Global Labor Perspective Regarding… Youth

© 2011 Chatman Lewis Consulting



 Youth in the USA and the Global Prospect


The situation of young workers and their future is no laughing matter. Recently there have been some very damning statistics that negate the immediate prospect of life regarding the nation’s youth. The recent statistics should cause us all a moment of pause and reflection. We should ask ourselves, how did we get here and how do we fix this problem? The youth in this country will literally govern the well being of the mature population and interface with their global counterparts in the near future. That said, the vast majority of our youth both in the States and abroad are ill prepared for the task that will be at hand in just a few short years.

The bureau of labor statistics1 quotes the following statistics here in the States:

“The July 2011 labor force participation rate for Hispanic youth was 53.6 percent, down

by 2.5 percentage points over the year. The rate for whites decreased by 1.0 percentage

point to 62.2 percent. The participation rate for young blacks, at 50.2 percent, was

down slightly, while the rate for Asian youth (47.9 percent) was little different from

last year.”


The number of unemployed youth in July 2011 was 4.1 million, down from 4.4 million a

year ago. The youth unemployment rate declined by 1.0 percentage point over the year to

18.1 percent in July 2011, after hitting a record high for July in 2010. Among major

demographic groups, unemployment rates were lower than a year earlier for young men

(18.3 percent) and Asians (15.3 percent), while jobless rates were little changed for

young women (17.8 percent), whites (15.9 percent), blacks (31.0 percent), and Hispanics

(20.1 percent).

IBM2 put together some data sets that took a historical look at USA youth unemployment rates for the years 2000-2010. The findings depicted a steady climb in youth unemployment with the exception of the years 2004-2007 which held steady +/- .6-1.4% change. The numbers support the mood of what is going on in the States and abroad with current movements such as Occupy Wall Street where the youth represent a great number in that movement and bursts of innovation led by youth, such as Facebook and Twitter that have reshaped communication globally. It seems as though the youth want to engage in extraordinary ways to make a great impact on society at large. However there are significant gaps and disconnects in achievement and progress.  Twenty first century youth often lack the skills necessary to land high paying jobs and they lack the necessary funds to pay for education. Thus, they face high unemployment rates and lives that are less fruitful than their parent’s generation.

Manufacturing job outsourcing has also had its impact on unemployment of youth. Entry level or low paying jobs are often where younger people find employment opportunities. An article in ‘Impact Lab’ surveyed states where there has been a mass exodus of manufacturing jobs that have left their state. New York, Illinois, Ohio, Nebraska, Kansas, Louisiana and Mississippi are just some of the states that show a loss of opportunity where jobs have left the states and people are fleeing to other states to seek opportunity. At the time the article was written (December 2010), it was thought that the locations of Bank of America (located in Texas and North Carolina) would be a great place to move and find employment opportunity. Since that time, Bank of America has announced a massive lay off of its labor force by 30,000-50,000 people. Thus the upside in employment for the states of Texas and North Carolina is not as bright as anticipated.

According to Steven Greenhouse in “The Big Squeeze”4, young Americans entering the work force are experiencing many difficulties and challenges. Youth working white collar jobs in metropolitan areas such as New York and Illinois (Chicago) are faced with losing employment opportunities to outsourcing.  Additionally, there seems to be a sizeable pool of youth working blue collar jobs in rural areas where factories were once prominent in small towns have left the town with high unemployment numbers. If the rural towns are fortunate enough to have a large corporate factory stick around their town and not move its operations to Mexico, China or India there are jobs available. However, the youth face tremendous compensation challenges. One such challenge is the two tier pay scale. The two tier pay scale compensates the younger worker at a lower wage earning than his or her mature counterpart. Although the job description and job function reads the same, the pay is significantly less for the younger worker and the pay is capped at a lower rate than the mature workers ceiling compensation. Due to the low level skill set requirements for these jobs, younger people are encouraged to get more training and or education. Although, many young people find value in additional or secondary education it is difficult to acquire the education they need in order to make marked improvements in life. As for the youth that are fortunate enough to be gainfully employed, their pay is often insufficient to assist with education as they look to acquire new skills. Further, if they take out additional loans to supplement their educational costs, they cannot afford to repay the loans on their current pay scale. The challenges this generation of youth faces is enormous and daunting. It seems as though the prospect of finding employment, then move toward progress in sustaining and supporting a family is almost a Catch-22 situation. It’s either one or the other.

From a global perspective things look about the same as in the States. For example, it has been reported in the U.K that there are over 1 million youth unemployed. Diane Abbott from the Huffington Post U.K. writes, “A Whole Generation May be Doomed to a Lifetime on the Fringes of the Job Market”5. And Patrick Butler from The Guardian6 writes, “one million young people out of work are rapidly becoming an embarrassment for the coalition”. And here are a few statistics regarding young workers and the unemployment crisis worldwide:

How does an organizaion get to Innovation?

How does
your organization get to INNOVATION?


