February 3, 2014

What does the Gold Collar Worker Want out of Employment?

By Leah O’Flynn, Sales & Marketing Recruiter High Tech


Leah O'Flynn, Tech Recruiter

Leah O’Flynn, Tech Recruiter

Professor Robert Kelley of Carnegie Mellon University coined the phrase “the gold-collar worker” back in 1985 describing a new era of workers whose value is brainpower. “Gold” referred to the hefty salaries and profits that their minds and skills garnered.


Back in 1985, these gold collar workers were the young and college educated, who made up over 40% of the U.S. workforce at the time. Today, with increased outsourcing of manufacturing, the American workforce has increasingly become more service and value-added oriented.  The gold collar workers may now represent 70% of the workforce.


“They are a new breed of workers, and they demand a new kind of management. Intelligent, independent, and innovative, these employees are incredibly valuable. They are lawyers and computer programmers, stock analysts and community planners, editors and engineers…” (Per Wikipedia quote from Robert Kelly)


This a new breed of highly skilled multidisciplinary employee is clearly what drives intellectual capital companies, they bring the innovation, change the game, build companies to the IPO stage, and are the life-blood of the American economy. We hear over and over about the tech talent war, as these highly intelligent, educated and innovative people move around between successful companies. But what does it take to secure the loyalty of gold collar talent?


“Bottom line, for so-called “gold collar” workers, employers need to convince them of the value of spending their time / efforts on the employer. It’s not just a job, it’s a step in their career,” says Chris Merritt, Director of Solution Marketing at Lumension Security. “So the employment offer has to make sense and be compelling on many levels, which includes work/life balance, personal motivation, and strategic career movement.”


Recruiting and retaining gold collars means offering competitive financial compensation, but nonfinancial workplace rewards and benefits such as a casual and informal work environment, flexible work schedules and even part- or full-time telecommuting are highly valued. Gold collars value the activity-based era; changing work process (from waterfall to agile); mobile, remote work; “We” spaces, not “me” spaces; and support for collaboration. They enjoy faster pace, distributed teams as well as multiple space times for multiple work modes.


Redfish Technology primarily works with aggressively growing companies that are agile and hungry and they can attract those agile and hungry gold collar workers by offering them what they want. Whether that means crafting a job offer to meet the candidate’s personal motivations such as a custom title, additional responsibilities, reimbursed continuing education, or other career ladder opportunities. And while it sometimes comes down to salary in the end, there’s usually a whole combination of factors that motivate top candidates beyond the dollars.


“It is one thing to recruit talent, but to keep that talent loyal and dedicated means offering evolving opportunities, challenges, and recognition,” relates Meredith Dean, Tech Recruiter at Redfish. “With the speed that technologies are changing these days, the development talent I work with wants to grow with rising stars and be part of pioneering of the latest and greatest technologies.”


The portability of their skills and the widespread demand for them often allow gold collars to be opportunistic. If not properly motivated they will move on. “Gold collar workers want a transformational leader who has charisma, who represents an ideal they can assimilate and adopt, and who provides the stimulation and individualized consideration they need to become more than they were,” writes Michael E Wonacott in an Eric Digest.


Gold collar workers need to constantly update their skills to stay current with emerging technology; this is a core value to them. Learning must be a continuous process, one that is afforded by companies on the job or through extracurricular opportunities.


In the war for talent, tech companies especially are struggling with finding ways to create a loyal gold collar crew. Think outside of the box, that is what these folks do. Communicate and recognize, these are important intrinsic values of the gold collars. Provide learning opportunities and challenges with personal meaning and reward to motivate them. And remember that work/life balance is not only good for your employees, it is fundamental for having sharp, loyal employees.



Chime in!

What else is important to the gold collar worker?


See also:

Do You Really Want to Work There? Get Your Questions Answered When Interviewing for a Job




About the Author, Leah O’Flynn, Sales & Marketing Recruiter High Tech


Leah is an executive IT recruiter. Born in Dublin, raised in New Jersey, her gypsy ways have taken her on many a random journey. Leah has two degrees; one in Journalism and Media Studies, the other in History. Her love of working with people has made her a natural at recruiting.


About Redfish Technology:


Founded in Silicon Valley in 1996, Redfish Technology is an award-winning talent acquisition firm specializing in high tech sectors. Partnering with growth mode companies, small and large, Redfish staffs executive functions and builds out the teams below. The company provides services nationwide and has offices in Silicon Valley, the East Coast, and Sun Valley.


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January 20, 2014

What are the Key Competencies to Look For in a Tech Recruiter?

The function of a recruiter is simply put to find talent and sell them on an opportunity. How competent a recruiter is makes all the difference to the success of the candidate and the hiring company.

Image courtesy of stockimages  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages FreeDigitalPhotos.net

These are the key competencies of a tech recruiter:


Savvy Business Sense.

Your recruiter has got to understand business, and how companies work, from external constraints to internal dynamics. He/she should be a strategic thinker with the ability to understand the details while maintaining a view from 10,000 feet both with the goal of achieving overall corporate goals.


Understanding of the Sector.

