Category Archives: Employment

O’Hare – The Chicago Neighborhood That’s Great for Business

When deciding on Chicago as one’s home, a number of considerations must be addressed. One of the most important ones for individuals aged 20-70 is business opportunities.  Being one of America’s largest cities however means that there are many options within its borders.  In this article we take a look at the O’Hare area – the location of the International Airport.

There are a lot of opportunities here for businesses and therefore employment vacancies are often high.  Why is O’Hare so popular for companies?  For those combining both urban and suburban employee sets, it makes sense.  Some of the firms that have recently moved into the area are U.S. Cellular and GlenStar, for this reason.  As a result, building proprietors are also working on enhanced contracts and facilities for their tenants.

It’s a good area also due to public transit access and having a Chicago address is always welcome.  But at the same time – given its location on the edge of the suburbs while being right by the country’s most active airports – makes for a great combination.  Transportation access gives businesses an upper hand vis-à-vis talent recruitment for corporations. And for those professionals who have to travel internationally on a regular basis, what could be better than being right by the airport?

Advancing Job Creation

A laboratory is being created to teach students how to become nurses without all the expenses. Funding for this nursing simulation laboratory is being provided by the government at Chicago State University.  According to J. B. Pritzker, the Democratic Governor who announced the $2.5 million funding:

“That state-of-the-art facility will train thousands of students for jobs in one of the fastest growing industries, and that’s the medical profession, at a crucial moment,” Illinois faces a nursing shortage across a number of specialties.”

As well as being ranked number one of the Midwest pharmacy institutions in the education of minority students by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, according to President Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott, it is the only widely-black institution.  Students are made up of: 70 percent African American and 10 percent Latinx.  In addition there are 69 percent women; 61 percent are first generation college students.

Further, for students who study there, there will be a substantially greater pay scale and opportunity, helping students at the university feel a sense of pride.

In other city-enhancement news, the Chicago Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program has just been launched.  In an attempt to facilitate the capacity of property owners to move over to clean energy, PACE is offering low-cost financing for such work to be undertaken in new and existing buildings.  Those wanting to install green roofs, solar panels and other water/energy saving devices will have an easier financial time doing so thanks to PACE.  This loan is only paid back through a special assessment which is automatically added to future tax bills in each property building.

The Fair Workweek

A bill was unanimously approved recently by Chicago’s City Council that will force employers of large firms in the state to give at least two weeks’ notice of schedules to their employees.  When last minute changes occur, they will have to be compensated.  However, the rule will only apply to workers who earn $26 or less per week.

The “fair workweek” has actually been in developmental stages for over two years in eight industries.  Should this become law, it will be an unprecedented move in America.

It could be particularly challenging however, for those in the medical and healthcare sectors.  Initially, the Illinois Health and Hospital Association put forward an opposition but after efforts were made on both sides for a compromise solution, this was withdrawn.

Chicago, IL and Minimum Wage: It’s Just Geography

Workers in Chicago – or those moving to the city – will be pleased to know that minimum wage is far from minimum.  While the state of Illinois has been stuck at $8.25 for the last 9 years, this year Chicago pushed its minimum wage up to $13! 

So how is this fact affecting the rest of the state of Illinois?  It seems it does not want to bow to pressure.  according to CEO and President of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, Rob Karr, Illinois should not be dictated to by Chicago.  At a recent meeting held by the Senate Labor Committee, Karr said:


“It’s something we all need to look at when we’re talking about … the economic diversity of this state and the fact that, the suburbs and downstate simply don’t enjoy the same economics [as Chicago].”

The argument that raising the minimum wage leads to less employment opportunities has largely been disproved, particularly within Chicago.  With the raise of the minimum wage in Chicago (a hike of 40 percent) unemployment in the windy city actually reached an all-time low of 3.6 percent!  indeed, in 2018 Chicago’s drop in unemployment was the highest out of America’s largest 10 cities.  Plus, an additional 72,000 jobs arrived in Chicago, causing it to have more jobs per capita than in the last 50 years.

Ford put a billion dollar investment into Chicago last week adding 500 manufacturing jobs while North Point also announced the creation of 1,300 new jobs. 

Raising the minimum wage is important.  Chicago has shown that it works too.

Working Moms

The Mom Project

Women can find it challenging to get back into the workforce after they have had children.  It was found that 34 percent choose not to return to their jobs.  An endeavor in Chicago is now aiming to fix that issue.  The Mom Project – a Chicago-based startup – is trying to reduce that figure by bringing moms to employers looking to hire who understand and appreciate the value a mom can bring to their firm and who will work with them to alleviate mom-based pressures. 

The startup is currently working with 75,000 women in this position. To date, they have gotten 1,000 companies internationally to see if they can make a fit with moms returning to the workforce.  The mission of the project is: “helping women remain active in the workforce in every stage in their journey.”

Some of the companies the project works with include: JLL, Sapient Razorfish, Georgia-Pacific, Miller-Coors and more.

Chicago: Adding Jobs

When a region creates more jobs, it is pretty much great news for everyone.  Last month, the ADP Regional Employment Report  recorded an additional 5,700 new positions in the private sector. And for those in Chicago still seeking employment, there is good news too; a new law has forbidden potential employers from asking job applicants to reveal their salary history in an increasing attempt around the country to create gender equal salaries.

The additional jobs in Illinois saw the most in Chicago but the state as a whole added a staggering 41,000 jobs in 2017.  Over half of these though were in Chicago – nearly 24,000.

And with this, the executive order to mark Equal Pay Day was signed by the Chicago Mayor.  This shows how far into the year women have to work – on average – to earn as much as their male counterparts did the previous year! This comes at a time when lawmakers in the region are looking at two different pieces of legislation that are seeking to close the wage gap.

Workers Compensation

Rep. Laura Fine, D-Glenview just proposed a Bill (H.B. 4595) for the establishment of an (Illinois) state-sponsored insurance company.  If it becomes law, it would result in the creation of the non-profit Illinois Employers Mutual Insurance Co. providing local workers compensation in situations in which companies where they work cannot afford to do so.  The Illinois Workers Compensation Commission Operations Fund would provide a $10 million loan to get this going.

While this seems necessary, last year, Gov. Bruce Rauner – also of Illinois – attempted H.B. 2622 which was vetoed.  Indeed, a recent study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found that Illinois mine workers who are the victims of injuries and illnesses are less likely to report these to tracking federal agencies

Chicago 2017: A Review of Company Culture

Energage just published results for this year’s ranking of Best Workplaces in the Chicago area.  Using employee surveys as well as assessments of work-life balance, company leadership and more, Baird & Warner took top place. According to Energage’s CEO Doug Claffey: “Our mission is making the world a better place to work together. With the Energage platform, companies finally have a way to turn the potential of engagement into real action.”

And then there are collaborative efforts that occur within companies. For example, design and development company Adage Technologies recently started using the Scrum methodology (used in software development projects) to make collaboration go faster.  But, to ensure staff satisfaction is not lost the process, regular meetings for employees are held in which they can discuss their thoughts on how to move forward.  And Cars.com has been working toward tech team restructuring in order to cultivate more cross-functional collaboration which has worked well for company culture, increasing deployment rates in the team.

Other companies are focusing on getting healthy within the workplace: SPINS (a consumer insights and data analytics company) has an in-office gym featuring meditation, cooking demos and volunteer opportunities. And then Dose provides its employees with fitness initiatives resulting in greater staff cohesion and more.

All Chicagoan firms should take a look at what is making these (and others on the list) stand out from the rest in an attempt to bolster their own rankings on employee culture.