Leadership involves balancing multiple perspectives while dealing with

synergy and inclusion is of paramount importance, leadership must facilitate
how ideas are brought together… thus, broadening the range of ideas.
Additionally, an effective leader recognizes change is inevitable and
innovation is the dynamic that will keep a company moving forward. Stagnation comes
about when an organizations culture never changes. Surprisingly, an
organizations core support mechanism is driven by complacency and comfort. In
other words, don’t rock the boat.

Effective leaders
are not opposed to risk and will rock the boat!

An effective
leader knows how to balance risk and benefit maximizing the opportunity at hand.


If marketing
proves the potential success of a viable product based on consumer demand, the
leader should embrace and support the product to the extent a diverse, cohesive
team can balance the goal of the product and the company vision.

vision plays a key role along with team empowerment and incentive structure to
get things done. The Leader then, is involved relative to strategic growth
opportunity, support and successful revenue progression. As a result, an
innovative product will have better chances of survival and market success.

following things must be measured, monitored and prepared for:


… and don’t
forget politics and the minimization of politics.

Be prepared
to weather the storm and plan ahead for adversity. e.g. global and domestic
market changes.

A savvy
leader can sift through bureaucracy, politics and get things done

As your core
product may keep the door open, innovation will put you over the top.

diversity, inclusion, synergy and excellence 😉


All the


Finally, I weigh in on the Occupy Wall Street Movement…

and yesterday, I sat glued to my televisions nightly news. ABC reported on the
OWS movement and MSNBC reported on the D.C. movement. More recently, the OWS protesters showed up in Pasadena California at the Rose Bowl. The protesters are everywhere and that’s not a bad thing at all! It seems as though the
movement has picked up steam and has grown in size. The movement is in every
metropolitan town in America and has spread abroad. There is a great philosophy
behind the movement and as such the movement grows in number.

I particularly like the boldness and the peaceful assembly aspect of the
movement. I also like the fact that it is comprised of young, mature,
professionals, blue collar workers, students, the employed and the unemployed.
What I don’t like is the lack of focus on the common goal and the lack of a
representative for the movement.

I have been to three Occupy movements in three different states, NY, Chicago
and D.C., none of which collaborate effectively with each other outside of
sharing the common goal. Yesterday the report spoke about arrests and tents
coming down by force. That did not shed a good light on the organizational movement
at all. The tent cities were given eviction warnings and they deliberately
disobeyed the warnings and the law. As a result, they looked like a bunch of
hippies that just wanted to hang out. That behavior has to stop and a greater
mission has to be carried out with focus.

MSNBC reported that the D.C movement returned 11/17/11 after the tent eviction
to a peaceful and successful assembly. New York and Oregon’s demonstration was
a bit disgraceful. The tents were removed by force in the middle of the night.

If we as a nation are to have some semblance of equity and balance as far as
the social safety net is concerned, we need to look to at this movement and get
our act together. I guess I have to call it what it is, unfocused. The movement
needs a collective voice with one to two representatives for the entire group.

While the media reports (to a certain extent) on the movement, the movement has
got to be more effective as it relates to focus and a ONE VOICE approach to its
cause. I recently had the good fortune to be linked in to several Wall Street
Projects and Movements; I am hoping to use my strategic prowess to enlighten
the organization on effective leadership and business strategy. We will see
what happens.

Until then, the mounting pressure that OWS is putting on Corporate America is
a good thing. The corporate misgivings and abuse related to the American Worker
is appalling and shameful in many instances. The gross abuse of NAFTA where
outsourcing and layoffs have come to cripple communities all over America has
got to stop. The employer cut backs of health care is also a great abuse of the
American Workers safety net, this too must stop. All in all if society
continues to cry out with focus and clarity, we as a nation will adhere to that
which is right and just.

I have always stated and believed, the American Corporation is generally good
and serves great purpose. The problem with many American Corporations is BAD
Leadership. There are layers upon layers in many corporations and the CEO’s are
not paying attention, so long as the profit is intact. The BAD Leadership has
got to change or be removed. The height of responsibility in Leadership is when
the pulse of the organization is read by the CEO and his/her team on a constant
basis. If leadership implements such a process, the American Worker and the Firm
will prevail. The American Worker touches the customer every day and they too
should measure the pulse of the customer in light of customer service and
customer satisfaction and be held accountable.

The OWS Movement stands for the protection of the Workers Civil Rights and
fundamental right to access Equal Opportunity, Health Care, Parity in Income and
debunk Discrimination according to Title VII of the United States
Constitutional Amendment.  Kudos to the OWS
Movement. May they stay Peaceful, strive for greater clarity and keep pressing
for that which is right and just.

All the best,


Is there ever a good time for government to intervene with a firm?

