Job Market Realities for Job Seekers as the Economy Recovers and Extended Unemployment Benefits End
Many employees have learned new skills by working remotely for the first time and re-defining their goals in terms of work/life balance. Employers will need to be conscious of those employees who were able to find a work/life balance that improved both their personal needs and professional satisfaction. A recent study by Microsoft showed that more than 70% of workers want to have the option of working remotely with flexible hours. If their current position is not going to provide this environment, they will seek other opportunities.
For many, a return to the office is coming. The traditional office is going to have to compete harder to win over employees who have found a better balance in their lives. As Asher Raphael stated in an article on Glassdoor, if you’re looking for a fulfilling career, there’s no better time than now. Working through a crisis doesn’t build character; it reveals character – in people and businesses.
During uncertainty and change, companies can no longer hide behind their awards, brands behind their logos, leaders behind their titles. It’s easy for companies to be the best place to work during good times, but we have not been living in good times. Employees’ physical health and safety, financial well-being, and future security are now more important than before. As companies navigate these challenges, their actual values are on full display. Job seekers should take advantage of this unique opportunity.
Bottom-line: Job seekers that have learned new skills and have well defined personal and career goals are going to be in a position of power.
During the peak of Covid 19, the federal government enhanced unemployment by as much as $600 per month on top of each specific state’s unemployment benefit package. Many people were making more money on unemployment than when they were working. A short time ago, nine states were engaged in discussions to eliminate the extended federal benefits citing labor shortages being a drag on economic recovery. Some have eliminated them already. As of this writing, that number has now reached 24 states that will be eliminating the pandemic-related extended benefits shortly and more are sure to follow.
Additionally, ALL states will most likely be eliminating the extended benefits by September 2021. Once that happens, there will be a huge number of people re-entering the workforce. In fact, it is starting to happen now in many professional-level employment sectors. Remember, job seekers are not only people coming back from unemployment. People that did not lose their jobs and have been working the entire time are entering the job market as well to try and secure a better opportunity.
The point is - eventually unemployment ends. Then what? For many, that is going to be sooner rather than later. Here are two questions to consider:
1) Should I simply remain on unemployment or aggressively seek a new opportunity even if I am making more money on unemployment than I did in my previous position – keeping in mind extended benefits are ending for everyone shortly.
2) If I remain on unemployment, at what point have I been out of the workforce too long? During this time other job seekers are gaining new skills, re-defining their career goals, and entering the job market now. Some have already secured a new position. Are you missing the boat?
Bottom-line: The competition is going to be fierce. As the economy begins to come back – and it is – power shifts to the job seeker with well-defined goals and marketable skills. This is a good time to review both your personal and career goals, update your resume, and refine your interviewing skills.
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