We’re just coming off a month in which the stock market actually posted healthy gains while the federal economic stimulus money is beginning to flow to its intended targets. But does that mean it’s time for optimism to start flowing back into the half-empty glass of job security?
Maybe not quite yet, if you believe the results of two surveys that were released this week.
Management consulting firm Hay Group says 34% of U.S. organizations it surveyed plan to lower staffing levels this year (up from 19% in November). Also, employers are turning to wage freezes or modest salary increases to reduce labor costs. The survey also found that 37% of U.S. organizations have frozen employees’ wages.
Meanwhile, business consultancy Bain & Company reported that 59% of executives interviewed said they plan to trim their workforces this year — a jump from the 34% who laid off staff in 2008.
So, no matter which set of numbers you focus on, signs point to more job losses as the year drags on.
If you think there’s even the slightest chance your job could be among them, act now!
We’ve addressed this issue before, but there are four points that bear repeating:
- Take a thorough inventory of your skills, and determine how those skills might fit into a different role, possibly in a different industry. Make sure you add your current job and latest accomplishments to your resume.
- Look around for a few job openings you might be interested in, just to get an idea of what the employers are looking for. By doing this, you can examine your skills and accomplishments and how they might fit into those roles.
- Practice writing cover letters. The cover letter is your opening pitch to an employer, so you want it to show how you are the best person for the job. Write a few practice cover letters for hypothetical openings so you can zero in on what you want to say to market yourself when it’s time to apply for a real job opening.
- Build your network of professional contacts. If you don’t know many people in your profession, get out there now — online and in-person — and mingle! If you know a lot of people, meet more! The more people you know, the better your chance of meeting someone who can lead you to that next job when you need it. And don’t forget to offer to help them if they need it. If you show that you’re available to offer your help and expertise, it will be easier to get some back in return.
Are you concerned you might lose your job? Are you doing anything to prepare for it? Share your story and ideas with us below.
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