Job Opportunities in Tough Times

Career Coaching

Make no mistake about it. These are turbulent times. The winds of change are sweeping through the workplace. Managers and their troops alike are expected to learn new skills and to accomplish more with fewer resources. Pressures are ramping up on employers to improve their return on investments.

In order to survive in this environment employers are slashing their overhead costs by cutting back on operating expenses and eliminating jobs.

Strangely enough, there are still career opportunities because many blue ribbon employers are looking to recruit and to reward employees who have kept their skills current with market needs and are willing to work hard to apply them.

For example, The Wall Street Journal reports: “Boeing plans to cut roughly 10,000 jobs in 2009… At the same time, the company has more than 1,500 current and anticipated job openings–in various stages of recruitment for different skills and different types of workers.”

Meanwhile, recruiters continue to be amazed by the number of employees who are more interested in fringe benefits and office hours than in their opportunities to work and grow. Commitment to the idea that hard work translates to career rewards takes a back seat to a sense of entitlement to job security and steadily increases in compensation.

How long has it been since you have heard people talking about dedication, allegiance and fidelity to their employers? Two-thirds of those who earn master’s degrees in business leave their first employer on their career path within five years; one in five has switched twice in that period.

A recent survey among “middle managers” found that one-third of this group felt “less loyalty” to their employer now than they did three years ago. Nearly one out of five say they care less about what happens to their company.

Career Advice: Old Fashion Values Pay

Employee attitudes have changed–some would say eroded– toward their employers and the yardstick of values by which rewards are dispensed. It is easy to lose sight of the fact in the short term, but organizations still recognize and reward loyalty, commitment and hard work.

“Frankly, I get discouraged at times interviewing candidates for jobs with our firm,” one experienced recruiter declares. “A lot of people I talk with just don’t seem to believe in what I call the ‘old fashion’ values that my own experience tells me are still valued highly. Hard work does pay off; it takes a lot more than talking and wishing to get anywhere, you have to make the dedicated effort; everybody has to learn to live with a boss. What does all of this mean in terms of career advancement, satisfaction and money in the bank?

The message is clear: employers across the board are placing renewed emphasis on workers’ skills and commitments to the success of their employers. This also means that opportunities are emerging for ambitious careerists who are able to keep their heads screwed on and apply themselves to producing a return a profit on every dollar their employers invest in them. In other words, they subscribe to the old fashion ethic that hard work earns rewards.

Therefore, it just makes common sense to remember that the law of supply and demand, which always sets the value of any commodity, is in full force the career path. There are fewer people ready and able to deliver on the traditional kinds of Horatio Alger values than there are buyers ready to pay for them. This creates a great-unfulfilled opportunity gap. Those relatively few people who see and understand this niche in the market and move aggressively to fill it will be the winners. And they will be richly rewarded.

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