Today’s job market is fundamentally different than the job market pre-2007. Welcome to the “New Normal” job market of job shortages.
The mass changes in today’s job market weren’t caused by unsustainable real-estate prices, the underlying flaws in the banking system nor the resulting stock market crash. These were just the straws that broke the camel’s back.
It won’t matter who wins November’s elections, the president can’t change these economic forces enough to bring the job market back to the good old days of candidate shortages, making it easy to find jobs. Even if there were no government deficits, the government simply can’t create enough jobs to bring things back to the way they were.
Obama can’t change it, Romney can’t change it, Congress can’t change the transformations in the job market. Thinking that government can create a large enough effect to fix the job market is like believing that government can stop a tsunami. The changes effecting today’s job market are similar to a giant wave, but this wave is reaching every part of America, Europe and it’s starting to hit emerging economies in Asia. This isn’t a problem legislation can change … even if it could, it shouldn’t try to change the wave of productivity causing the revolution taking place within employers.
This isn’t just an American problem. The same mass changes are occurring throughout the industrialized world.
What’s going on in the job market is the after-effect of decades of progress.
No one wants to reverse this progress, we just want to ease the negative aspects of change.
The “New Normal” job market had been forming for many years, caused by global competition and technology that continues to shift industrialized nations from a manufacturing-based economy to an economy based on technology and services.
This should be no surprise … we’ve all seen it coming for years. We’ve had 40+ non-stop years of technological innovation, most of it geared towards making business more productive (translation: doing more with fewer employees). Most of today’s corporate earnings aren’t driven by record demand for goods/services – in most companies profits are being generated by “doing more with less” … increased productivity.
When manufacturers invest in robotic manufacturing and computerized design, you just don’t need as many bodies to build a car. When computers and the web allow employers to shifting repetitive work to low cost labor areas (both inside and outside the US), global competitive markets force this to happen.
Employers have to adapt or die … so do you.
We’re at a crossroads globally, like the US was in the 1930′s, when improved farming technology greatly reduced the need for farm labor – it caused a 10 year long great depression while the majority of the workforce shifted from agriculture to manufacturing. I’m not ready to say that we’re headed towards a repeat, only that there are bigger forces than politics shaping the job market.
The best way to ease the negative effects of the fundamental changes that have taken place in today’s job market is to understand, anticipate and adapt.
There are four basic ways to succeed in today’s job market of job shortages:
- Restructure Your Job Search: Employers don’t make the same hiring decisions in today’s job market as they did pre-2007. If you can’t understand how employer hiring decisions and processes have drastically changed, then you won’t see the need to change how you search. The old random job search methods no longer work in a job market of job shortages, ATS pre-screening and mass competition.
- Hire Yourself: The “New Normal” features fewer employees, but more independent consultants. Employers fearing loss of expertise owned talent by hiring full-time employees. Today’s employer realizes that Google is our collective memory, so it’s less important to own talent. Instead, employers rent talent by increasing reliance on consultants, freelancers and temps to handle peak workflows and special projects.
- Do Something Different: It’s difficult to convince an employer to take a chance on you changing careers. If you’re unable to convince an employer to teach you a new career, just do it yourself. You’ll find it difficult starting out, like all startups are difficult. It may mean you won’t earn anything for a few months. Then again, no one’s paying you to search for a job, are they?
- Blame Yourself: Blaming government, politicians, CEOs, employers, the economy or blaming anyone else is pointless. If you’re expecting anyone to change things back to the “good old days” of candidate shortages and easy job searches, you’re dreaming. But the good news is that the same internet that increased productivity also gave you dozens of tools you can use to change your job search and differentiate yourself from the masses.
Thinking that you’ve already adapted? If you’re using the same resume, mass emailing, random networking, once-size-fits-all, generalist branding, waiting for jobs to be advertised or finding most of your opportunities on job boards/company web sites, then you haven’t yet adapted to the “New Normal”.
According to Seth Godin, ” When everyone has a laptop and connection to the world, then everyone owns a factory. Instead of coming together physically, we have the ability to come together virtually, to earn attention, to connect labor and resources, to deliver value.” (from ” The forever recession (and the coming revolution)” at http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/09/the-forever-recession.html).
If you’re considering bootstrapping yourself into a new job, there are a few things in your favor. There’s never been lower start-up expenses for bootstrapped businesses. You don’t need an office, you don’t need a phone, you don’t need advertising. All you need is a laptop and an internet connection.
Start blaming yourself … transform your job search, set aggressive goals and get mad at yourself if you don’t meet them. Re-examine your job search strategies and don’t be afraid to throw out tradition, replacing it with job search innovation.
Seth Godin, a bit later in his article shared: “This means we may need to change our expectations, change our training and change how we engage with the future. Still, it’s better than fighting for a status quo that is no longer. The good news is clear: every forever recession is followed by a lifetime of growth from the next thing …
… No one is demanding that we like the change, but the sooner we see it and set out to become an irreplaceable linchpin, the faster the pain will fade, as we get down to the work that needs to be (and now can be) done.
This revolution is at least as big as the last one, and the last one changed everything.” (from ” The forever recession (and the coming revolution)” at http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/09/the-forever-recession.html).-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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