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If you’re passionate about science but are unsure about what you want to do professionally, a career in life sciences could be a great fit for you. Whether you are a recent grad or a new college student still deciding what to major in, there are many types of careers in life sciences that you should consider.

For those still in school and who are having trouble choosing between two majors, you could be in luck, as life science careers offer a range of fields that need people who have studied multiple life science subjects. For example, if you have interests in biology and chemistry, you could major in both to give you a firm footing in the field of biochemistry. This dual major could open up other coursework and broaden your scientific knowledge, while also preparing you for post-graduate work or a specialized professional position.

You have a wide variety of majors that you can mix and match in the field of life science. Similarly, you will also be able to work in a variety of careers. Going into life science doesn’t mean that you will be stuck in a lab all day — although you certainly can work in a medical or clinical laboratory if you wish. Some career options include being a forester, a botanist or an environmental biologist, to name only a few.

As someone who is preparing to enter the job market or who is currently looking for a job, you should strongly consider the life sciences as a possible career path. You will make a difference, stay current with new industries, be involved in a supportive and mentally stimulating work environment and have a wide range of opportunities to pursue within the field.

1. Make a Difference

Do you want a job that feels like you are having an impact on the world around you? If so, then life sciences has a career path for you.

Whether you want to work as a research scientist or go into advertising for a life science company, you will provide great value to the future of humanity and the world by improving human health, conserving the environment, deepening understanding of science and exploring fundamental questions concerning our existence.

Improve Human Health

Life science has a variety of applications to human health, such as better insight into disease, the design of new medical devices and the development of therapeutics and drugs to treat health issues. Through this field, you may even come to cure a terminal disease or treat a condition that was thought to be hopeless.

If you are particularly fascinated by the ways you can positively affect human life, then you will find life science and biotechnology careers very rewarding. In 2018 alone, major breakthroughs occurred in the life sciences, including discovering an enzyme in the human gut that is 30 times more efficient than previously studied enzymes at converting blood Types A and B into Type O, along with progress in the study of Alzheimer’s and engineering synthetic T cells that can help fight infections and cancer cells.

Conserving the Environment

Along with improving our species, you may also be in a field that tries to understand our environment better. With that knowledge, governments, private companies and even individuals can assist in conservation efforts to save our planet. In this field, you will attempt to solve environmental issues that the earth is facing like pollution and climate change.

As an environmental chemist, you could study which chemicals are doing the most harm to our environment, while an environmental biologist could focus on the preservation of animals and plants. If you are a persuasive writer or interested in politics, a position as an environmental scientist could have you crafting new legislation or reform. If you’re interested in renewable energy, perhaps an environmental technology job is for you. These careers are only a few of the many environmental science careers within the broader fields of life science.

Deeper Understanding

As a researcher or academic, you can contribute to the ever-growing knowledge base that surrounds life science. Even if discoveries aren’t immediately practical to the improvement of the world, they may be one day. Besides, even “useless” studies help people understand life a little bit more, with the practice of study and academic vigor a praisable pursuit in itself.

Explore Fundamental Questions

The life sciences help to make practical changes in the world and explore purely scientific questions, and they also let human beings attempt to answer questions fundamental to our existence. How did we come to exist? What makes us up? Why do we act the way that we do? How does our planet function? The answers to these questions can be found in the life sciences, providing immeasurable value to our existence.

2. Work Closely With New Industries

The life science industry is an ever-growing field that is continuously innovating and working with other sectors to develop medical treatments and new drugs, use technology and create innovative machines. Some of the major industries that life science works with include artificial intelligence, information technology and healthcare.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

As the tech industry continues to develop, artificial intelligence (AI), plays an increasingly important role in the advancement of life sciences. In a recent survey, 44% of life science professionals state that they were either using or experimenting with deep learning and AI. Additionally, over 94% say that they expect machine learning to play a more significant role in the next two years.

This increased interest and engagement with AI is not unwarranted. Through AI, scientists can identify, diagnose and cure diseases much faster. The effectiveness of AI makes the life sciences industry much more valuable, but it also rapidly accelerates drug development and helps reduce the pharmaceutical industry’s 95% failure rate in research and development.

Along with providing faster drug development and making it easier to cure diseases, we can use AI to aid in the research and creation of products. Examples of this can be found in the ability to extract information from large amounts of research to look for blind spots where new drugs or tools are needed. Scientists are also using learning algorithms to mine data to help identify new diseases and find ways to develop more effective preclinical experiments. These are only a few of the applications of AI in the life sciences, as it offers almost countless ways to interact with it through a life science lens.

