Human Resource Conference Prepares Employers for Future Pay Equity Audits
By Ken Alan, Freelance Writer for IEBJ
“Pay transparency will transform how companies manage their compensation program,” observed Juan P. Garcia, principal at Blue Whale Compensation, LLC. New pay scale disclosure and data reporting requirements were the main topics at the 2023 Inland Empire Human Resources Conference. On Tuesday, February 7th, Garcia and other presenters urged the sold-out crowd of over 250 HR professionals to ramp up for these new regulations well in advance of future state compliance audits.
As of January 1, 2023, employers with at least 15 workers must include pay ranges in job postings. While that would seem to let smaller employers off the hook, conference speakers felt they would be at a competitive disadvantage if they failed to disclose pay.
It’s been 65 years since the Automobile Information Disclosure Act, more commonly known as the Monroney window sticker, required car dealers to reveal equipment and pricing information on new automobiles. Over the years, similar disclosures and protections were put in place for home buyers. Still, it wasn’t until 2019 when Colorado became the first state to put wages in the spotlight — arguably our most significant personal finance decision. California now follows Colorado, New York City, and Washington State in mandating pay transparency disclosures.
The law requires companies to post “the salary or hourly wage range that the employer reasonably expects to pay for the position.” Still, recruiting experts SB Sheryl Moore, COO and Vilma Brager, senior partner at Insight HR Consulting LLC, cautioned employers against posting narrow ranges as a means to discourage candidates from asking for the top salary.
Garcia said, “Companies are basing compensation on market conditions rather than the ‘similar work rule,’ which makes them uncompetitive.”
Once a pay range has been published, employers will need a good reason to extend pay beyond those boundaries, according to Allyson K. Thompson, partner and attorney at Kaufman Dolowhich Voluck. Employers encountering these conundrums should consult with legal counsel.
Recruitment and retention challenges were also highlights of the presentations. Brager & Moore urged employers to think beyond the traditional job posting websites and to leverage strategies like employee referral bonuses. They advocated using behavioral interviewing and leadership assessment testing, such as the Myers-Briggs “personality inventory.”
The COVID-19 pandemic gave workers a chance to experience the benefits of remote work, and now getting them to return to the office remains a critical recruitment and retention challenges. “The workforce was able to work and get things accomplished in 2020 and now that employers are pulling them back into the (office,) they’re saying, ‘why do I need to do that?’ said Moore. “There’s so much stress in (commuting), and they’re saying, ‘I got so much more work done with a flexible schedule.’”
Moore confirmed that many employers make the mistake of posting a job as “remote,” when they really mean, “hybrid.” “When I see ‘remote,’ I think it means working from home 100 percent of the time,” she said.
Brager & Moore offered several ideas for employee retention, including onboarding with on-the-job training and a 30- and 60-day check-in with the manager. They suggested employers consider mid-year performance reviews rather than just annual reviews. Town Hall meetings with the CEO were also recommended to enhance employee engagement.
Respecting employee privacy was another recurring theme. Speakers broadly advocated keeping interviews focused on the skills and responsibilities required for the job while avoiding questions that intrude into off-work activities. New California labor laws protect reproductive health decisions and off-the-job use of cannabis. Employers cannot ask for specifics about personal health issues when employees ask to take sick leave, but they can ask for a doctor’s note. Expanded bereavement leave limits what personal information employers can request.
Conference attendees were particularly interested in the rapidly evolving changes in coronavirus-related labor laws. “Cal/OSHA, not the California Department of Health, is your reference point for health & safety data,” said Thompson, who offered a roadmap to COVID compliance information starting at www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/coronavirus. “From there, visit your city, county and state health department websites, then go to the CDC,” she said, adding that California supplemental paid leave concluded on December 31, 2022.
Copies of the PowerPoint slide decks are available to attendees by contacting the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce at email@example.com. The 2023 Inland Empire Human Resources Conference was organized and produced by the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by San Bernardino County, Insight HR Consulting, Maniaci Insurance Services, Inc., Paycor, Vestwell, Now CFO, and Strategic Retirement Partners.
