Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Q4 Job Market Update

In my last Update I predicted an up-swing in September. This was primarily based on two factors. The summer slow down was coming to an end and the economy was recovering and would promote job growth. The reality is that there has not been an up-swing, more like a small bump from the bottom.

Companies are still laying off workers to get to profitability. The predictions on a jobless recovery early in 2009 seem to be on the mark. Why? - companies are looking for profitability and are shedding human capital and avoiding projects to get there. Other companies are being acquired thus eliminating employers altogether. The companies that are growing are selectively hiring but doing it cautiously. The Mercury news article earlier this months verifies this activity ( http://www.siliconvalley.com/the-valley/ci_13766368).

What is in store for us is hard to know. At this point we are in a better employment market than in July and August but not good enough to provide job seekers multiple opportunities.

My advice at this time is to be flexible in compensation (be open to a small reduction in salary) and look at any role that will help your long term career goals. It does not need to be a step up in responsibility, it can be a role that provides experiences that will round out your over all background thus making you more marketable in two to four years when the market is much better.

There is a good chance that new opportunities will slow down to a halt in middle of December. Now is the time to look at all options otherwise you may be in the same position mid to late January when everyone is back from holidays and caught up with their work.

Where should you be looking for a job? Use your network to provide any and all resources that may help. I look to the moneytree (https://www.pwcmoneytree.com/MTPublic/ns/nav.jsp?page=industry) for investments into growth industry segments. The greatest industry investments in Q3, 2009 were - Biotechnology/Medical Device - 32%, Industrial/Energy - 18% and Software 13%. Businesses in mature markets may not be growing but have been hiring and upgrading their talent. These are very good employers with good career paths. Something to think about if you are looking for a more "secure or predictable" employment situation.

Happy hunting!

Bryon McDougall