Last year you very generously took the time to reply to a response I had …[which]… contained the following advice, “The industries that seem to be more open to 50 plussers are: education (private and public), finance (banks, mortgage companies…but they are in a bit of trouble themselves), retail, customer service, engineering, healthcare (and any business that is somehow connected with healthcare), security (like homeland security), transportation and freight. Most important is to focus on small businesses (less than $100 million revenue annually) who will be more likely to want to invest in their workers and hope to retain them.”
Have the dramatic events in the past year changed that advice excluding finance and mortgage companies of course :)?”
Not only is this a great question, but speaks to shifts that are taking place around the world — in the US, China, Canada, Europe. Almost all economies have been adversely affected by the economic meltdown that started in the US. Yes. The dramatic events of the past year have severely impacted all industry. What we are seeing is massive layoffs in industry across the board with obvious areas (finance, auto, construction) being hard hit. This past holiday season, in the US, retailers held off hiring for any Christmas rush until final moments, not knowing whether or not this would be their last holiday season.
I’ve spoken with my network of friends, relatives, associates, business colleagues and the word is the same. Everyone is cutting back, regardless of industry. Consultant contracts are not being renewed unless there is a specific project on the line. Manufacturing is deadly slow, with designers, sellers and buyers hoping to hold jobs in the New Year. Inflation is on the horizon and people are worried about the price of eggs, milk, sugar, flour and rice…our staples.
So where can one look for work? Those of you that follow me regularly, know that I’ve put the Gen Plus job bank on hiatus, because in this market, no employer is going to be specifically searching for the 50 plus worker. In fact, competition will be even fiercer, requiring every job seeker to be as creative as possible in job search. Doom and gloom aside, there are still jobs out there. The question is how to find them. If you think like an employer, will you be investing dollars in advertising for open positions on job boards right now? Not likely (except for Craig’s List and corporate account holders with Monster or Careerbuilder). But even if you find an advertised job on a job board, you’ll have a ton of competition to get your resume noticed.
Tough times call for tough measures, which means going back to basics. People that are finding employment right now are doing so through their network, their connections, relatives, friends, old business associates, community organizations. And that is what you have to do. The industry itself is not as important right now as who you know in which company. I still vote for small business, because a small business owner is more nimble and if they need someone to fill a position, they will happily meet with someone who knows someone who knows someone.
That means making use of all networking tools — old and new. Attend Chamber of Commerce meetings, connect with groups through your churches and synagogues, join trade associations. Go to free events and meet new people. Online, make sure you are using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to stay connected and in touch with friends and business associates.
According to the November 2008 Labor Statistics report there was not any particular field or industry that had a positive report. December’s report comes out next Friday, so it will be painfully interesting to see how December finished out the year. I’m always one to find a silver lining — my hope is that years of networking will pay off for the 50 plus demographic, that those of you with a good business idea or service to offer will be able to create your own work, that Obama’s call for 3 million jobs will create place for 50 plussers who desperately need the employment.