Information Technology

Along with working closely with AI, those in life science can also have broad overlap with information technology (IT). Some fields of study that combine both industries include computational biology and systems biology, which work to improve human health. The ability to store genome data, use deep learning to interpret and fine-tune various areas of study with computational models and automate time-consuming tasks are all ways that information technology influences the life sciences. With the importance of information technology on the rise, those who are interested in IT and science can find a life science IT job to have the best of both worlds.

One specific example of this multidisciplinary work can be found in systems biology, where scientists use computational methods to help solve biological challenges. With the new data types they can generate through advancements in computers, they can analyze the body like a network down to the molecular and genetic level. This sort of analysis produces more understanding of the human body and more precise medical care.

Health Care

As experts attempt to find new ways to deliver medicines to patients other than through pill form, they work closely with the health care industry and the tech industry. For example, wearable smart insulin delivery systems have made diabetes management easier. Advances like these have to rely on interdisciplinary communication between multiple industries.

Along with creating new ways to deliver medicines, those in the life science industry are working closely with the health care industry to personalize medicine for patients. Since patients may experience different effects from a disease, it’s crucial to have a variety of treatments and medication to treat their individual needs. In addition, personalizing drugs can help to reduce the adverse effects of a disease mutating, causing older drugs to be ineffective. One way scientists are making progress in this filed is through the study of the patient’s genome.

3. Excellent Work Environment

One of the best parts of pursuing a career in life sciences is that many employers, whether they be in the private or public sector, offer excellent work environments where employees can flourish.

Engaging Projects

One of the best perks of working in the life science field is the engaging work that you will be doing. Many life science companies and institutions offer the chance to help patients, research fascinating subject matter and create solutions to difficult problems. The ability to feel fulfilled from one’s work is especially prevalent in the life sciences as workers produce meaningful and, at times, life-saving treatments or products. On top of the engaging work you will do, you can also work with multiple industries, staying on top of the most advanced technologies and trends.

Good Pay and Benefits

Life science professionals generally are provided with good pay and benefits because of the important and specialized work they do. Due to professionals’ high level educational and professional backgrounds, many life science companies recognize that they should be rewarded financially. Additionally, life science recruitment and staffing agencies are always on the look for top talent and want to place professionals in companies that will match their skill set and professional goals best.

Career Opportunities

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that from 2016 to 2026, life, physical and social science employment will rise by 10%. This industry growth is faster than the average of all U.S. occupations and represents an opportunity for professional growth. Since so many different industries intersect with life sciences, employees can expand their skill set and knowledge base, making them more valuable. Recognizing the value of their employees, many life science companies have started providing growth opportunities like mentorships and training to staff members, while also making internal promotions more accessible to their workforce.

Excellent Work-Life Balance and Flexibility Options

To keep their employees happy at work, life science employers encourage a healthy work-life balance. Working from home and flexible scheduling are becoming a staple in the most effective companies.

For example, Takeda, a pharmaceutical company, has made it a goal to foster a corporate culture that makes employees feel like they can do good work without having to sacrifice their home life. Other life science companies like Incyte offer benefits including maternity and paternity leave, a free concierge service to help employees with errands or taking their dog out for a walk and covering all of an employee’s medical insurance. The fact that these companies are doing so much to better the work-life balance of their employees speaks well for the industry.

Positive Culture

At the best life science companies, a positive culture begins at the top with management ensuring that open communication and transparency is a mainstay on their teams. In addition, the collaborative nature of many of the positions helps create a culture of mutual respect, trust and intellectual stimulation.

Biocon, a biopharmaceutical company, creates a positive culture by embracing diversity. The company recognizes that human beings are not one note, and should have avenues to do their scientific work while also expressing themselves creatively. One way they foster this culture is a company-wide talent show that has an 80% employee participation rate. Companies like Biocon are setting the standard for company culture in the life science industry with others sure to follow.

4. Wide Range of Opportunities

You can work in purely academic or medical settings, but the life science industry also offers career paths in areas that you may not have considered. Below are multiple career paths available in life sciences:

Product Testing and Development

If you want a career in the scientific, preclinical side, then product testing and development may be the field for you. This side of the industry primarily works with creating drugs and developing treatments. In this type of job, you would be first developing new drugs or products and then testing them before they reach clinical trials.

The barrier to entry is relatively high in this area, as you will need a strong academic background and often an upper-level degree in a life science field like pharmacology or microbiology. Due to the technical aspects of this area, you will need to be comfortable with developing and testing drugs from the beginning.

Project Management

If you have a more strategic, broader position in mind, project management may be a great area for you. A project manager oversees the entire life cycle of a new product or drug from the initial product ideas to its development, regulatory approval and marketing processes, among other steps. In a project management role, you will be expected to keep costs within budget, the project on schedule and the new project in compliance with various rules and regulations.

