According to Gallup, 85% of the world’s one billion full-time employees are unhappy at work.
While there are a number of reasons that contribute towards job dissatisfaction, a toxic work environment can have a significant impact on an employee’s performance, not to mention their physical and mental health.
But identifying red flags before accepting a job offer can be difficult; companies often sell themselves as a model workplace, when in reality, their inner workings are hugely problematic.
How to Identify a Toxic Work Environment
Today’s graphic comes to us from resume.io and it illustrates the 15 warning signs to look out for before, during, and after a job interview.
Lifting the Corporate Veil
A toxic work environment diminishes productivity by breeding a culture of discrimination, disorganization, bullying, and may even be fueled by unethical or selfish motivations.
Luckily, prospective employees can avoid 40 hours of torment a week by probing the company’s culture before signing on the dotted line. Here is a list of things to look out for:
Before the Interview
For better or worse, first impressions matter. Although excitement levels may be high, it’s important to pay attention to potential missteps, even before the interview starts.
- Vague job description: There should be clarity around the roles and responsibilities associated with the job, even if it is a new role in the company.
- Negative reviews on Glassdoor: Company review platforms are quickly becoming an indispensable tool for jobseekers who are interested in learning more about previous and current employees’ experiences.
- It took a long time to arrange an interview: Companies should show respect for the interviewee by getting back to them in a timely manner.
- Forgetting interviews: This could suggest that either the company has serious communication issues, or they do not prioritize interviewing potential employees.
- The interview starts late: Punctuality is not only expected from the person being interviewed, the interviewer should also be on time.
During the Interview
Adrenaline may be pumping when the interviewee is in the hot seat, but it’s crucial that they take stock of how the interviewers are conducting themselves.
- Unprepared interviewers: If the interview lacks structure, this could signal a disorganized team and a lack of clear expectations for the role.
- No interest in listening: Both parties need to put their best foot forward in an interview, to make sure that the interviewee’s personality and skill set aligns with the company, and vice versa.
- Authoritarian interviewer: This may indicate a lack of respect for employees.
- Inability to communicate company values: If company values are embodied by employees, then they should be top of mind and easily communicated.
- Questions are skimmed over: Companies should be transparent and be willing to provide comprehensive answers to any questions an interviewee may have.
After the Interview
In addition to assessing their own performance, interviewees should give careful consideration to how the entire interview experience went.
- Short interview: Either the company has already chosen another candidate, or they are desperate to fill the role as quickly as possible.
- Quiet workspace: A lack of teamwork or fearful employees could be the culprit for a silent office.
- No office tour: Companies should always give prospective employees a glimpse into what their day-to-day could look like by showing them around and introducing them to the team.
- Job offer was given on the day of the interview: The company could be trying to restrict the interviewee doing further research into the company, or simply filling the role as quickly as possible.
- Delayed decision-making: Failing to get back to someone who has done an interview shows a lack of respect for their time or disorganization on the company’s end.
It’s also worth mentioning that mistakes can be made by anyone, so it is perhaps not helpful to scrutinize companies for small errors in judgement when most of the experience has been positive.
Regardless, if there are any looming uncertainties, it is up to the person being interviewed to ask.
Finding the Courage to Ask Questions
When it comes to interviews, questioning the culture of the company is just as important as questioning the interviewee on their knowledge and skills.
“He who asks a question may be a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask questions, remains a fool forever.”
—Ancient Chinese proverb
Switching jobs is rarely an easy process, especially when jobseekers have come up against unforeseen challenges as a result of COVID-19.
But it is more important than ever for people to do their due diligence, and be brave enough to ask tough questions. Otherwise, they may have to repeat the cycle all over again—much sooner than they would have thought.
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30 Years of Gun Manufacturing in America
The U.S. has produced nearly 170 million firearms over the past three decades. Here are the numbers behind America’s gun manufacturing sector.
30 Years of Gun Manufacturing in America
While gun sales have been brisk in recent years, the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 was a boon for the gun industry.
From 2010-2019, an average of 13 million guns were sold legally in the U.S. each year. In 2020 and 2021, annual gun sales sharply increased to 20 million.
While the U.S. does import millions of weapons each year, a large amount of firearms sold in the country were produced domestically. Let’s dig into the data behind the multi-billion dollar gun manufacturing industry in America.
Gun Manufacturing in the United States
According to a recent report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the U.S. has produced nearly 170 million firearms over the past three decades, with production increasing sharply in recent years.
America’s gunmakers produce a wide variety of firearms, but they’re generally grouped into five categories; pistols, rifles, shotguns, revolvers, and everything else.
Below is a breakdown of firearms manufactured in the country over the past 30 years, by type:
|Year||Pistols||Rifles||Revolvers||Shotguns||Misc. Firearms||Total Firearms|
Pistols (36%) and rifles (35%) are the dominant categories, and over time, the former has become the most commonly produced firearm type.
In 2001, pistols accounted for 21% of firearms produced. Today, nearly half of all firearms produced are pistols.
Who is Producing America’s Firearms?
There are a wide variety of firearm manufacturing companies in the U.S., but production is dominated by a few key players.
