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The Job Market of The Future

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What type of work will I do? Where will I go to work? Which industries will grow? Easy questions to ask; but very hard ones to answer. It is difficult to look ahead six months to one year and almost impossible to make specific comments about job conditions in the 1980's.

The Past Affects the Future

The decades of the 1950's and 1960's brought major social and economic changes and population age shifts occurred. The baby boom of the 1950's required furniture, houses, appliances, and education. The 1960's brought fewer babies so needs decreased.

The law of supply and demand works. People born during baby booms usually have it tougher than others. There is more competition for good jobs and promotions. In the early 1980's the last of the baby boom generation will have entered the work force. Total employment is projected to increase about 20% - 1985 compared to 1974. This assumes a sustained economic recovery and a low unemployment rate. Some areas of the country will grow; others will stabilize; and still others will shrink in population.

In the 1980's, it is expected that a number of lower level employees will seek middle management positions from those born in the low baby decades - 1930's and 1940's. A number of capable people will not be promoted because of insufficient openings. A lowering of the average retirement age may bring some relief to younger employees.

Future laws - social, environmental, and tax - passed by our government and new applications of existing laws definitely will have a profound effect on your life style. Inflation, prices, employment, and housing costs - to name just a few - will change as laws are applied. The number and type of available jobs will change. You will be affected!

Start preparing for changes now. Supply and demand affects employment in certain positions. A cyclical pattern (shortage, supply) of 4 to 5 years affects jobs such as accountants, engineers, and lawyers. Salary increases because of a shortage of qualified people attracts more people to certain fields. Upon graduation, an excessive supply drops salaries.

The Hidden Jobs

There is a large hidden job market since only 10 to 20 percent of available jobs - at any one time - are placed in want ads or with agencies. The major part of the market, like an iceberg, is hidden. Firms have new problems, plans in process, expansions, and future personnel turnover. Weeks and months can pass from recognition of a company need to actual hiring. Organize and plan how to contact management in an effective manner to get in before the job surfaces. Beat the flock of job seekers!

A few ways to reach the hidden market are:
  1. Obtain names of officers and managers from company annual reports. Contact these people directly by telephone or letter. The annual report also gives information on the company and its products.

  2. Call the firm and ask for the name of the manager to whom you would report if you got the position you are seeking.

  3. In journals and newspapers check promotion lists. Help may be needed by those recently promoted or their old companies if they changed firms.

  4. News items may indicate potential people needs and give names of key managers.
During the time you spend to obtain a new job, have a specific written job plan. Specific daily (or weekly) plans will help control your job search. Such plans consist of objectives, company research on prime prospects, interview preparation, and contacts. The variety of contacts includes letters, follow-up letters, resumes, employment agencies, people, want ads, and job interviews. Keep, in a notebook, detailed records of who, what, when, where, why, how and the results.

Summer Job Suggestions

The ideal summer job is related to your interests and formal studies. If you obtain this type of job it becomes a selling point at some future time for a full time job. You may need to select between current income and future growth. Typically money for studies comes first.

Some methods for seeking part-time employment are:
  • Check relatives and see if you can get a job through them or their contacts.

  • Learn to type. This skill can easily be put to work in an office.

  • Try a classified ad in a local or college newspaper for typing at home.
Seek potential summer jobs in advance. Depending on the firm, location, and the number of job seekers, Christmas time through March is ideal for the initial contact. May is obviously too late for a job you want to start in June. Send a letter to Employee Relations stating your accomplishments and willingness to complete an application if you cannot contact the firm in person.

Job possibilities include those related to summer joys - travel, vacations, recreation, and sports. Contact amusement parks, zoos, stadiums, motels, restaurants, service stations, and city recreation and park departments. Builders may need extra help. Seek work at garden stores (especially in the Spring) or place a classified ad for yard work or house painting. "Have mower (brush), will travel."

In times of uncertain economic conditions and large unemployment obtaining summer jobs is hard. You will probably be competing with those currently unemployed and those who want additional income.

A Woman Returns to Paid Work

What kind of work? When the home executive seeks work she typically finds that most women are employed as waitresses, hospital attendants, cleaning women, secretary, receptionists, office clerks, or as retail sales personnel.

Often a woman is grateful for any low paying job. What she finds depends upon economics, her special skills and her confidence and determination. Reasons for returning range from self-fulfillment to money. The children are grown, inflation has created a financial need, a divorce brings insufficient alimony and child support, or women's liberation.

The skills of a housewife are many. Sell the interviewer on the idea that your skills can be transferred to the company. You make decisions, plan, budget, coordinate, and follow-up. Running a home requires these qualities plus judgment, flexibility, and dependability. Additional unpaid experience may have been obtained doing volunteer work for community groups, club office, and charities. Leadership, communication, and motivation skills have been developed. Stress in a positive way your qualifications for the work. Do not say you are "just a housewife". Give examples of your skills and how they can be used.

Think and plan for a rewarding job by improving your abilities. Take courses at school to renew rusty office skills. Strong determination is needed for a home study course. Maybe you could teach an artistic hobby. A number of women turn to real estate sales. Consider a temporary employment agency for part-time work to get the feel of many offices. Typically typing will be needed.

Part-time work can easily be a stepping stone into full time work. Maybe a job can be obtained where you worked temporarily. Contact small companies, stores, banks, and professional offices to see if they need part-timers for peak times or vacations. If you have worked successfully for a firm in the past, apply again. Keep in mind that the typical part-time job is seldom challenging or creative.

Women with special talents, good contacts, and the knack for effectively communicating in letters and in the interview will find work they like. Become established in a growth situation where you can advance through promotions. In time, a dead end job may not be satisfactory. Find out what types of jobs are available; prepare yourself for specific jobs; then aim for the one you want. An effective plan will help to overcome any doubt you have about returning to a job that pays.

Some Final Thoughts
  • Become a generalist and be versatile. Concentrate in two different areas so you can select between two or more different jobs.

  • Become involved in a job that provides an opportunity for personal satisfaction. Know yourself! Know where you have been, where you are now, and where you are going.

  • A one or two year special training program can easily provide better job prospects than a four year liberal arts education. Consider a program in health care or industrial maintenance.

  • Belong to the group of people who are the "doers"; avoid being a "non-doer".

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