While most of us would like for government to stay out of corporate business, it is sometimes necessary for government to intervene. When one takes into consideration ‘anti-trust law’ and what it actually means, one begins to understand why some monopolies exist and others cannot. Albeit a capitalist society is fundamentally good, there is such a thing as ‘moral hazards’ and corporate corruption and greed. It is when the two run amok and the average consumer dollar is dealt with disrespectfully and irresponsibly that the government must protect the consumer from such hazards as:

Fraud and Greed

Fraud and Greed on behalf of a firm can affect consumer confidence and mistrust to the extent that the economy can take a complete nose dive and crash the economic infrastructure. Should that happen, the government’s credit rating can spiral downward and other countries can call in notes on loans per that government because the risk has outweighed the benefit relative to rate of return.

Fraud and Greed was noticed with Enron and World-Com and as such government had to get involved and investigate the matter at hand. Subsequently, the fraud that was uncovered ruined global companies and devastated tens of thousands of workers. Thus, in this case, it was absolutely necessary for government to intervene and investigate the wrong doing of the firm(s).

Since then, new laws have come into play. There are corporate audit practices that must be in compliance with proper checks and balances in light of facilitating a normative corporate business culture protecting the financial interests of employees, the firm, shareholders and the government.

Gone are the days that a firm can operate fundamentally by cooking books and negating the dollars that have been entrusted for 401k’s , retirement plans and such. A firm must deal with their finances responsibly and will be held accountable in proper audit procedure and protocol. Greed is not good, as Gordon Gecko professed in the Movie ‘WallStreet’. Greed could land you in Jail as a leader of a firm.

A good Motto is, ‘Do good with that which you have been entrusted with’..Be of good Service as a Leader.

All the best in 2012 and beyond


What happened to Customer Service?

Customer Service and
Customer Satisfaction

There is a lot to be said for Customer Service and Customer


Customer Service used to be something
that required a commendable fight in Corporate America. The very fight for a
good name meant an increase in profit, employee satisfaction and customer
satisfaction. In fact, there used to be a coveted award that companies would
vie for through implementation of corrective measures, calculated measurement
of employee performance and utilizing proven customer satisfaction models. I
truly believe that these types of awards are unknown to many organizations,
because Customer Satisfaction seems to be nearly non-existent.


Today, it’s completely apparent that
many organizations don’t care much about their customers or their employees.
That’s a very large problem. Corporations have become obsessed with “less is
more”, so much so that, the phrase, has taken on a literal and contextual
meaning. Employees have become dispensable like paperclips and customer service
has been replaced with 1- 800 digital or seemingly scripted dialogues outsourced
to foreign countries.


“Less is more”, does not mean putting
customers through endless, mindless, and thoughtless voice mail loops which ultimately
lead to lack of resolve. Gone are the days that you could actually speak to a
human being who has been charged with bringing resolution to your concern. Instead
many organizations have outsourced their customer service departments to foreign
countries to lower cost and shield themselves from the very customers that add
to their very large profit margins.


It appears that when organizations
actually pay attention to basic problems and resolve them, they figure they
lose money. When in actuality, the reverse is true. One practice I immediately
put into place at my company was, to have provided each of my employees with a
phone line where customers could reach them directly. Additionally, if they cannot
reach their
representative, they can call, write or email me personally.  I truly believe, the majority of a company’s
customer service problems can be resolved within 48 hours. Should the problem,
issue or concern require lengthy research, a reasonable window of time should
be allowed. More importantly, customers should be provided with clear
expectations on follow up and the organizations commitment to acceptable


I really believe, if companies honor
their pledge and commitment to their customer, the Customer Satisfaction Statement
and or Mission Statement would actually mean something. I am challenging any company to recommit
to their Mission Statement and Customer Satisfaction Models and Statements.
am also willing to speculate and forecast that the company’s profits will


Organizations would actually increase
bottom line profits by driving satisfied customers. When you put a satisfied
customer in the position to drive success of the organization, the reality is
usually a win-win.


On the flip side of that coin, I
sincerely believe the phrase “the Customer is always right” was at the very least, wrong. The
customer is absolutely not always right. In fact you have some customers who
seem to make a living off of creating scams and cons to survive. Do not be
deceived! Your organization should do its homework and be very savvy, so as not
to fall prey to such scams and cons.


Knowing the difference between providing
good Customer Service and ensuring Customer Satisfaction is priceless. I
believe organizations should reassess their Mission Statement and measure
organizational Customer Service. Then begin to take a closer look at measurable
Customer Satisfaction models. It will be well worth taking another look.


Recently, I had the misfortune of
receiving the run around for a service I paid for. The issue and service had not
been resolved in over six months due to…lack of interest…incompetency…lack of
savvy…lack of training…personality dis-order…

We should demand more as consumers and
not settle for adding profit to a system that is kicking us to the curb. I
fought hard and I won. Albeit I am not a fan of the company and I am not a
satisfied customer. That means less profit for the company, as I will not refer
any additional customers to the business nor will I seek additional services
from the company.


Write me and let me know what you think or if you have had any
encounters with really poor customer service that has led to Customer Dissatisfaction.