Here are the top 10 gunmakers in America, which collectively make up 70% of production:
|Rank||Firearm Manufacturer||Guns Produced (2016-2020)||Share of total|
|1||Smith & Wesson Corp||8,218,199||17.2%|
|2||Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc||8,166,448||17.1%|
|3||Sig Sauer Inc||3,660,629||7.7%|
|5||0 F Mossberg & Sons Inc||2,223,241||4.7%|
|6||Taurus International Manufacturing||1,996,121||4.2%|
|7||WM C Anderson Inc||1,816,625||3.8%|
|9||Henry RAC Holding Corp||1,378,544||2.9%|
|10||JIE Capital Holdings / Enterprises||1,258,969||2.6%|
One-third of production comes from two publicly-traded parent companies: Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ: SWBI), and Sturm, Ruger & Co. (NYSE: RGR)
Some of these players are especially dominant within certain types of firearms. For example:
- 58% of pistols were made by Smith & Wesson, Ruger, and SIG SAUER (2008–2018)
- 45% of rifles were made by Remington*, Ruger, and Smith & Wesson (2008–2018)
*In 2020, Remington filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and its assets were divided and sold to various buyers. The Remington brand name is now owned by Vista Outdoor (NYSE: VSTO)
The Geography of Gun Manufacturing
Companies that manufacture guns hold a Type 07 license from the ATF. As of 2020, there are more than 16,000 Type 07 licensees across the United States.
Below is a state-level look at where the country’s licensees are located:
|State||Licenses (2000)||Licenses (2020)||Population||Licenses per 100,000 pop. (2020)|
These manufacturers are located all around the country, so these numbers are somewhat reflective of population. Unsurprisingly, large states like Texas and Florida have the most licensees.
Sorting by the number of licensees per 100,000 people offers a different point of view. By this measure, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho come out on top.
If recent sales and production trends are any indication, these numbers may only continue to grow.
The World’s Largest Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
Real estate investment trusts (REITS) are a simple alternative for investors looking to gain exposure to real estate.
The World’s Largest Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
Real estate is widely regarded as an attractive asset class for investors.
This is because it offers several benefits like diversification (due to less correlation with stocks), monthly income, and protection from inflation. The latter is known as “inflation hedging”, and stems from real estate’s tendency to appreciate during periods of rising prices.
Affordability, of course, is a major barrier to investing in most real estate. Property markets around the world have reached bubble territory, making it incredibly difficult for people to get their foot in the door.
Thankfully, there are easier ways of gaining exposure. One of these is purchasing shares in a real estate investment trust (REIT), a type of company that owns and operates income-producing real estate, and is most often publicly-traded.
What Qualifies as REIT?
To qualify as a REIT in the U.S., a company must meet several criteria:
- Invest at least 75% of assets in real estate, cash , or U.S. Treasuries
- Derive at least 75% of gross income from rents, interest on mortgages, or real estate sales
- Pay at least 90% of taxable income in the form of shareholder dividends
- Be a taxable corporation
- Be managed by a board of directors or trustees
- Have at least 100 shareholders after one year of operations
- Have no more than half its shares held by five or fewer people
Investing in a REIT is similar to purchasing shares of any other publicly-traded company. There are also exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds which may hold a basket of REITs. Lastly, note that some REITs are private, meaning they aren’t traded on stock exchanges.
The Top 10 by Market Cap
Here are the world’s 10 largest publicly-traded REITs, as of March 25, 2022.
|REIT||Market Cap||Dividend Yield||Property Type|
|Prologis (NYSE: PLD)||$116.4B||2.03%||Industrial|
|American Tower (NYSE: AMT)||$109.8B||2.38%||Communications|
|Crown Castle (NYSE: CCI||$76.8B||3.35%||Communications|
|Public Storage (NYSE: PSA)||$65.9B||2.14%||Self-storage|
|Equinix (NYSE: EQIX)||$64.4B||1.74%||Data centers|
|Simon Property Group (NYSE: SPG)||$48.9B||5.07%||Malls|
|Welltower (NYSE: WELL)||$43.0B||2.58%||Healthcare|
|Digital Realty (NYSE: DLR)||$40.1B||3.55%||Data centers|
|Realty Income (NYSE: O)||$40.1B||4.44%||Commercial|
|AvalonBay Communities (NYSE: AVB)||$34.6B||2.62%||Residential|
As shown above, REITs focus on different sectors of the market. Understanding their differences is an important step to consider before making an investment.
For example, Prologis manages the world’s largest portfolio of logistics real estate. This includes warehouses, distribution centers, and other supply chain facilities around the globe. It’s reasonable to assume that this REIT would benefit from further growth in ecommerce—more on this near the end.
Realty Income, on the other hand, owns a portfolio of over 11,100 commercial real estate properties in the U.S. and Europe. It rents these properties out to major brands like Walgreens and 7-Eleven, which together account for 8.1% of the REIT’s annual income.
More Than Just Buildings
Cell towers and data centers may not seem like “real estate”, but they are both critical pieces of modern infrastructure that take up land.
REITs that focus on these sectors include American Tower and Crown Castle, which own wireless communications assets in the U.S. and abroad. They are likely to benefit from the increased adoption of 5G networks and the Internet of Things (IoT).
On the other hand, Equinix and Digital Realty are focused on data centers, a fast growing industry that is benefitting from digitalization. Both of these REITs work with major tech firms such as Amazon and Google.
Trends to Watch
The demand for real estate can be heavily influenced by overarching trends found around the world. One of these is population growth and urbanization, which has drastically pushed up the cost of housing in many cities around the world.
There’s also the rising prevalence of ecommerce, which has triggered a boom in demand for warehouse space. This is best captured by Amazon’s massive growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which the company doubled the number of its warehouse facilities.
Globally, ecommerce accounts for just 19.6% of total retail sales. Should that figure continue to rise, industrial real estate prices could be in store for robust, long-term growth.
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