Monday, August 24, 2009

Toward a National Career Development Strategy

I just attended a meeting in Chicago with a number of career development thought and practice leaders. We came together to begin the creation of a national career development strategy. Though we are just at the beginning of a year or longer process, we’ve already put down what we think are some guiding principles for such a strategy.

The first principle is that each of us is fully responsible for our career and work lives. This means, among other things, that we are the owners and drivers of our careers, that regardless of the state of the economy or our particular job, function or industry, we are responsible for actively managing our present and future work lives.

The second principle declares that life-long learning must be embedded in everyone’s work life. This means that each of us needs to have an active learning and development plan in place. Whether this is formal study, reading, observing others, utilizing a career coach, or the myriad other ways of developing ourselves, learning must be a part of how we work each day.

The third principle says that successful work lives happen with the on-going support of others around us. It means that no one achieves success alone and that support can come to us in a number of ways and forms, which may change depending on where we are in our work lives. This implies that there needs to be multiple layers and methods of support, training, coaching, offered willingly by workplaces, educational institutions, community based organizations, and all levels of government to assist people working toward their aspirations, whatever those might be.

A system that integrates responsibility, learning, and support means that everyone will be able to get and keep work over a life-time, and develop the skills necessary to stay employable for as long as they care to and are able to work. Many people have already built these principles into their work lives, but it might be a good time to take another look and to ask the following questions:

1. In what ways am I pro-actively managing my work life?

2. How do I make learning a part of my work day?

3. How am I building the support needed for my short and long term goals?

Best wishes.

Mark Guterman

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Q3 Job Market Update

Not only is this summer in the Bay Area cooler so is the job market. I don't think this is a surprise to anyone out there hunting for a new job. For anyone that will start looking there isn't much to see in August but we anticipate some job growth in September.

Why is the market going to be better in September? First school is back in session meaning the end of summer vacations and the focus on business. Much hiring is budgeted for late Q3 early Q4, hiring managers will be around and eager to complete this task before year end. Second the capital markets have come back which will allow some companies to increase head count in areas that have been neglected by the lack of funds during this recession. The trend I have seen after the last two recessions is the job market lags the capital markets by 3 to 6 months. How much better will the job market get? We don't know.

What should we look for? Last quarter there was a significant jump in investments in alternative energy businesses. There will be job creation in this sector. In addition almost every company is looking to hire someone, these are specific hires for specific needs that are due to turn over, increase compliance requirements and other non-growth factors. Temporary or temporary to hire jobs will become more available as this was a trend when the last two recessions ended.

What should you do if you are seeking a job? You need to use your network and stay on top of job postings to ensure you are in the know when opportunities become available. Find two to three recruiting relationships that can help you. Recruiters have confidential searches and in many cases are told about job openings that are not posted to job boards.

What should you expect if you are hiring someone right now? Most candidates are willing to look at less pay in order to land a job with a solid business, especially one that may be closer to home or provides career growth. Making an offer at the existing base pay or equivalent total compensation is a safe bet in obtaining loyalty and success in the offer process. But don't under pay to try to take advantage of someone who is concerned about finding work. The market will change in the next twelve months, when it does everyone who feels under paid will not turn away a significant increase in income and make a change. You don't want to be repeating the search process in a more competitive candidate market.

I hope this helps!

Happy Hunting,

Bryon McDougall