Between 2010 and 2020, the life science industry is expected to have project management roles grow by 30%. As such, there may be space for those without research or scientific background in the life sciences to fill some of the open positions. Someone who knows how to handle complex projects and is comfortable with uncertainty will excel in a project management position. 

Business Development

Rather than going into a highly scientific life science position, business development could appeal to those who are more business-minded but still interested in science. These roles will typically have you maintaining relationships with customers by providing them product support and finding ways to improve the product based on their feedback. Your clientele could range from universities to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and public sector labs. It will be your responsibility to communicate to your technical and lab staff the needs of these customers, so having a background in science will significantly help.

Along with working closely with customers, you may formulate new strategies, ensure that sales targets are being met and communicate with other business-minded parties in the company about key accounts. This position will be best for you if you have strong interpersonal skills and are business-minded.

Technical Support

Another customer-oriented area of life science, technical support positions typically help customers after they have bought a product or drug. In these roles, you will likely be required to have a doctorate as well as the knowledge of lab procedures, techniques and best practices. If you have prior research experience and have developed a specialty, you may end up working with a specialized product or customer.

For technical support roles, you’ll need to have scientific know-how as well as customer service skills, problem-solving abilities and a patient demeanor. You will be even more marketable in this field if you are multi-lingual as customers will be based all over the world. As in business development roles, you will be communicating customer criticisms to the lab so they can improve the product.

Marketing

If you don’t want to be a part of the more technical or scientific parts of life science careers, but also aren’t interested in business development or project management, marketing might be the perfect place for you. In a marketing position, your creativity can shine as you come up with innovative ways to advertise a product. On any given day, you might be speaking with influencers in the industry about why you have the superior product, or you might be working behind the scenes to come up with a targeted social media post.

Though this position is not heavy on science, companies are more likely to hire those with past research or graduate level academic experience along with commercial experience. Understanding the science behind the products and drugs you are advertising will help you educate customers and make them aware of your content. As customers are highly knowledgeable, a science background will help you produce content that you know they would appreciate and not come across as an outsider.

Your Future Career in Life Sciences

As you can see, there are many opportunities for a rewarding career in life sciences. You will make an impact in the world while exploring intersecting industries, enjoying an intellectually stimulating academic environment and engaging with multiple career paths that life science offers.

If you’re in the market for a new job in the life sciences, TCM can help find the right opportunity for you. We have a long history helping staff Fortune 500/1000 companies across the entire United States and 40 years of experience. Whether you’re looking for a science laboratory technology job, a life science logistics career or anything in between, we can find you the perfect fit.

Contact us today to learn about all of the staffing solutions and services that we offer to companies looking for staff or individuals who are looking for a job. We’re more than happy to take the time to speak with you and see how we can help.

The post 4 Reasons To Consider A Career In Life Sciences appeared first on The Computer Merchant.

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Getting a temp job is a step that some people may have reservations about. Some may fear that accepting a temporary job will get in the way of your search for full-time employment and leave you back where you started when the job ends. Others may think that temporary job holders do not get the same respect as full-time job holders, either in their current place of employment or to future potential employers.

In fact, there are several advantages of temporary employment that you may not have considered. There’s a reason that every week over 3 million temporary/contract employees work for staffing companies in the U.S. and that staffing companies hire close to 15 million of these employees each year. What are some good reasons to accept a temporary job?

Should I Accept a Temp Job?

So you have the opportunity to take a temp job. Maybe you weren’t looking for one, but one dropped in your lap. Or perhaps you applied just to test the market and got a bite. Either way, the question now becomes, should you accept the temp job? Some strong reasons to accept a temp job include:

