What does the job market have in store for us this year? The answer seems to be mixed. We are continuing to hear about company layoffs. Yet, at the same time, the stock market just hit a new all-time high. This doesn’t paint a clear picture for would be job seekers. And often, uncertainty in the market can discourage employees from seeking new employment.
For example, major companies are continuing to lay off workers. In January alone, companies such as Microsoft, Sports Illustrated, Google, Amazon, and NBC all laid off workers. On the other hand, the S&P 500 has been setting records as earnings have continued to grow. And, a few of the very same companies that are doing well are also laying off employees. So, what gives?
Unfortunately, the answer is not straight forward. There are a number of factors at play. First, in the last five years, many industries have seen a shift. Since 2020, it is more common to work from home. People are wearing more casual clothing. The auto industry is in the midst of an evolution. I could go on, but you get the idea. The way we work and play has shifted. Some industries have gotten smaller while others have grown.
Another very unfortunate factor is that layoffs have become more normal in business. In the past, layoffs were typically a last resort. Companies avoided them at all cost. Companies wanted to protect their employees. Employees were the fabric of the company. Layoffs were considered shameful.
Although employees are still important, companies now consider many other factors. Some companies focus more on the short term value of the company rather than looking into the future. This can mean that a company may elect to lay off employees simply to save money in the short term. In fact, it is at times perceived as a responsible thing to do. In other words, the short term cost savings of layoffs may at times be considered smart.
What does this mean for the job market, and for your job search? If you have been thinking looking for a new job, don’t give up hope. Despite the unusual market, many companies are still hiring.
But, before you accept a new job, do your research. Look online for any news about the financial health of the company. Research where the industry is going overall. Research the company on sites such as Glassdoor.com. Glassdoor allows employees to leave reviews about the company. If layoffs are being handled poorly or employees are being mistreated, they will often share their feedback on Glassdoor.
Whatever you do, keep your resume current. With the current environment, unplanned things can happen. By keeping your resume up to date, and by staying in touch with contacts, you can create some level of insulation from the unknown. The more proactive that you are, the more choice you will have if things change in this market.