California Employment Gains Pick Up in the Latest Numbers
Hollywood Strike Effects: Job Sector That Houses Motion Picture and Sound Recording Sees Largest Decline
California’s labor market grew modestly in the latest numbers, with total nonfarm employment in the state expanding by 23,100 positions in August, according to an analysis released today by Beacon Economics. July’s gains were revised down to 8,900, a 19,000 decrease from the preliminary estimate of 27,900.
“It was a bit of mixed bag during August, with the largest regions in California both gaining and shedding jobs,” said Taner Osman, Research Manager at Beacon Economics. “However, following a couple of slower months, employment gains did pick up, which sets the state up nicely as we enter a seasonally strong part of the year.”
As of August 2023, California has recovered all of the jobs that were lost in March and April 2020 due to the pandemic. There are now 447,600 more people employed in the state compared to February 2020. Total nonfarm employment has grown 2.5% since that time compared to a 2.7% increase nationally. From August 2022 to August 2023, California increased payrolls by 1.9%, trailing the 2.0% increase nationally over the same period.
The state’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.6% in August 2023. California’s unemployment rate is elevated relative to the 3.8% rate in the United States overall. The state is continuing to struggle with its labor supply, which fell by 18,000 in August, a decrease of 0.1% on a month-over-month basis. Since February 2020, the state’s labor force has fallen by 197,500 workers, a 1.0% decline.
- At the industry level, job gains were mixed. The Health Care sector led the way with payrolls expanding by 11,400, an increase of 0.4% on a month-over-month basis. With these gains Health Care payrolls are now 9.0% above their pre-pandemic peak.
- Government was the next best performing sector, adding 5,200 jobs, a month-over-month increase of 0.2%. With these gains, Government payrolls are now just 1.2%, or 32,500 jobs, below their pre-pandemic peak.
- Other sectors posting strong gains during the month were Construction (4,700 or 0.5%), Administrative Support (3,800 or 0.3%), Other Services (3,800 or 0.6%), Leisure and Hospitality (2,800 or 0.1%), Education (2,600 or 0.6%), Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities (1,400 or 0.2%), and Manufacturing (1,300 or 0.1%).
- Payrolls decreased in only a handful of sectors in August. Information saw the largest declines with payrolls falling by 9,000, a drop of 1.5% on a month-over-month basis. This decline was driven by the ongoing strikes in Motion Picture and Sound Recording, which has shed 15,200 positions over the last year, a 9.0% decline. Other sectors posting declines during the month were Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
(-3,800 or -0.3%), Wholesale Trade (-1,100 or -0.2%), and Finance and Insurance (-800 or -0.1%).
- Regionally, job gains were led by the San Francisco Bay Area. The East Bay experienced the largest increase, with payrolls expanding by 2,700 (0.2%) positions in August. Santa Rosa (700 or 0.3%), San Rafael (MD) (200 or 0.2%), Vallejo (200 or 0.1%), and Napa (100 or 0.1%) also saw payrolls expand during the month. On the other hand, San Francisco (MD) (-1,200 or -0.1%) and San Jose (-500) experienced payroll declines. Over the past 12 months, the East Bay (2.5%) and Napa (2.5%) saw the fastest job growth in the region, followed by San Francisco (MD) (2.4%), San Rafael (MD) (2.3%), Santa Rosa (2.2%), San Jose (2.0%), and Vallejo (1.8%).
- In Southern California, Orange County saw the largest increase, where payrolls grew by 7,100 (0.4%) during the month. San Diego (2,800 or 0.2%) and the Inland Empire (2,400 or 0.1%), also saw their payrolls jump. On the other hand, Los Angeles (MD) (-10,300 or -0.2%) and Ventura (-200 or -0.1%) experienced payroll declines during the month. Over the past year, San Diego (2.0%), Orange County (2.0%), and Los Angeles (MD) (2.0%) have enjoyed the fastest job growth in the region, followed by Ventura (1.6%), El Centro (1.2%), and the Inland Empire (0.6%).
