The jobs landscape has changed significantly since February’s 3.5% unemployment rate, when there were, for the first time in years, more jobs than job seekers. COVID-19 caused widespread temporary layoffs, some of which are now becoming permanent. Fortunately, former employees of 501(c) Agencies Trust members have access to free job search assistance.
Despite the significant challenges we’ve had, there are three great reasons for job seekers to have hope. The number of job openings are hard to discern, and some have begun to fear that job openings just don’t exsist. This has generated despair in laid off workers, with many wondering why bother looking for employment. But the data tells a different story.
First, far from “no jobs,” U.S. Department of Labor data shows that job openings now match the levels we saw in 2017, eight full years into the recovery after the Great Recession. Indeed, July job openings stood at 6.9 million compared to 7.1 million people seeking jobs.
More recent data on online job openings suggest the number of openings is continuing to be strong. At the end of August, online job board Glassdoor showed job openings have fallen just 18% since the start of the pandemic. These numbers suggest a more competitive, but hopeful job market.
The Right Skills Improve Landing by Over 60%
However, job openings alone are not enough. Even in last year’s record economy, nearly one in three laid-off unemployment insurance claimants exhausted all of their claim weeks, often at six months. Even more so in this new job market, to be competitive, job seekers must be sharp.
Fortunately, with the right focus on job search skills and proactivity, studies show that job seekers can improve their chances of landing their next job by more than 60%. Key job search skills include writing an effective modern resume, networking to open doors, leveraging transferable skills and interviewing with confidence.
Remember, You Can Access HR Services
Your subscription to HR Services can help you navigate the layoff process and we will be here to support you so you can help support your separated staff. Layoffs are hard. It can be one of the most difficult things you may have to do.
If you are having to make those furloughs and temporary layoffs permanent, when you deliver the news, we recommend, to let these employees know that you will be available and willing to provide support and counsel to them as they transition from your organization to their new job search.
Often, employees need time to process that this temporary situation is becoming a permanent one. They may have questions for you later and may need to seek advice. Be helpful, kind and offer information on where your employee may go for their unemployment benefits and how to enroll in COBRA. Compassion is critical for both you and the separated employee. Offer a time for them to come back and walk them through the information and forms. Rarely does someone who loses their job truly remember the details of that separation meeting. Help them with the process. Offer ideas about job opportunities you may know about at other organizations. Offer to serve as a reference, however, don’t commit to things you can’t or won’t deliver.
Subscribers with upcoming layoffs can call us here at HR Services. We can help you with wording and timing and support. Simply email or call us at HRServices@501c.com or (800) 358-2163.