Your recruiter has got to know the technologies involved in your sector. In order to unearth the talent (especially for passive candidates), and vet and woo the talent, the recruiter has to talk the talk and know the tools. While sales/marketing candidates in the tech sector don’t need the same kind of require the same investigation of tricky Java code questions, they too need to be vetted for the knowledge of or proven ability to learn new technologies.


Mad Detective Skills.

Knowing the technology and sector is the first step, but with so many tools and so many boards out there, the recruiter must have mad-sourcing skills to ferret out the best candidates in a needle-in-a-haystack type scenario. LinkedIn, Monster, Dice are all a bounty of potential candidates, but to find just the right person to expand business into new territories, revolutionize a product, or provide other pivotal functions and provide competitive advantage, the search is a big undertaking.


Process Accountability.

Your recruiter needs to set expectations with the company and with candidates, and hold all parties to them. This will including hiring process timing and requisites, as well as communication and feedback, and prioritization of requisites and effort. Process accountability is important for the recruiter to be effective, and without it there is no point in working together.


Sales Acumen.

The recruiter has got to be able to identify the right match, understand the parties’ needs and perceived needs, and sell the opportunity in a compelling fashion. The recruiter plays a role in effectively beginning the onboarding process for the company, and at times he/she is selling the hiring manager on a profile that they initially hadn’t considered.


Personal Ethics.

Your recruiter must have integrity and honesty, which of course you want from anyone you deal with but especially from someone with whom you are contracting to represent you and your opportunity. The recruiter acts as your representative so he/she will be the face of your company.


Brand Ambassador.

The recruiter must have excellent communication and listening skills, and be an enthusiastic representative of your brand/job/team/company. As the face of your company initially, the recruiter should have become well-versed not only in your company and its product/service, but also in the hiring manager’s management style, business approach, and his/her team and the work environment, such that they can paint an accurate picture that puts your best foot forward.


Negotiation Skills.

The recruiter is often in the position of mediator between candidate and company, negotiating with both sides to bring them into the zone of possible agreement (ZOPA). The recruiter will act as a sounding board, to provide feedback, ideas, and solutions. The recruiter should be tuned into the true needs and desires of both sides, such that he/she understanding the hard stops, and can champion a course of action that will achieve a win for all.


Problem Solver.

Challenges always arise, that’s just the nature of the beast. There are a lot of moving parts, both objective and subjective that need to mesh in order to make a successful hire. It is the role of the recruiter to be creative and to figure out how to make the right match come together by overcoming any variety of obstacle that may get thrown up from sick family members to company reorganization, from local talent shortages to immigrant visas, from scheduling Olympics to language differences, from compensation gaps to a finesse of titles, from whatever you can think of – it has probably happened.


August 26, 2013

Why You Want to Get Involved in H1 Visas, Relocation. By Logan Knight, Executive Recruiter, IT Division

Why You Want to Get Involved in H1 Visas, Relocation.

Logan Knight, Tech Recruiter

Logan Knight, Tech Recruiter

Yes, it’s a pain in the butt and it’ll cost you, but both are winning talent acquisition strategies.


By Logan Knight, Executive Recruiter, IT Division



Let’s face it, the tech talent war continues. With companies lacking the tech talent they need, the healthy employment rate and confidence of the tech labor force, means that attracting and retaining the skilled employees high tech companies want is more of a challenge than ever.


Technology professionals averaged a 3.6% unemployment rate in Q2 of this year. That is less than half that of the 7.6% for the overall U.S. unemployment rate. Dice’s Tech Employment snapshot reports that 33% of corporate hiring managers said more tech pros are voluntarily quitting their positions in 2013, as compared to last year. A PayScale survey of over 4000 companies showed that 67% report having a skills gap in 2013. (more…)


July 22, 2013

“Big Data”: A Tool for Talent Management? by Robert Teal, CCP, CBP

“Big Data”: A Tool for Talent Management?Big Data

By Robert Teal, CCP, CBP


The most modest organization has large amounts of information, i.e., “Big Data”, on its operations, suppliers, customers, and especially on its employees.  Even knowing as little as length of service, hours worked, job function, performance data, and location can be telling as to which employees are likely to succeed or not.  The basis for Big Data decision making is founded in that class that most students ignored or only took the one mandatory course.  That course usually covered the statistical foundation concepts of data collection & presentation, variability, central tendency, sampling theory, inference & hypotheses testing, regression & correlation, indexes & time series, and seasonal & cyclical analysis.  While an employer with a few dozen employees can manage them with no more of a sophisticated tool than a good memory or paper notebook, even a middle sized organization of a workforce of few hundred needs to look deeper. (more…)


June 24, 2013

Redfish Technology Wins Mountain Rides’ Bike to Work Day Employer Challenge

Redfish Technology Wins Mountain Rides’ Bike to Work Day Employer Challenge

Redfish Technology Wins Mountain Rides’ Bike to Work Day Employer Challenge

Redfish Technology Wins Mountain Rides’ Bike to Work Day Employer Challenge

For the second year in a row, Redfish Technology takes 1st place in category. Redfish, nationwide technology recruiters, had 100% employee participation in the Bike to Work day challenge held by Mountain Rides. (more…)

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