- In the Central Valley, Sacramento experienced the largest monthly increase as payrolls expanded by 2,700 (0.2%) positions in August. Payrolls in Fresno (1,100 or 0.3%), Stockton (800 or 0.3%), Hanford (400 or 0.9%), Redding (300 or 0.4%), Chico (200 or 0.3%), and Yuba (200 or 0.4%) also saw their payrolls jump. On the other hand, Bakersfield (-2,100 or -0.7%), Visalia (-900 or -0.6%), Merced (-500 or -0.7%), and Modesto (-200 or -0.1%) had payrolls fall during the month. Over the past year, Hanford (38%) enjoyed the fastest growth, followed by Yuba (3.7%), Sacramento (2.4%), Redding (2.0%), Fresno (1.9%), Merced (1.8%), Chico (1.7%), Stockton (1.4%), Madera (1.4%), Visalia (1.0%), Bakersfield (0.7%), and Modesto (-1.1%).
- On California’s Central Coast, Salinas (1,000 or 0.7%) added the largest number of jobs. Santa Cruz (100 or 0.1%) also saw payrolls increase during the month. On the other hand, Santa Barbara (-1,000 or -0.5%) saw payrolls fall during the month. From August 2022 to August 2023, Salinas (4.7%) has added jobs at the fastest rate, followed by San Luis Obispo (3.8%), Santa Barbara (2.9%), and Santa Cruz (2.0%).
Colton Resident Receives Free College Tuition and Books Through Walmart’s Education Program
By Saul Martinez, Contributing Writer for IEBJ
This year marks the five-year anniversary of Walmart’s Live Better U (LBU) education program. Over the past five years, the company has saved associates across the country nearly half a billion in education costs, reflecting the company’s commitment to creating a path for everyone to learn and grow. In California, we’ve seen 5,620 Walmart and Sam’s Club associates participate in Live Better U over the past five years.
One such success story is Robert Gay, who lives in Colton, CA, and earned his college degree – fully paid for by Walmart. Robert was stuck in a stagnant position at his previous company, hindered by the absence of a degree that prevented him from advancing further. However, upon discovering the Live Better U benefits offered by Walmart, he decided to take a leap of faith and join their team with the intention of completing his degree. After successfully graduating with a bachelor’s degree in October 2020, he now takes immense pride in his accomplishment of accepting a promotion to associate general manager. Throughout his journey, Robert received overwhelming support from his local team, who not only empathized with his workload challenges but also aided when needed.
Most individuals typically encounter Walmart through its retail outlets. The Inland Empire Business Journal had the opportunity to explore a consolidation center of Walmart situated in Colton, California. Our visit left us deeply impressed by the remarkable cleanliness and impeccable condition of the facility, almost reminiscent of a high-end showroom.
While on the tour, we observed the diligent measures taken by the leadership to maintain employee motivation and awareness regarding the daily, weekly, and monthly performance Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the facility. These KPIs were prominently displayed on digital monitors throughout the premises. The Colton leadership created a mascot and call their team the Colton Eagles.
We found ourselves deeply impressed by this aspect of Walmart, which is often hidden from public view. Walmart unquestionably stands out as a company that not only offers excellent career opportunities but also boasts a remarkable 100% tuition reimbursement program. If you are seeking a career in the Inland Empire, this proves to be an exceptional workplace choice.
Whether someone is chasing their first job or the opportunity that will define their career, Walmart is committed to creating pathways of opportunity for everyone.
Entertainment Industry Strikes: Job Numbers in Los Angeles Take a Hit
State Labor Force Bumps Up… Finally
California’s labor market grew only modestly in June (the latest numbers), with total nonfarm employment in the state expanding by 11,600 positions, according to an analysis released today by Beacon Economics. May’s gains were also revised down to 38,200, a 9,100 decrease from the preliminary estimate of 47,300.
“Job growth has slowed in the state over the past couple of months,” said Taner Osman, Research Manager at Beacon Economics. “This month’s job losses in Los Angeles are also noteworthy, following the strikes that are now occurring in the entertainment industry. As the largest labor market in the state, the strikes, which primarily affect the Los Angeles area, could act as a drag on state employment in the coming months.”
