Secrets of the Job Hunt


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Understanding the new job market

In their book, Guerilla Marketing for Job-Hunters, authors Jay Conrad Levinson & David Perry, clearly illustrate the changes taking place in the job market. For many of you, including those in their 40s and 50s, life and work are in imbalance. It's important to note that the changes taking place today are fundamental and will forever change the way job seekers and employers connect.

Consider this excerpt...

"For most of the twentieth century, ...people were temporarily laid off. Inventory backlogs were reduced and demand would snap back quickly. As product demand increased, workers returned to their preexisting positions in factories, or they found an equivalent job with another company.

Over the past few years, dramatic advances in information technology have allowed companies to establish tightly integrated demand and supply chains, and outsource manufacturing and low-end service jobs to save money. Rightly or wrongly, many of the jobs that have disappeared from North America have reappeared in India, China, and Latin America. Rather than furloughs, many people were let go, forcing them to switch industries, sectors, locations or skills to find a new job.

...Instead of resources or land, today capital means human capital. It doesn't take a shoe factory to go into the shoe business these days. Nor do you need raw materials or fleets of trucks. Nike became a shoe industry leader by concentrating on the value-producing capacity of its employees for design, marketing and distribution know-how. The real capital is intangible: a person's knowledge level, combined with an aptitude for application.

Numerous labor market studies indicate that there is already a looming knowledge worker skills shortage—a shortage that impacts competitiveness and economic and social development. There is every reason to believe that these shortages will not diminish soon because skilled baby boomers are retiring in unprecedented numbers while the newly created knowledge economy jobs require more education and higher skill levels."

What does this mean for you? The authors summarize with the following premise;

"Faced with stiffer competition and tougher hiring requirements, companies of every sort are becoming single-minded about productivity and bottom-line performance. Consequently, competition for jobs is increasing as management seeks and hires only those persons who appear to have the most potential for helping to boost the company's profits. For many companies, employees are now viewed as a variable cost - hence the term human capital - to remain 'on the books' only as long as they continue to produce. Looking for an old-fashioned job like the one your dad used to have is a waste of your time - Jobs are temporary in the new economy - henceforth you always need to be looking for the next opportunity. The people who market their talent best will win!"

1 comment:

Michael Wist said...

C.M. - Great excerpt. I haven't read their book, but I've visited the blog of the same name. When you consider the social and cultural implications of the statement - "Jobs are temporary in the new economy" - it is really interesting. If the concept of "career" no longer exists, what will that mean for some of the established norms of American life? Will it be practical and/or possible to own property in a single location? What sort of professional education programs will enable people to move from one high level position to another in a different area of expertise? Obviously, the concept is fascinating and will be very interesting to observe in the years to come.