  • It’s good for your resume: One of the worst things you may have to deal with when it comes to job seeking is gaps in your resume. If you spend six months without finding a job, even if it’s no fault of your own, potential employers will wonder why. Even if you end up working somewhere for just a few months, your resume will look a lot cleaner.
  • It’s good for your income: Yes, a temporary job may cut into your job-hunting time, but are you really spending that much time looking for a full-time job? Once you’ve sent out all the resumes and responded to all the job board alerts, there’s not much to do but sit around and worry about when your funds are going to run out. The temp job, even if it’s not exactly what you’re hoping for, can reduce some income stress and actually help you get more focused on finding that full-time position.
  • It can become a full-time job: There are a number of opportunities, many available through job placement agencies, that are known as temporary-to-FTE positions, meaning you work for a few months on a temporary basis, and if it’s a good fit, you will likely be converted to full-time employment. This can be a great pathway to a full-time job if you have been frustrated in your other efforts. In fact, one-third of temporary and contract workers are offered a permanent job where they are working on assignment, according to the American Staffing Association. But even if your temporary job doesn’t pay immediate dividends…
  • It can be a great networking opportunity: One of the reasons that you may be struggling to get a job is that many advertised jobs aren’t really as open as they appear. It is still a harsh reality that most job-seekers find their long-term, full-time jobs through friends or contacts. But where do you make those friends and contacts? A temp job can be the perfect way. Presumably, you will get a temp job in your area of expertise, and you will get to meet other professionals in this area. Even if you don’t immediately get a full-time job out of it, your name may come up down the road when the company is looking to staff or when one of your co-workers strikes out on their own and are looking for quality people to staff their own efforts.
  • It can help you learn more: If you work in a field that is rapidly evolving, like IT, spending a few months out of the workforce can leave you far behind. Even if you do your best to stay abreast of the latest developments, there is no substitute for actually working in the field with new technologies as they arise. Your temp job can help you make sure you stay current as well as help you learn new aspects of your career and develop new skill sets.
  • It can get you experience: Is lack of experience getting in the way of you getting the job you want? That old Catch-22 — you can’t get a job without experience and you can’t get experience without a job — still holds true for a lot of employers. Even if you have the education and the skills, many employers may not want to invest in someone for a full-time position unless they know that person will get the job done. If you’re a temporary hire, employers may be less wary of your inexperience. And, when the job ends, you’ll have some of that experience you so sorely need.
  • It lets you “try before you buy”: Many employers like to hire temporary-to-full-time employees so they can “try before they buy,” but this works both ways. You can find out if a job in the field that you are pursuing is really for you without making a long-term commitment.

All in all, accepting a temporary position can be a great career move for a multitude of reasons.

How Do I Get a Job Through a Temp Agency?

If you’ve decided that a temp job is right for you, but don’t know how to go about getting one, don’t worry. There are plenty of temp job agencies that can help. Search for a temp agency that specializes in placing people in the type of work you are skilled for. If you’re looking for an IT job, The Computer Merchant is the right choice. We are well-known for our ability to offer IT staffing and workforce solutions to companies all across the United States, including Fortune 500 companies.

We are experts at matching IT professionals with temporary jobs, full-time jobs and temporary-to-full-time positions. To get matched with a great IT position, check out our job board. Or if you’re looking to staff, contact The Computer Merchant today.

The post Top Reasons To Accept A Temporary Job appeared first on The Computer Merchant.

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You probably use big data in almost every aspect of your business, from identifying your target consumer and the best way to market to them to testing the effectiveness of your logistics and managing your website. You do this with good reason, as big data analytics and statistics create highly effective and accurate predictive models to guide your business. So why not use big data in recruiting?

Using big data analytics in recruitment is the logical approach when it comes to staffing. How are today’s big data staffing companies utilizing big data analytics for staffing decisions, and why is it so important?

Why Big Data Analytics Are So Useful for Staffing

Big data analytics are so great for staffing because there is such a rich pool of data and a wide variety of analytic options. They allow us to make informed, intelligent business decisions that will lead to more successful matches between candidates and available positions.

For example, we can use historical analytics to follow patterns about what staffing decisions in the past have been successful and which ones have been less so. This can prevent us from making mistakes in the future. We can also use real-time analytics to get almost instant feedback on our current pool of available talent and how well we are doing with recruitment and placement. We can use predictive analysis to help us see future staffing trends coming and prepare our lead generation strategies to meet the impending need. These are only some of the analytic processes available to staffing firms thanks to big data.

The Benefits of Big Data on Staffing Analytics

The benefits of using big data to analyze staffing decisions are many. With a large enough database and a proper analytic approach, recruiters can find better candidates faster and fill open positions in less time with individuals that are more suited to succeed in the position required. Companies get better value for their staffing dollar, and the staffing companies they use succeed and thrive.

The Computer Merchant for Reliable Big Data IT Staffing for Your Business

Big data is a large part of how The Computer Merchant has been so successful in placing qualified candidates in IT positions for contract, full-time or contract-to-FTE work. We have a massive candidate database featuring over 10 million unique consultant profiles from all over the country.

This is the largest technical database in the industry, and it is growing all the time. We have state-of-the-art technology at our disposal that allows us to quickly and easily analyze our database and our practices so that we get better at matching you with the ideal IT professional every day. Our ability to quickly and efficiently fill your IT positions with the right candidates is unparalleled, thanks in large part to analytics, superior technology and big data.

Learn more about how we can meet all your company’s IT staffing needs. Contact The Computer Merchant online or call us at 800-617-6172 today.

The post The Importance of Big Data Staffing appeared first on The Computer Merchant.

