Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How the Economy is or is not affecting Job Seekers

MSN Careers is one of my favorite resources for information and advice on the job search and all related activities. This article is no exception. It is an interesting look at the current market and the expectations of job seekers.

Job Seekers Not Stifled by Economy
By Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder.com

Although 2009's hiring has started slow and looks to continue down the same path, many workers aren't putting their job searches on hold. According to CareerBuilder.com's survey "2009 Job Forecast," 19 percent of workers intend to find a new job this year. The same amount plan to leave their current job by the end of 2009.

Despite the struggling economy and an increasingly competitive job market, workers haven't lost sight of their career goals. Forty-seven percent of workers planning to find a new job this year cite better compensation and/or career advancement opportunities as their primary reasons.

Not all workers looking for a new position are focused on earning higher salaries or career advancement. Eight percent of these workers want to find a work environment where they feel appreciated. Another 8 percent want to venture into a completely different career than their current ones. Other workers are concerned with the employers' social responsibility, as 5 percent of workers want to belong to a company that is making a difference. Of employees leaving their jobs this year, 4 percent are ready to become retirees and leave the work force entirely.

Even workers happy in their current jobs are willing to consider promising prospects that come their way. Consider that 70 percent of surveyed workers are satisfied with their jobs; yet 80 percent of workers claim they aren't actively looking for a new job, but they would be open to one if the right opportunity presents itself.

Satisfaction and loyalty -- Two key factors that influence job seekers to leave their current positions and look for better horizons are job satisfaction and company loyalty. The following elements affect both satisfaction and loyalty, according to surveyed workers:

Pay -- Thirty-five percent of workers did not receive a raise in 2008. Of workers who did receive raises, 16 percent were given an increase of 2 percent or less. Sixty-three percent of workers did not receive a bonus last year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 25 percent of workers are either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their pay.

Career advancement -- Satisfaction levels are equally low for workers concerned with career advancement opportunities. Twenty-six percent of workers are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the opportunities available at their current jobs. In 2008, 80 percent of workers did not ask for or receive promotions, and 20 percent thought they were overlooked.

Work/life balance -- Eighteen percent of workers are dissatisfied with their current balance of personal and work lives. Possibly contributing to this dissatisfaction is the fact that 54 percent of workers say that their workloads have increased over the last six months.

Training/learning -- Many workers looking to improve their skill sets are not finding what they want at their current jobs, as 23 percent of workers express some level of dissatisfaction with the training and learning opportunities available to them.

These qualities not only impact how workers view the jobs they have now but also the employers they would consider working for in the future. Thirty-two percent of workers consider a company's stability and longevity in the market the most important attribute an employer can have. Ample opportunities for career advancement are primary concerns for 21 percent. Good work culture and the ability to offer flexible work schedules also rank high on workers' minds, with 14 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

Job searching in 2009
2009 will be a competitive year for job seekers, considering so many workers are ready to find a new position in the next 12 months. If you're job searching this year, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Be patient. As anxious as you are to find new work, the hiring process is long and sometimes tedious. Twenty percent of employers say they take two months or longer to fill their open positions. Considering the current competition in the job market, employers have more résumés to wade through, thus increasing the amount of time it takes to find the best candidate.

  • Read the job posting. Employers put all the information they want you to know in the job posting. Tailor your résumé to the position by including some of the same keywords and phrases in the job posting. If the employer uses an automated system to scan résumés, yours has a better chance of getting noticed.

  • Get online. Although 23 percent of employers will decrease their recruitment budgets this year, 19 percent will devote more recruitment dollars to online hiring, such as generalist sites, niche boards and local job boards.

    Rosemary Haefner is the vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder.com.