Job hopping used to be a real negative on a résumé and to some extent, it still is—when hiring professionals review a candidate’s past. However, employment trends are rapidly changing as businesses scramble to keep ahead of unseen competitors, and remain viable in a global, technology-driven economy.

Digital Globe

The current expectation is that people will change jobs every three to four years. This article from Forbes shows that employees that stay with a company longer than two years can expect to get less of a raise from year to year.

If that is true that people will change jobs every three years (and I believe it is), then 33% of the work-force will be looking for work at any given time. If they aren’t looking for work, they will soon experience a pattern of intermittent employment, including bouts of underemployment.

As we carefully watch the trend towards a Labor On Demand workforce, we can see a time where being employed is simply an interruption to a jobsearch.

Recently, I spoke at a jobseeker support group held at a large public library. As I spoke to the program directors, they indicated their concern that they were seeing many “returnees” …people who had landed jobs, thought they were safe, began to put their lives back together only to find that within a year, they were again looking for a job.

During the seminar, a woman indicated that she was unemployed for about a year, then hired for a two-year stint, and again, she was laid off. Several heads nodded agreement from their own experience.

Signs that layoffs may be just around the corner
Of course there are many factors contributing to stints of short-term employment.
Here is a partial list that may serve as a heads-up that change is in the works and layoffs may be just around the corner.

  • Labor on demand business model
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • The rise of permanent temporary jobs
  • New technologies
  • Globalization

Labor-on-demand workforce model
Businesses are finding new ways to respond to their ever-changing market. A Labor-on-demand model allows businesses to hire the skills they require and use them as long as they are needed. The use of consultants, rather than hiring employees, is one way to reduce cost, eliminate down time, and improve cost effectiveness.

Back in 2011, we read about a rise in the “permanent, temporary” labor force. In January of 2013, The New York Times reported on the rise of a permanent, temporary economy.

And six months later USA Today declared that temporary jobs were becoming a permanent fixture.

The question is, how do we prepare?

Jobseeker Watch: Mergers and Acquisition on the rise
In this article, we read:

  • This year there has been a substantial pickup in mergers and acquisitions.
  • No one seems to have a firm grasp on what this increase means…whether it is a good sign or not.

This trend is confirmed in many places including “Stampede of Mergers Could Mean Growth or Irrationality, Ahead”. The title sums up the point.

M&A’s have a huge impact to the ongoing operations of a business. The duplicity of job functions generally means that layoffs will be forthcoming.

Jobseeker Watch: Changes in Technology
Technology is making businesses more efficient. As technology adapts to the business needs, some jobs will no longer be needed.

Jobseekers may get frustrated as they see their jobs disappear. The key to managing this concern is to realize that jobs are not disappearing. They are changing. There will still be jobs, however, they are going to change as technological advances allow businesses to become more efficient.

Young businessman starting his career

Jobseekers take heed: Skill sets no longer accumulate
We have had a model were entry-level employees learn the ropes, learn how a business functions and begin a foundation of skills that would be needed throughout their career. Successive employment would allow them to grow their skill sets and set themselves up nicely for a financially sound future.

This has been the case for many decades here in the United States.

Today, foundational skills may no longer be needed. So it is no longer a given that what you are doing in your current job will help you land or keep your next position.

Again, the question is how do we prepare? The answer rests in thinking differently about employment.

A recent collaboration with Neil Patrick resulted in an article for a top-rated European recruiter, Kennedy Executive, managed by the globally recognized recruiter, Jorg Stegemann.

Neil is the editor of 40pluscareerguru and brings vital insights for jobseekers and businesses alike.

Pendulum of 3D spheres with the flag and globe

In this article, we discuss Why Getting Hired Is Not Good Enough and how to think differently to earn a consistent income. The insights on this article are critical to your future. Please click here.

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2 thoughts on “Will Periods of Unemployment Be the New Norm?

  1. Marcia,

    If “permanent” employment is so impermanent, ethical employers will encourage workers to network, join professional organizations and otherwise prepare for their next job. I don’t see that happening.

    As unemployment becomes the new norm, workers should explore freelancing. Freelancing is great because you have multiple clients and you are free to find additional clients. All your eggs are never in a single basket. In effect, freelancing becomes more secure than serial employment.


  2. Wonderful article Marcia I to have been noticing the same trends in the work place where employers lean towards temporary hires. Is a more efficient way of doing I.E.cost effective. I would have to wonder.
    an employee is not a thing or an object but a person. Yet when the when they are
    treated like a thing or an object the job quality expectations are lowered. Employers
    complain because they can’t get anyone to stay. employee’s cease to care because
    they feel they are to replaceable. Hence they will spend more time getting ready for
    the next job than focusing on the one they’re doing now.
    I just ran across a young guy who had been on the job for a few m9nths fitting medical rehab devices for patients. yet after only a few months he was feeling rather
    unappreciated by his bosses. He may not realize this but he is already preparing
    himself for his next job,but I did

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