Will it be impossible to change jobs this year?

Will it be impossible to change jobs this year?

Summary: Career Builder said last week that nearly one-in-five workers plan to change jobs in 2009, a percentage unchanged from the year. The lack of variation surprised me.

TOPICS: CXO, IT Employment

Career Builder said last week that nearly one-in-five workers plan to change jobs in 2009, a percentage unchanged from the year. The lack of variation surprised me. I would expect that being in the early party of what threatens to be a drawn-out recession would make people feel too conservative to change jobs. How do you know that your new company is in good financial health? How can you put yourself at risk, as the newbie, to be the first laid off if things go south?

I pitched the question to a few recruiters and -- not surprisingly, seeing as it is their line of work -- most of them felt that it is possible to land new jobs during a recession, but that it's on job-seekers to adapt their approach.

Don't assume there are no good jobs out there

Even though fewer people are being hired, recruiters were quick to note that they are being hired for jobs that count.

"Obviously, a lot of people go by the theory that you should keep your job while you can and do everything in your power to not get laid off," said Greg Gary, managing director of Technisource, Spherion's technology division. "But the reality is that because we're in a recession, if a company is offering a job, it's not a 'want' job, it's a 'need' job. And if they need that job filled, you have a lot of power when you're negotiating."

Don't quit your day job

Not quitting one job before you land the next one is age-old advice. But it would be all the more shortsighted to do so when job opportunities are so sparse.

"With any job search it is always best to seek a new position while you still have your current one. I would advise against leaving a position until another opportunity is solidly within one's grasp," said Casey Manning, a San Francisco-based IT recruiter.

Do your research

Just because a company is still hiring, doesn't mean that they're being realistic about where their business is going to be in the next year. Corky Gardiner, a recruiter in the Washington area urges job seekers to look into the stability of the company you are looking into, the stability of the job within the company and the stability of the market that the company is in.

"It really comes down more than ever to doing the research, being prepared, and knowing what to expect before you drop your resume into the marketplace," said Gardiner.

Be more flexible

When companies get too scared to hire full-time employees, they often turn to contractors to get jobs done.

"Just because companies are slashing payrolls does not mean they don't need work to get done. Especially in the IT industry, there are numerous companies who need qualified professionals to maintain the functionality of their businesses during harsh economic conditions," Manning said.

It may not be the exact kind of role you were hoping for, but recruiters say it can be your best foot in the door when the hiring situation improves.

"The contractors used during this particular contraction are better poised to be the first candidates the employer reaches out to when hiring is again placed at the forefront of a companies expansion and growth plans."

Topics: CXO, IT Employment

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  • The last point is the jackpot

    You really hit the jackpot with your last point. Companies are very weary of full time hires, since these mean a lot of responsibility for the company.

    On the other hand, work needs to be finished. So this will be the golden time of outsourcing and consulting in IT. Spread the word around, you can work part time on such activities and you'll get more income and the company will get the work done - all while no commitment is being made by either side

    Spirovski Bozidar
    • Too bad for the companies

      Because they are going to REFUSE to hire the best people for their jobs, who, by and large, will not take a job on a temporary or part-time basis.

      For most people, with the sky-high rates of health care and other things, it is full time or nothing.
      • body shopped... for a price

        Of course, if you're going to let them body shop you, you
        have to factor in all of the costs of benefits, life-time
        earnings including down-times, etc.

        You might have been willing to work FTP for a good
        software product firm for say $50K to $90K per year
        (depending on location), which prorates out to $25 to $45
        per hour plus another $20 to $35 per hour for health care
        insurance, paid vacation, retraining, life-time education,
        pension/IRA/etc., workers' comp, unemployment
        insurance, etc., day after day, week after week, decade
        after decade, quarter-century after quarter-century.

        For an equivalent when body shopped you'd have to factor
        in gaps in employment, lack of company investment in
        education/training and one's own likely mal-investment in
        education/training (e.g. becoming very expert in
        something that's not the next tool-set favored by the B-
        school bozos)...

        I could see being body shopped for say $300 to $2000 per
        hour, maybe a little more or a little less, depending on the
        specific situation and how interesting and worthwhile the
        product is likely to be. And don't forget to continually
        adjust for inflation WRT your own life-time market basket.
  • Do not be 'flexible'

    Because if you take a job offer that you know undervalues your skills and work, the next job that you try and get is going to try and do the EXACT same thing.
    I've seen that MANY, MANY times in my life, where people think that "If I take this job at this low wage, I'll have a better chance of getting another, higher paying job later!"
    It's actually the EXACT opposite. If you take a job at an extremely low wage.... your next job is more likely to try to pay you only a VERY little bit more than that past job, which will undervalue yourself once again.
    Then, if you don't take that job.... they will spread the word that you are 'unreasonable' and you won't get any job offers.
    • Ask for a raise!

      If you are involved in what I call a "friendly" lay-off, which is when the company gives you weeks or months of advance notice that you will be laid-off, then one of the best things to do is to ask for a raise.

      I have done this twice and I increased my salary at the next place by nearly 20%.

      It's a win-win situation; your boss feels good because s/he can help you get more money at your next job and they won't really have to pay you that salary raise for long, plus you get to walk in to your next job with an increase in pay.

      This actually works and it keeps you from the downward slide that Lerianis is talking about. Trust me, I've been in technology jobs for 16 years and I've been involved in 8 company-wide lay-offs. I know how the game works.
      • Re : Ask for a raise!

        averageGuru I hope I never work anywhere you have a job - 8 lay-offs in 16 years thats insane - you must be terrible at your job!
        • Never fired

          I agree it's insane. But mis-management was at fault. Not me. Part of it was during the Internet boom when anyone with an IPO thought they knew how to run an "Internet" company.

          They were company-wide lay-offs. Three companies went under, five companies laid off their entire divisions.

          I've never been personally fired.

          The point is, anyone, at anytime, can be laid off. I just hope people realize it's not the end of the world
  • RE: Will it be impossible to change jobs this year?

    Thanks for such a wonderful post.I would like to suggest all not to shift their company in this dry period.Stay kool wait for your time.

    • RE: Will it be impossible to change jobs this year?

      Good point 'saipeople'. Good things come to those who can wait.
  • RE: Will it be impossible to change jobs this year?

    Of course for the hundreds of thousands and millions of people laid off - changing jobs isn't an option it is survival.
    • churn

      The amount of churn has been increasing for decades as
      executives switch from employing to body shopping.

      But, with the increased churn, and the advent of the net,
      there are a lot more people sending resumes to every
      potential employer... and the executives have been raising
      the barriers to fend them off*, turning away or simply
      over-looking a lot of great people in the process.
      (*Doing things like not including e-mail addresses in job
      ads, sending resumes through a defective parser which
      feeds tiny bits of information into a data-base, layering on
      the telephone pre-screenings, trivial pursuit tests. One
      wonders what it will take for executives and HR clones to
      begin giving serious thoughtful consideration to job
      applicants, again.)

      At the same time, they've cut back on the numbers of
      people they fly in for actual interviews, relocate and send
      to education or training. This ties back in to the body

      Now that Tata has a beach-head in town for the last year
      (subsidized to the tune of $13M by Ohio and Greater Cinci
      tax-victims), the Cinci job market is probably especially