How the Recession Has Reshaped the Job Market: The Skills Employers Are Looking For
Written by: Debbie A. Duran, MBA.
November 11th, 2010
The recession has significantly impacted the job market and has reshaped it. The total number of job openings remains low at 3.2 million; however, prior to the recession, it was 4.4 million. The number of job openings has surged to 37% in the past year and yet the unemployment rate has risen. It probably does not make much sense, but companies are finding it hard to fill some vacancies that do exist (Rugaber, 2010).
One of the reasons the above mentioned problem exists is simply because employees are now expected to have more skill set in order to do more work. For example, a supervisor may now have to deal with his/her own conflict among employees, oppose to sending the employees to sending an employee to the HR department to see the HR manager. Layoffs may have caused the HR manager to assume more responsibilities; consequently, certain minor HR functions are delegated to the department managers and supervisors. In this scenario, a typical supervisor or manager now needs to have conflict resolution skills.
The Society for Human Resources Management has recently released some post recession job statistics, indicating that the Manufacturing and Construction industries are the two hardest hit industries during the recession. The industries that are currently hiring full-time employees at a high percentage are: The Federal Gov; High Technology; State & Local Government; and the highest are the Health Industry. (SHRM, 2010)
There are not may specialize jobs or a great Division of Labor in the workforce anymore. A single person is now tasked with doing the work of two or three people, and if you refuse, there is always at least ten people, willing and able to take your place in this economic climate. The bottom line, there are jobs available (not as many as before) however; higher skill levels are needed to assume these rolls. For example, if you are a File Clerk, you may want to go back to school to learn to type and use the computer more effectively and efficiently. If you are a Supervisor, you may want to learn how to effectively learn how to resolve conflict, lead and motivate employees as well as your usage of technology.
Have you ever looked at a job Description and say “I am not even going to bother apply”, the truth is, if you realistically meet some components of the criteria, then by all means, you should apply for the job. A Job Description is merely the minimum qualifications, skills, and ability to do the job, but as a candidate, you may have some other “transferable skills” that can be substituted. For example, you may have been working as an Accountant for years, and you were laid off, and you now are having a tough time getting a job in your area of expertise. Sometimes you have to think and go outside the box, and this means that you can transfer your number crunching, analytical skills in another field. For instance, you could look for employment in the Federal government or State/Local government as a Policy Analyst or any type of analytical position that requires high analysis of data or numbers. Who knows, you may like this new area and choose to stay after the economy rebounds or you may choose to return to your field.
According to Quintcareers (2010) most of the skills we acquire over careers are transferable and can be placed into five broad skill areas, which are then sub-divided into more specific job skills:
1. Communication covers skillful expression, transmission and interpretation of knowledge and ideas:
Þ Speaking effectively
Þ Writing concisely
Þ Listening attentively
Þ Providing feedback
2. Research and Planning covers the search for specific knowledge and the ability to conceptualize future needs and solutions for meeting said needs:
Þ Forecasting ,predicting
Þ Indentifying problems
Þ Identifying resources
Þ Gathering information
Þ Solving problems
Þ Developing strategies
3. Human Relations covers the use of interpersonal skills for resolving conflict, relating to people:
Þ Listening effectively
Þ Being Sensitive
Þ Giving credit and acknowledgement
4. Management and Leadership covers the ability to supervise, direct and guide individuals and groups in the completion of task and fulfillment of goals:
Þ Being proactive and taking the initiative
Þ Managing groups
Þ Delegation responsibilities
Þ Teaching/ Coaching
Þ Promoting and facilitating change
Þ Managing conflict
5. Work Survival- covers the day-to-day skills that assist in promoting productivity and work satisfaction:
Þ Being punctual and managing time
Þ Organizing and prioritizing
Þ Meeting goals
Þ Accepting responsibility
Þ Cooperating with others
With all the above mentioned skill set, you are bound to have acquired a few along your job/career. While you may not fit perfectly into a particular position, you can transfer your skills to new positions.
So, you are classified as “over qualified”, I think being in categorized as this is like not having qualifications at all. Because of the economic climate, the job market is may not be filled with jobs that requires a Doctorate or Masters degree, so what should you do? The answer is quiet simple, have two versions of your resume. You need a version of your resume with your bachelor’s degree and may need to taper down some of your experiences (if necessary). However, you still need your original version of your resume where you can show of your PH.D or Masters degree. Unfortunately, there are more people than there are jobs and employers will sometimes select the candidate that they can get more from for less. (Although, this is not always the case).
In summation, the job market is not what is used to be where we could march out there with qualifications and get a job. We have to be innovative and be prepared to reinvent ourselves repeatedly in order to get a job. Technology has revolutionized how we live our lives and the recession has reshaped our workforce and to remain competitive, we have to think outside the box to stay in the employment game.
Rugaber, C. S. (2010, October 10). New Job Skills Required: Unemploymed Find Old Jobs Now Require More Skills. Retrieved November 8, 2010, from Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com
SHRM (2010, March 29). Post- Recession Hiring SHRM Poll. Retrieved November 8, 2010 from SHRM: http://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Articles/Pages/PostRecessionHiring.aspx
Quintessentialcareers (nd). Marketable Job Skills Can Be Broken Down Into Five basic Categories, That Job-Seekers Can Use In Showing Applicable Skills From One Job/Career To The Next. Retrieved November 11, 2010 from Quintcareers: http://www.quintcareers.com/transferable_skills_set.html