Market Trends

Job market statistics were released this morning showing that 138,000 jobs were created in April and the unemployment rate is holding steady at 4.7%.

Like other markets, the labor market is a creature of supply and demand. Demand was high in the early part of this decade and supply was low so job seekers controlled the market. Then 9/11 came along not to mention Enron and other debacles to slow the economy. Things changed and suddenly the employer was in the driver’s seat in the employment market.

Like other markets, the labor market is cyclical. Now we are starting to see a more evening out in the job market with employers finding it more difficult to find qualified candidates and job seekers enjoying more options in the market. That makes it better for the job seeker because it creates more leverage and options.

A recent survey conducted by RHI, Inc. and Careerbuilder showed that hiring managers report finding qualified candidates to be their biggest hiring challenge. Twenty-five percent report they are able to now offer better compensation packages than a year ago and approximately thirty-three percent say they expect budgets for compensation to increase over the next twelve months.

That’s good news for job seekers. The same study also reported that twenty-eight percent of employees say they are currently seeking new positions and about half say they will be looking for a new job within the next three years. Churn in the market is coming but with a solid majority staying put in their current positions and with employers looking for talent, it looks like now is a good time to look for a job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics still lists IT and computer-related jobs as the ones with the best prospects for the coming years.

The same survey reported that about half of the employees said it was hard to find a job last year and the same half still view the market as challenging today. Job search is always challenging but can be less difficult when armed with the right tools such as a killer resume and cover letter, interview coaching, and a great portfolio. I liken it to climbing a mountain: there isn’t anyone who would say mountain climbing is easy, but some find it easier than others. They are better prepared physically, mentally, and have better equipment.

Time is also a factor in job search. Time wasted with a poor resume translates into opportunities lost. It is very important to start off on the right foot in the job market rather than wasting a lot of effort and potential contacts by entering into the search unprepared. Get all your job search materials and plans laid out before you begin and you will enjoy a more successful and shorter job search.

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