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During the 2018-2019 government shutdown, which was the longest in U.S. history, more than 800,000 government workers went on unpaid leave or worked without pay. The shutdown also affected significant numbers of workers who contract with government agencies. Around 10,000 companies had contracts with agencies impacted by the shutdown.

Every year, Congress must pass budget legislation for the next fiscal year, which includes one appropriation bill for each of the appropriations subcommittees. Once Congress passes this legislation, the president must sign it. This legislation provides the funding government agencies and programs rely on. If Congress and the president do not pass these bills before funding runs out, a shutdown occurs. If none of them are signed into law, a full shutdown will occur. If only some of them aren’t passed, a partial shutdown will occur.

During a shutdown, federal agencies must stop spending on all functions deemed non-essential. Essential services and mandatory spending programs continue to function. To prevent a shutdown, Congress may enact a continuing resolution, which provides temporary funding. Eventually, though, Congress needs to pass a budget the president signs into law.

Since 1976, there have been 21 gaps in federal funding with varying levels of shutdown occurring as a result. Most of these events have been brief. The 2018-’19 one was by far the longest, lasting 34 days. The next-longest, which started in 1995, lasted for 21 days. In addition to the 34-day shutdown that began in December 2018, there were also two brief gaps in funding that occurred in January and February of 2018.

Clearly, shutdowns are not uncommon. What a government shutdown means for your government contract staffing agency depends on many factors, including the severity of the shutdown, the agencies you contract with, the services you provide and the terms of your contracts.

Which Government Workers Does a Shutdown Affect?

When federal agencies stop receiving funding, they must cease all functions that aren’t deemed essential. Many workers will be out of work for the duration of the shutdown. Workers whose jobs are considered essential, however, will continue working, although many of them will work without pay.

It’s difficult to say precisely which state and federal government jobs will be impacted by a government shutdown, as it can differ between occurrences. Every federal agency creates its own shutdown plan while following guidance from the Office of Management and Budget released during previous shutdowns. The plans identify which activities should continue during a shutdown and which should not. Many of the jobs deemed essential relate to public safety, including:

  • Law enforcement
  • Air traffic control
  • In-hospital medical care
  • Border protection
  • Military
  • Energy grid maintenance

Programs with mandatory spending not subject to annual appropriations, such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, continues as well. If user fees fund a program, such as immigration-related activities funded by visa fees, it will also continue.

During December 2018’s 34-day shutdown, about three-quarters of government agencies had already received funding, so they remained open. The departments of Veteran Affairs, Defense, Energy, Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services stayed open and operated as usual. The Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Agriculture, Treasury, State, Interior, Transportation, Commerce and Housing and Urban Development had to send some workers home while others worked without pay. That was the situation for 240,000 employees at the Department of Homeland Security, 116,470 at the Department of Justice and 100,000 at the Department of Agriculture. The shutdown impacted agencies in different ways. For example:

  • The Department of Agriculture continued to provide food stamps and subsidized lunches but may have run out of funding for the programs eventually if the shutdown had lasted longer.
  • Farmers stopped receiving checks to provide support due to declining soybean prices caused by the trade war with China. Those who hadn’t yet applied had to wait until the shutdown ended. The Department also did not issue various economic reports it usually publishes.

Federal government shutdowns may also impact state governments. Many state programs rely on federal funding. In past shutdowns, states have often kept programs funded while waiting to be reimbursed after the shutdown ends.

How Does a Shutdown Affect Government Contracts?

The impact on government contracts varies depending on the situation. If a shutdown occurs or is likely to happen, you should check the terms of your contract and reach out to the contracting officer as soon as possible. This should help you determine exactly how the shutdown will affect your contract and prepare for whatever may occur.

If you have a contract with a fully funded agency, you will still be able to do the work and receive the payment specified in your contract. An agency with full funding won’t shut down, and information technology government jobs, administrative jobs and all other positions in the department will still report for work.

If the agency with which you contract does not have full funding, your contract may be affected. If the work performed under a contract isn’t deemed essential, the government agency may request your contract workers stop doing it for the duration of the shutdown. In this situation, the staffing agency may attempt to reassign the workers. If it can’t find additional work for them and can’t afford to pay them without a new contract, it may be forced to lay them off temporarily.

Some government contracts contain a stop-work clause, which defines procedures for delaying work. If a contract includes such a provision, a government agency might use it to order a contractor to postpone action until the shutdown ends. If an agency uses a stop-work order, contractors may be eligible to receive compensation for the costs of stopping and later restarting work under the contract. Staffing agencies, however, are usually required to take reasonable steps to minimize expenses in such an event. The contractor and the government agency will determine the amount of compensation through negotiations, although this likely won’t occur until after the shutdown ends.

