, many more graduates from the Universities and colleges in Iowa then their are professional jobs available. Its always been that way. Iowa can't possibly be lacking in skilled workers. If they want employees with more experience, instead of entry-level, then they are going to have to woo the experienced graduates who have been leaving the state since forever with much better opportunities (and money), which I don't think that really exists because there isn't that much business.



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    Re: Hope for Iowa Jobs

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
    One of my problems with the Iowa "Job Market" (a misnomer, obtw) is that it is tougher than just about anywhere else to get anything except "little square box" jobs.

    If you, as a job-seeker, don't fit, exactly in the "little square box" that their HR tells them their employees should fit in, apparently companies would rather have the job go unfilled, than hire someone who has a slightly different skill-set. Or diverse life experiences.

    Let me use my own example: I am a technical writer. I love technical writing. I'm extremely mechanically inclined, and I think I have a good "hand" at writing. Even better, I am NOT a frustrated novellist. I don't have aspersions to "greater things". I am just a really, really good technical writer. But I do not have a B.A. or better, in English. My B.A. in History or my M.A. in International Relations just doesn't measure up to that awesome English major.

    BTW - How does a B.A. in English prepare you to write Operator's Manuals, or Maintenance Manuals, or Technical Instructions for anything??? Or even better, how does an English major translate the technical jargon of the engineer or mechanic???

    Even funnier, I've had someone "flush" me for not having experience in operating "XYZ" publishing program. Dude, I could MASTER that thing in a long afternoon. I don't need 5 years of experience using a computer program to make it work.

    Ironically, I have several standing job offers from employers who would put me to work tomorrow, but they are out of state, and I want to live in Iowa.

    But that's just been my experience, when looking for jobs in the Iowa Market since 1990.

    P.S. - I've had some sniffs from my current company, intimating I may be to "telecommute" from Iowa at my current job, here.
    I am a technical writer as well, and I had a devil of a time looking for anything in Iowa. There is zero market in Iowa for new grad tech writers with no experience outside college internships and the like. The Cedar Rapids area has several companies looking for tech writers but, as you said, they all want someone who fits in their little box. That includes someone with lots of mechanical and even aviation experience.

    I work for a software group and I have a lot of that desktop publishing software experience you mentioned, but there isn't any need for a software technical writer in Iowa. I am pretty certain that job doesn't even exist in Iowa.



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