20 May

Did You Know? Unauthorized Immigrants in the U.S.

Blog, Did you know? No Comments by Mary-Frances Winters

It is estimated that there are 11.2 million (3.7% of the population) unauthorized immigrants living in the United States. This number is unchanged from 2009 and a decline from 2007 of 12 million; the first significant decline in a two decade pattern of growth. [2010 data]

There are 8 million unauthorized immigrants in the workforce also showing a decline since 2007, representing 5.2% of the labor force. [March 2010]

The number of children born to at least one unauthorized-immigrant parent in 2009 was 350,000.  Births to unauthorized immigrant parents accounted for 8% of newborns from March 2009 to March 2010.

Year of entry of unauthorized-immigrant parents:

  • 61% arrived before 2004
  • 30% arrived from 2004 to 2007
  • 9% arrived from 2008 to 2010

Source: Pew Research

19 May

Tips for Women Seeking Raises

Articles, Blog No Comments by Caroline Rash

Though National Public Radio recently reported that women in general are more qualified than ever, professional women often still struggle to ask for pay raises. And studies have found that women earn 12% less than men in comparable positions.

When asking for a raise, women may lack confidence, find discussing finances distasteful, or believe that asking for a raise is futile as their company maneuvers through the economic downturn. However, an economic crisis is also a time in which you need to look after your own career, according to executive coach Gill Corkindale. With the appropriate pitch and attitude, you can still get the pay raise you want.

The approach

  • Assess the company’s health. If the company has problems, are they short-term or long-term? Is this an appropriate moment to ask for a raise?
  • Schedule the meeting after you have completed a project successfully.
  • Clearly specify the meeting’s purpose and do not get off topic.
  • Approach the meeting when you feel level-headed. Remain positive and do not issue ultimatums.

Why do you deserve a raise?

Do your research and rate your market value honestly. Ask yourself:

  • What are salaries for comparable jobs and responsibilities inside and outside of the company?
  • What are the facts and figures that demonstrate your accomplishments?
  • When have you received positive feedback?
  • What challenges have you overcome?

You should arrive at the meeting armed with specific numbers and a realistic goal. If your boss has to argue your case to his boss, you need to make it as easy as possible.

What will you accept?

For negotiations, you start with a figure that is aggressive yet realistic. In your own mind, you know what final number is acceptable based on your research and your personal financial goals. A study by Carnegie Mellon University found that 57% of men negotiated their starting salary, but only 7% of women negotiated their starting salary. Although it may be intimidating, it could be the push to equalize salaries among men and women in comaparable positions. Then, if you and your boss agree to a raise, ensure that you have it in writing by a particular date.

However, it might help to be flexible. Will you accept a bonus, extra benefits, a car, or flexible work hours? If what you really want is a more flexible schedule, you can start off by negotiating a higher salary, and if your boss seems amenable to the idea, propose instead that you keep your old salary with fewer hours.

What if you are turned down?

Figure out if your performance, company policy or the company’s current financial state is the primary influence on your boss’s decision. With this information, you can decide whether staying, changing positions, or leaving the company is in your best interest. If you decide to stay on, try to remain positive and amplify your profile by networking in all levels and departments of your company.

18 May

The Immigration Issue: How it affects your workplace

Articles, Blog 1 Comment by Rebecca Wilhoit

After nearly two and a half years of trying to address a shaky economy and handling the War on Terror, President Barack Obama is finally finding the time to tackle the issue of immigration. In a May 10th speech in El Paso, he proclaimed that taking the time to truly deal with undocumented immigrants by offering some paths to citizenship could actually help American businesses become more competitive in the global economy. The President believes that this will also help incomes for middle class families to start rising again.

The President cited companies like Google, Yahoo, and eBay as proof that immigrant workers do far more than common stereotypes could ever evidence. By keeping that talent in the United States, Obama says, we stand to gain a benefit that might otherwise go to another country.

One such example of how reform could have a hugely positive impact on American workplaces is the DREAM Act – an acronym for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors – which would offer students who immigrated to the United States as minors a path to citizenship. But one far less publicized bonus of the DREAM Act is the fact that it would help strengthen American corporations with newly educated and ready-to-work talent, and also would help fortify the U.S. military. And that doesn’t even begin to approach the tax revenue that could be gained.

Ultimately, immigration legislation has a laborious road ahead of it, but it holds incredible promise for American corporations.

“Today we provide students from around the world with visas to get engineering and computer science degrees at top universities,” Obama said in his speech. “But our laws discourage them from using those skills to start a business or power a new industry right here in the United States.”

And despite rampant opposition that claim illegal immigrants steal American jobs, experts like Madeleine Sumption of the Migration Policy Institute say that immigrant populations (whether they are documented or not) do not take American jobs.

“They often create the jobs they work in,” Sumption says. “They buy things, and they make the economy bigger.”

In a new study by Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute, further claims support the idea that immigration populations actually benefit the American-born worker.

“There is broad agreement…that it has a small but positive impact on the wages of native-born workers overall,” Shierholz says. “Although new immigrant workers add to the labor supply, they also consume goods and services, which creates more jobs.”

Furthermore, Shierholz says, American workers benefit even as immigrant working populations miss out on such benefits. Between 1994 and 2007, Shierholz estimated the effect of immigration actually raised the wages of native-born workers by 0.4%, compared to foreign-born workers, who actually saw a decline of 4.6% in their wages.

Only time will tell how any immigration reform fares on Capitol Hill, but President Obama’s speech has already outlined some key focus points of how immigrant populations can bring strength and stability not only to the American economy, but to workplaces across the nation.