If a contracted job is deemed essential, your staffers may need to continue fulfilling their obligations under the contract. The United States recently passed legislation that ensured that federal employees who worked without pay or were forced to take unpaid leave during the shutdown would receive back pay. While many federal workers still struggled during times they didn’t receive payment, this assurance helped reduce the long-term consequences. A third-party staffing agency for a government shutdown sometimes doesn’t have such a guarantee. Because the government might not reimburse the agency for paying its contract workers during the shutdown, it takes on substantial risk.

A shutdown may also necessitate a change in the contract, either temporarily or permanently. The agency may, for example, require fewer contract workers than usual during the shutdown. In these situations, the two parties can make changes to the contract as needed.

In the most extreme cases, contracts may get terminated due to a government shutdown. Government agencies affected by the closure will not issue any new contracts. Only agencies that received full funding before the shutdown can issue new contracts during the shutdown.

How Does a Shutdown Affect Staffing Agencies and Employers?

Government shutdowns can also impact employers in various ways, including those that contract with the government and those that do not.

One impact of the December shutdown was the unavailability of E-Verify, the web-based system used to confirm that employees are eligible to work in the United States. Many federal contracts and subcontracts contain a clause that requires employers to use E-Verify. Some states also mandate certain businesses use the system, and some companies may be required to use it due to a legal ruling. Other employers may use E-Verify voluntarily. The system works by comparing information employees provide on their Employment Eligibility Verification form, Form I-9, with Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security records.

Because the system was unavailable during the 2018-’19 shutdown, many employers, especially government contractors, could not hire new employees. Employers can still prepare their I-9 Forms while the system is unavailable and then submit them when it reopens. There may be a delay in processing submissions directly after the shutdown due to the backlog of new cases created during the funding gap. Because so many government staffing agencies use E-Verify, this can cause challenges for the ones attempting to hire more workers.

Employers may also experience capital challenges as a result of a government shutdown. Some companies rely heavily on government staffing contracts. If those are paused or canceled, they may see a serious dip in revenue. Some firms may also need to provide contract employees without receiving any compensation. These unreimbursed costs can make cash-flow issues even more severe.

There is one effect of government shutdowns that may help staffing firms to make up for lost revenue due to suspended government contracts and other issues. Many federal employees forced to take unpaid leave turn to staffing firms during shutdowns to them pay the bills. Staffing firms may see a slight increase in candidates during a shutdown, especially if they offer temporary employment opportunities. These firms can find these furloughed employees the work they need to make ends meet.

Often, these workers have excellent resumes and may even be overly qualified for certain jobs. They can make great additions to firms’ candidate databases if they’ve held government jobs in the information technology field, health care or other in-demand professions.

How a Staffing Agency Can Prepare for Potential Government Shutdowns

It can be difficult to predict when a government shutdown may happen and even harder to determine how a shutdown will affect your business. However, agencies should still take steps to prepare for potential shutdowns. Having a plan in place can minimize any negative impacts and make the transitions into and out of the shutdown go much more smoothly. Here are some measures agencies can take to prepare.

1. Determine What Could Be Impacted

One of the first things a staffing agency for government jobs should do is determine which contracts a shutdown may affect, using these guidelines:

  • Do any of your contracts rely on annual appropriations? If so, they may be affected by a shutdown. Contracts paid for with multi-year funding or that relate to programs funded by users may not be.
  • When reviewing your contracts, look for clauses such as the Limitation of Cost clause and the Limitation of Funds clause, which you can find in incrementally funded contracts. The Availability of Funds clause can be found in contracts that are contingent on future fiscal year funding. Seeing which terms your contracts contain will give you insight into how your contract is funded and whether it will continue to receive funding during a shutdown.
  • It can also be helpful to look at the contingency plans created by the government agencies you work with, as they may indicate whether the services provided through your contract are considered essential. You can also research which agencies and programs continued operating during recent shutdowns. Keep in mind, though, that plans and conditions can differ from shutdown to shutdown.

Once you determine which contracts may be affected, review them and look for clauses, special provisions and other requirements related to shutdowns. A contract may specify, for example, that you must continue working during a shutdown. Contracts might also allocate risks associated with a shutdown to a specific party. If your contract assigns risk to the government, you should be able to recover expenses related to stopping and restarting work because of the shutdown. Also, if your contract is going to expire near the end of the fiscal year, consider seeking an extension through an extension or option clause if such clauses exist. This will prevent a contract from expiring during a funding gap.

