A new U.S. Department of Labor report, “The Black Labor Force in the Recovery,” found that about half of African Americans aged 16 and older have a job. Of those working, 17.5 percent have only a piece of a job:
In 2010, about half of blacks aged 16 and older had a job and 17.5 percent of those employed worked part-time. Blacks are the only racial or ethnic group where women represent a larger share of the employed than do men—more than half (54.3 percent) of employed blacks in 2010 were women, compared to 46.3 percent among employed whites. Employed black women still earn less than employed black men.
The Labor Department reports that nearly 20 percent of employed blacks work in the public sector, compared to 14.6 percent of whites. As federal stimulus funds run out and state and local governments lay off workers, black labor pains will increase.
So forget about that “good government job.” In comments on the House floor, New York Rep. Charles Rangel said:
And so many African-Americans, for reasons that I do not have to go into, have sought public service as a way of life because of the security that’s involved in it. And so, when we talk about cutting the budget and cutting the services that are provided, we’re talking about a larger number of minorities that would be losing their jobs as a result of budget cutting.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman recently wrote, “this is not your parents’ job market”:
Whatever you may be thinking when you apply for a job today, you can be sure the employer is asking this: Can this person add value every hour, every day — more than a worker in India, a robot or a computer? Can he or she help my company adapt by not only doing the job today but also reinventing the job for tomorrow? And can he or she adapt with all the change, so my company can adapt and export more into the fastest-growing global markets? In today’s hyperconnected world, more and more companies cannot and will not hire people who don’t fulfill those criteria.
To get over, black workers must become entrepreneurial-minded. That doesn’t mean one has to run out and start up howigotover.com. Rather, one has to think and act like an entrepreneur.
LinkedIn Co-founder and Chairman Reid Hoffman is the co-author of the forthcoming book, “The Start-Up of You,” which will provide “a revolutionary new blueprint for how to survive and thrive in this new career landscape”:
Today, the career escalator is jammed at every level. Creative disruption is shaking every industry. Wages are virtually stagnant. Global competition for jobs is fierce. Technology is replacing both white and blue collar workers, and at an increasing clip. The employer-employee pact is over; job security doesn’t exist.
Start-ups and entrepreneurs are nimble. They are innovative. They invest in themselves. They are self-reliant, yet build strong networks to amplify their strengths. They assess the needs of their target customers. They leverage their competitive advantages in the marketplace.
So let me start by asking a question: Are you on LinkedIn?