5 tips to help you survive job market uncertainty
We’re living through one of the most tumultuous times in recent history. The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn have led to high levels of job market uncertainty. Most industries have been impacted, and it’s unclear how soon or how successfully each industry will bounce back.
If you’re feeling a little anxious about your job security or your ability to find and keep work in the coming years, you’re not alone. To prepare for a future of increased job market uncertainty, we’ve put together five key tips you can implement to help keep your existing role and/or increase your employability for new opportunities.
1. Upskill to Increase Your Value as an Employee
Whether you’ve been stood down or not, now is a great time to enhance and expand your professional skillset. Consider completing online courses to learn highly relevant or universal skills that will make you more desirable to employers across various industries.
For example, management, leadership and business skills are essential in almost any field of work. Enrolling in an MBA program or a similar qualification could be a great way to open doors with new employers or progress in your current company.
You may also wish to work on your soft skills. In many professional environments, attributes like emotional intelligence, empathy and communication skills are just as critical as your technical abilities.
If you feel opportunities in your line of work are limited, or if you generally feel like it’s time for a career change, consider studying one of the areas that have been unaffected or positively impacted by the coronavirus crisis. This leads right into our next tip…
2. Change Career Paths into a More Stable Industry
Not every industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis, with some fields remaining relatively stable or even seeing increased demand.
If you’ve been working in an area that’s suffered severely during the pandemic (e.g. hospitality and retail), this might be the push you need to pursue a new career path.
Some industries that are coping well or thriving at the moment include:
- Logistics and deliveries
- Entertainment streaming and gaming
Gaining experience and/or qualifications in multiple fields is also a great way to cope with job market uncertainty in general, as you’ll be equipped to apply for a wider variety of jobs in the future.
3. Always Be a Team Player
At the end of the day, if your boss has to let someone go, they’re not going to look at who has the best qualifications. They’ll consider who does the best work, who does the most work, and who makes a positive contribution to the team.
By maintaining a good relationship with all your colleagues and staying calm and confident when working with your superiors, you’ll hopefully seem like an obvious keep when hard decisions must be made. After all, your boss is feeling the stress just like you are – and they’ll prefer to have people around them who they can rely on when times are tough.
4. Stay Flexible with Your Working Arrangements
Working from home is unsurprisingly one of the biggest business trends of 2020. Driven primarily by government health advice around social distancing, this shift has also revealed to many companies how effective and cost-efficient a mobile team can be.
To be highly employable in today’s climate, you need the tools and skills to work remotely. This entails:
- Having a dedicated home office or workstation
- Investing in equipment that allows you to work productively (e.g. extra monitor, ergonomic desk chair, adjustable-height desk, printer/scanner, stationery)
- Familiarising yourself with online tools (e.g. video-conferencing platforms, cloud-based storage and shared documents, scheduling and time management tools).
Having everything you need in place to work from home doesn’t just prepare you for working during the coronavirus; it also means you can confidently apply for jobs in cities (or even countries) beyond where you live.
5. Look After Yourself
Job market uncertainty is stressful for everyone. But you won’t be doing yourself any favours if you let it get the better of you – and successfully finding a new job is even more difficult if you’re not physically and emotionally well.
Whether you’re at risk of getting stood down or currently between jobs, make sure to look after yourself by getting adequate sleep, eating well, and exercising. Staying on top of your fitness and mental wellbeing will ensure you’re in the best shape to maintain your work ethic or to stay motivated while job-hunting.
Finding and keeping a job is never easy, and an uncertain job market makes things trickier and more stressful. But by following these tips and staying optimistic, you can maximise your chances of keeping your existing job or successfully finding a new role.