Do people follow jobs?

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Articles - November 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011

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Bryan Fix, head of human resources at SolarWorld, ramped up hiring in 2008 for the country’s largest solar manufacturing plant in Hillsboro. He recruits from around the country, particularly Midwesterners with high-volume automation experience. He’s moved about 15% of hires from outside the state. Perhaps 10% of the company’s engineers are foreign, mostly Europeans brought in to seed the plant with their advanced solar knowledge. “For long-term livability [Oregon] does pretty well,” says Fix. “It’s usually a big selling point.”

Assuming employers like SolarWorld keep hiring, Oregon’s natural beauty, recreation, quality of life and other pluses will remain a lure to prospective newcomers from across the world as the economy grows ever more global.

Looking ahead to the next decade, Jurjevich points to Census forecasts that U.S. population growth will continue to outpace other industrialized nations and that 60% of the population will live in the South and the West by 2030.

“Combining those two things together,” he says, “I think it’s a pretty safe assumption that the Oregon population is going to continue to grow into the near future.”

Brandon Sawyer is the research editor for Oregon Business. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



 

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Editor's Letter: Power Play

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014

There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda


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