By Kevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck
National Certified Career Counselors and Life Calling CoachesSM
Employer optimism is rising. CareerBuilder and USA TODAY's most recent nationwide survey of more than 2,700 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries found that an increased number of employers project they will hire more workers in the next three months. In addition, fewer employers expect having to lay off workers.
While the job market is gradually improving, you still need to be strategic in getting your next position. If you are currently looking for a job or wanting to make a career transition, being aware of current job trends can give you an edge in your job search. The survey identified some key trends that can help you get your next job (or keep your current one).
Six Employment Trends
- Hiring Contract Workers - About 25% of employers will most likely hire contract or freelance workers instead of permanent staff. Contract work can be a good way of getting your foot in the door of a company. Thirteen percent of employers noted that they likely would offer permanent positions to qualified contract workers.
- Creating Internships - As a cost-effective measure in tight economic times, 24% of employers are also adding internship positions in their organizations. If you can make it work financially, an internship can be a great way of gaining career experience in a new field or new company. Interns who prove to be valuable workers will often be offered a job when positions open, or even have a job created specifically for them.
- Hiring for Social Media Responsibilities - Businesses are recognizing that social media has changed the way they reach their customers. Nearly 10% of businesses plan to add jobs and responsibilities related to Web 2.0. (Web 2.0 refers to web applications that allow users to interact.) Also, 13% of companies are going to add social media management to current employees' responsibilities. If you have skills in this area, adding Web 2.0 responsibilities to your job may increase your value to your employer.
- Adding Bilingual Staff - Companies want to broaden their consumer appeal. One-third (33%) of employers plan to hire bilingual candidates. One-half (50%) of hiring managers said that they would likely choose the bilingual candidate when deciding between two applicants who were otherwise equally qualified. If you already have a good base in a second language, consider investing time in becoming sufficiently fluent to qualify as being bilingual.
- Replacing Lower-Performing Employees - This economy has created a buyer's market for employers. As companies look to the future, and forecast employment changes, 28% of companies indicated they are planning to bring in higher performing employees to replace lower-performing ones. For some employees, this trend should be a wake-up call to make sure they are giving 100% to their employer, and looking for ways to add value to the organization.
- Retaining Quality Employees - As the economy improves, there may be more of a seller's market for top performing employees. Thirty-two percent of employers anticipate that some of their top performers may leave their organizations for greener pastures in the next few months. Businesses are strategizing how they can keep their talent: 14% of companies are offering more flexible work arrangements; 14% are investing more in training; 10% are promising future raises or promotions; 9% are offering more performance-based incentives such as trips and bonuses; and, 5% are giving a higher title without the salary. If you would like some additional perks in your job, look at what you can do to be seen as a top performer. (Sometimes that is as simple as making sure your boss knows all that you do and have achieved during the performance period being evaluated. Your boss may be so busy doing her job, she may not be fully aware of all that you contribute.)
Summary: Staying aware of job market trends can help you strategize more effectively for obtaining or retaining a good job. Professional associations, business magazines and periodicals such as the Wall Street Journal (in print or on the Web) and career-related web sites can help you quickly learn and tap into trends that will make a difference in the course of your career.
Excerpts from Live Your Calling (2005) by Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck. Used by permission of Jossey-Bass, a Wiley imprint.