The unemployment rate in the United States, at 3.7 percent, is the lowest it’s been in 49 years — but there’s never a guarantee that anyone will keep their jobs. There are increasing worries about a recession in 2019 or 2020, and that has investors and job-holders understandably nervous.
Demographer Cheryl Russell plucked data from the 2016 General Social Survey and found that Americans would fight tooth and nail to stay employed, even if that meant retraining, taking less pay or even moving out of the country.
- 87 percent would learn new skills
- 74 percent would accept temporary employment
- 60 percent would commute farther
- 56 percent would take lower pay
- 40 percent would move within the U.S.
- 17 percent would move to another country
Many Americans already have made one or more of these sacrifices to be employed, but what do these really look like in the real world? Let’s break it down:
Learning new skills
After several years on the same job, many workers haven’t learned the latest and most relevant skills to make themselves a strong candidate when a layoff thrusts them onto the job market. It can be a scary predicament. But by remaining confident, enthusiastic and hard-working, new skills can be learned well and often faster than you might think.
ZipRecruiter details how you can learn valuable new skills in 15 minutes per day or less and refers to neurosurgeon Josh Kaufman, who says many key skills can be learned in 20 hours or less. Business Insider gives a shout-out to “4-Hour Chef” Timothy Ferriss, who provides his strategies for learning any new skill quickly and easily. Among them — pick the brain of someone who’s been doing or teaching the desired skill for years.
Are you over 50? Can’t teach an old dog new tech tricks, right? Wrong! Read this Job-Hunt article for an enthusiastic confidence boost to get on the track of acquiring new skills and becoming as employable as possible.
But what skills are companies looking for? The Balance Careers website talks about the importance of “soft skills,” interpersonal skills and attributes such as teamwork, leadership and communication. Whatever job you are going for, make sure to show that you have these in your skill set. And if you don’t have them already, then there are plenty of ways to gain them, such as “skillsharing.”
Of course, there also are the “hard skills” that companies are looking for — network security, cloud computing and data presentation, to name a few, and tons of online courses you can take to learn them. And what could be more convenient, and often cheaper, than learning online? Coding, learning a new language, Photoshop … So much learning is available via the internet and can give your resume a big boost for a job hunt or to move up in your current position.
‘Tis the season — for temporary employment. The holiday shopping rush also means that stores need thousands of seasonal workers. Macy’s, for example, says more than a third of its workers are seasonal from October through December.
Taking less money
You’ve spent years working hard, racking up accomplishments, being a great team player, so you should keep rising the pay scale ladder, right? Unfortunately, in an economy with stagnating wages, you might have to take a job for less money.
The Cheat Sheet money and career website lists five reasons for accepting a pay cut, including the chance to switch careers. Money Crashers also has a list, including getting more work-life balance. And sometimes you just need a job, even if your paychecks are going to be smaller.
Moving for work
Will relocating push your career further? Get you out of a rut? The Muse has four questions to ask yourself if you’re faced with this decision. Forbes has 20 questions to consider — What are you leaving behind? What’s the weather like? Will you even like the job? — before deciding to stay or go. Interestingly, fewer people are moving for jobs these days; 11 percent in the past decade compared with nearly 20 percent the decade before that, according to MoneyWatch.
Most of us would agree that having a job is better than not having one, but how to do that in a changing economy and changing job landscape? The key advice from career and job experts is to keep learning new skills, keep yourself relevant in an ever-changing world of work.
How are you feeling about your career right now? Are you secure in your job and the economy? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.