An improving hiring picture as the economy picks up steam is doing more than putting many people back to work.

For example, the Triangle Networking Group, which was formed initially to support unemployed technology workers, is changing into a different kind of networking organization.

“The information received from our members confirms our directions of transitioning TNG from a support group for the unemployed to a true networking group,” says Bob Broda, managing director of TNG. “Many of our members are now finding employment and they strongly desire to maintain the relationships they have built during the search process.”

TNG has some 700 members.

TNG used software from Empliant, located in Chapel Hill, to survey its members. Empliant provides web-native, employee self-reliant solutions, including tools for automated on-line data collection, knowledge-base delivery, interactive transactions, and administration, through a standard web browser.

Empliant software helps

On average, TNG members had been unemployed for eight months on four months severance. Thirty six percent were collecting unemployment and on average, had gone five months without insurance. The great majority had not sold their houses to downsize, but more than half were actively seeking jobs outside the area.

TNG had conducted a similar survey in March and used the results to report information to local politicians as part of the Employment Outreach Coalition. In that survey, results were similar to the September data. One area of difference was that 55 percent were collecting unemployment and, on average, had been with a job for 11 months. An even greater number (60 percent) were actively seeking jobs beyond the Triangle. In both surveys, more than three quarters said they had health insurance.

While the information is useful, the surveys conducted by TNG did not always generate a 100 percent response rate by those asked, and therefore, do not completely tell the whole story.

“First, no survey is statistically accurate … people only respond if they want to,” Broda says. “Also, the membership has a high degree of IT and telecom concentration, so again, it does not reflect the entire community.”

Nevertheless, Broda indicated using Empliant’s survey tool made conducting the TNG survey in September go much more smoothly than the March survey, especially when it came to gathering the data.

“Empliant’s tool is extremely flexible and easy to construct surveys, but the real benefit is in the collecting of the results,” Broda said. “In March, we conducted the entire survey by email and tallied the results manually; with the Empliant tool, we simply waited for the survey to be over and ran the report.”

New program

As part of its new emphasis, TNG will feature Jim Grudner, chief technology officer of First Citizens Bank, as its guest speaker at a networking event on Nov. 12 at Procom Services, 300 RDU Center Drive Suite 114, Morrisville. Grudner was chief technology officer at Peopleclick before taking the First Citizens position. Grudner will talk about his own job search and discuss tips on the current job market.

TNG will meet on the second Wednesday of each month, Broda said.
To attend the Nov. 12 event, please RSVP at