2. Create a Shutdown Contingency Plan

It’s essential to create a shutdown contingency plan ahead of time, so you’re prepared if a shutdown occurs. You may be able to use the contingency plans of agencies with which you work as a guide for creating your own plan. Agency plans may offer guidance for contracts about how to proceed during a shutdown. It’s important to remember that the agencies’ plans may change. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Your contingency plan should address what you will do with workers who are off the job during a shutdown.
  • Create a plan for determining if and how workers will be paid during a funding gap and seek ways to minimize the impact on your agency and its contractors. Establishing a procedure for finding new, temporary assignments can help.
  • Have a plan for managing the potential influx of government employees seeking temporary work during a shutdown.
  • An important part of your plan will be your communication strategies. You’ll need to quickly and efficiently get into contact with your contractors and keep them up to date on the status of their jobs. Miscommunications or delayed communications could result in additional expenses and complications.
  • Create a system for documenting expenses, activities and communications during a shutdown. Keeping thorough records may be important in receiving compensation for your costs when the government reopens.

Your plan should also address practical issues such as ensuring workers deemed essential still have access to government buildings during a shutdown. Figuring out details such as this will require collaboration and communication with the government agencies you contract with.

3. Contact Your Contracting Officers

During a shutdown, you may not be able to connect with your contract manager if they have been furloughed. Reach out to your contract officer immediately if you haven’t already to discuss shutdown procedures. They should be able to provide you with insights about how to proceed in such an event. Even if you have already talked with your contract manager about this topic, it can be helpful to check in regularly to make sure nothing has changed and to verify information. If it seems a shutdown may occur in the near future, reach out to your contract manager as soon as possible to see if you can obtain any guidance from them.

How Staffing Agencies Can Bridge the Gap

Staffing agencies in a government shutdown can play a crucial role in aiding affected workers to bridge the gap in pay caused by the shutdown. During a closure, many affected workers seek temporary work to make ends meet while they are out of work. Staffing agencies may have the knowledge, resources and connections to find government employees the temp job they need.

Staffing agencies have relationships with clients looking for temporary, contingent workers for a specific project or to augment an existing team. Contingent workforce programs give companies the flexibility to adjust the size of their workforce as needed. They also provide ideal opportunities for workers looking for flexible, temporary work.

The relationships government jobs staffing agencies have with these companies enables them to quickly find placements for furloughed workers. If they have an extensive database of consultant profiles, they can also quickly replace employees when they need to go back to their government jobs once the shutdown ends. If a shutdown caused the cancellation of their contracts, they could stay on for longer. The staffing agency can land them a new assignment once the first one ends.

If an agency offers staff augmentation services, they can assess a company’s staff to discover gaps its talent can fill. This lets the staffing agency find assignments for furloughed workers more quickly while improving the effectiveness of clients’ teams.

Working With the Computer Merchant

At the Computer Merchant, we connect companies that need IT professionals with skilled individuals looking for work. We provide a full portfolio of staffing services and workforce solutions to clients across..

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When it’s time to hire new staff, companies either have their own HR personnel do the job or contract it out to a staffing agency. If you’ve never used a staffing agency before, you may be wondering about the benefits of working with a staffing agency to fill out your workforce.

The benefits of using staffing agencies often outweigh the negatives. Here are three of the main ones.

1. Save Time

One of the undisputed benefits of working with a staffing agency is how much time it will save you. Even if you have a dedicated HR department in charge of such things, they still have other responsibilities, too. If you don’t have an HR team, it can be a major headache.

Even if you use job board sites, weeding through all the resumes you get can be an interminable task. Then there are the multiple waves of interviews you need to put potential employees through, background checks to complete and references to call. And after all that, they might not even take the job!

A good staffing agency takes care of all that for you. Just tell them what you want in a new hire, and they’ll find the perfect person for your company right away.

2. Choose From Qualified Candidates

You can only tell so much from a resume, and going through job boards doesn’t always get you the cream of the crop. The right staffing agency will have a huge network of highly qualified applicants to consider. Their job is to find the most qualified person who is also the best fit for the specific position you have available.

3. Find the Right Kind of Employee

There are three different types of employees you might be looking to hire:

  • Short-Term Contractors: When you need someone to fill in for a full-time employee or provide extra help for a specific project
  • Direct Hires: When you want to hire for long-term employment
  • Contract-to-Hire: When you want to hire someone for a contract position that could potentially transition to full-time

A staffing agency will have already classified the employees into these types and will provide you with the person who is looking for the type of job you have to offer. If you try hiring yourself, there’s a better chance there will be some confusion as to whether you and your new hire have the same long-term goals.

The Benefits of a Staffing Agency for IT

Professional staffing is even more important for IT. There are many different jobs in an IT environment, often highly specialized jobs, and it is crucial that the person you get to fill your position is one who you can be confident is the right fit.