As of June 2023, California has recovered all of the jobs that were lost in March and April 2020, and there are now 417,300 more people employed in California compared to pre-pandemic February 2020. Total nonfarm employment in the state has grown 2.4% over this time compared to a 2.5% increase nationally. Annually, California increased payrolls by 2.2% from June 2022 to June 2023, trailing a 2.5% increase nationally.
California’s unemployment rate increased to 4.6% in June 2023, up 0.1 percentage-points from the previous month, and the state’s unemployment rate remains elevated relative to the 3.6% rate in the United States overall. California’s labor force grew by 13,600 in June, an increase of 0.1% on a month-over-month basis. Since February 2020, the state’s labor force has fallen by 157,300 workers, a 0.8% decline.
- At the industry level, gains were mixed. Leisure and Hospitality led payroll increases in June, expanding by 6,800, a jump of 0.3% on a month-over-month basis. With these gains, Leisure and Hospitality payrolls are now just 0.2%, or 5,100 jobs, below their pre-pandemic peak.
- Construction was the next best performing sector, adding 6,000 jobs, a month-over-month increase of 0.7%. Construction payrolls are now up 1.0% on a year-over-year basis.
- Other sectors posting strong gains during the month were Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (4,900 or 0.3%), Education (4,200 or 1.0%), Health Care (2,800 or 0.1%), Information (900 or 0.2%), and Finance and Insurance (300 or 0.1%).
- Payrolls decreased in only a handful of sectors in June. Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities had the largest declines in June, with payrolls falling by 4,500, a decline of 0.5% on a month-over-month basis. Other sectors posting losses during the month were Administrative Support (-4,400 or -0.4%), Retail Trade (-1,700 or -0.1%), Wholesale Trade (-1,400 or -0.2%), and Other Services (-1,100 or -0.2%).
- Regionally, job gains were led by the San Francisco Bay Area. San Jose experienced the largest increase, with payrolls expanding by 4,700 (0.4%) positions in June. San Francisco (MD) (3,100 or 0.3%), the East Bay (1,100 or 0.1%), Santa Rosa (300 or 0.1%), and Vallejo (200 or 0.1%) also saw payrolls expand during the month. Over the past 12 months, San Francisco (MD) (3.0%) has experienced the fastest job growth in the region, followed by San Jose (2.9%), Napa (2.8%), the East Bay (2.1%), Vallejo (2.1%), Santa Rosa (2.0%), and San Rafael (MD) (1.6%).
- In Southern California, San Diego saw the largest increase, where payrolls grew by 5,700 (0.4%) during the month. The Inland Empire (600 or 0.0%) and El Centro (100 or 0.1%) also saw their payrolls jump. On the other hand, Los Angeles (MD) (-3,900 or -0.1%) and Ventura (-1,400 or -.4%) experienced declining payroll during the month. Over the past year, San Diego (3.1%), Orange County (2.4%), and Los Angeles (MD) (2.3%) have enjoyed the fastest job growth in the region, followed by El Centro (2.1%) Ventura (1.7%), and the Inland Empire (0.8%).
- In the Central Valley, Sacramento experienced the largest monthly increase, as payrolls expanded by 1,100 (0.1%) positions in June. Merced (900 or 1.3%), Bakersfield (300 or 0.1%), Fresno (300 or 0.1%), Stockton (300 or 0.1%), and Madera (200 or 0.5%) also saw their payrolls jump during the month. Over the past year, Hanford (4.1%) has had the fastest growth, followed by Fresno (3.2%), Madera (2.9%), Visalia (2.8%), Sacramento (2.7%), Yuba (2.6%), Bakersfield (2.1%), Modesto (1.8%), Chico (1.7%), Stockton (1.6%), Merced (1.1%), and Redding (1.0%).
- On California’s Central Coast, Salinas (500 or 0.3%) added the largest number of jobs. Santa Barbara (200 or 0.1%) also experienced payroll increases during the month. On the other hand, payrolls declined in Santa Cruz (-500 or -0.5%) and San Luis Obispo (-200 or -0.2%). From June 2022 to June 2023, Salinas (4.0%) added jobs at the fastest rate, followed by San Luis Obispo (3.7%), Santa Barbara (3.1%), and Santa Cruz (2.8%).
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