Working with The Computer Merchant is the smart move whenever you need a new IT professional. We have a huge network of qualified IT experts that has helped us build a technical database of more than 10 million unique consultant profiles and growing. If we can’t find you the IT person you’re looking for, they don’t exist.

To find out more about how we can efficiently and match you with the right IT pro for contract, contract-to-hire or full-time employment, contact The Computer Merchant today.

The post Why Employers Need Staffing Agencies appeared first on The Computer Merchant.

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Finding a bodyguard can be a difficult and time consuming process. You want to find someone who is easy to work with and whose characteristics match with your personality. Just like hiring a bodyguard can be difficult, hiring a new IT employee can take just as much effort. At The Computer Merchant, we’re here to do the heavy lifting of hiring for you. We can help you fill your next open IT job, saving you time, money, and energy. 

The post Do You Need A Bodyguard? A Deeper Look at Finding the Right Hire. appeared first on The Computer Merchant.

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“I am running away from my responsibilities. And it feels good.”-Michael Scott

Every office has time wasters, even yours. You know who they are. People who, like Michael Scott, are always running away from their responsibilities. When it comes time to hire new talent for your company, you want to avoid hiring those people. Fortunately, The Computer Merchant is here to help. We screen through the time wasters, and bring you only quality IT talent. We’ve examined some of the best time wasters in “The Office” and know how to bring you the best IT staff for your company.


The post The Office: A Look at the Cost of Wasted Time appeared first on The Computer Merchant.

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Are you considering entering the world of technology professionals, but aren’t sure what the future of the job market holds? We’ve done some research and are happy to tell you, the prospects are looking good. If you want to know what jobs are hiring, what jobs are expected to grow, and how much you could make doing those jobs, this is for you.

Computer Systems Analyst

Computer systems analyst, or system architects, study an organization’s computer systems and procedures, and design creative solutions to help the organization run more efficiently. Computer analysts bring business and IT needs together to create a more well-rounded solution for the company.

The first thing a systems analyst does is to understand their client’s business. They do this by studying the client’s computer systems and business processes. Understanding how the client uses technology goes a long way into moving the business forward. Systems analysts them prepare a cost benefit analysis, and oversee the changes to the new or upgraded system. If problems arise during or after the upgrade, the systems analysts are on hand to troubleshoot and fix the problems.

The median salary for a systems analyst in 2017 was $88,270. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is expecting a 9% employment growth between 2016 and 2026. This should be about 53,000 new jobs. If you’re looking into this as a potential career, there’s a lot of promise in the future.

Web Developer

Web developers design and create websites, and are responsible for the look of the site. They take care of the images, display, and special effects. They develop the technical aspects of the site, like performance and capacity.

After meeting with clients, the developers begin designing. They write code, add animation, fix problems, and test the site on the client’s server. Web developers can work the whole site, from design in Photoshop to writing the code in HTML or CSS. Others work in teams and split the responsibilities.

The median salary for web developers in 2017 was $67,990. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is expecting a 13% employment growth between 2016 and 2026. This should be about 21,300 new jobs. As more and more companies move toward the digital future, there will be a great need for quality web developers.

Software Developer

Software developers are responsible for all of the tech we use every day. Did you use the alarm clock on your phone today? Did you listen to music or podcasts on your way into work? Did you look at social media? Did you check your bank balance online? If you answered yes to any of those, you’ve used something a software developer helped design. So much of what we do today is dependent on good software developers.

The best software developers have ideas and the know how to make their ideas become a reality. Software developers are sometimes portrayed as sitting behind a desk all day writing code. And sometimes, they do. But their job goes far beyond that. They work with clients, write code from scratch, de-bug code, and collaborate with other developers. The best developers can think outside the box to solve problems and think analytically.

The median salary for software developers in 2017 was $103,560. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is expecting a 24% employment growth between 2016 and 2026. This should be about 253,400 new jobs. There’s a high demand for software developers right now, in a wide variety of industries. It’s a great time to be a software developer.

Information Security Analyst

Information security analysts are the security guards of technology and information systems. Their job is to create defenses to protect their client’s computer systems from cyberattacks, data breaches, or other hacks.

With more and more companies storing information online or on computers, it’s becoming increasingly important to have security analysts that can detect and prevent attacks.

The median salary for information security analysts in 2017 was $95,510. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is expecting a 28% employment growth between 2016 and 2026. This should be about 28,400 new jobs.

Are You Ready?

Are you ready to join the technology professional workforce and make a difference in the world? Any one of these exciting career options is booming and ready to grow. Will you be a part of the growth?

The post How Much Do Technology Professionals Really Make? appeared first on The Computer Merchant.

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