Trendspotting – Staying marketable in an increasingly challenging Labour Market

I love trends. Trends tell us about our own behaviour. They inform us about where we have been and possibly where we are going.

In today’s challenging Labour Market, spotting trends can provide a job seeker with information on how to best achieve their career goals. If we pay attention to the signs we have a better chance of successfully making our way through the employment job search morass.

I see trends everywhere: on TV, in articles, new items and the general social discourse. I am also privileged to hear anecdotal stories of the Labour Market that come to me through my clients. I’m always amazed at the fact that I often hear a storey of someone’s experience while working or looking for work. Sometimes the story sounds too weird to be true. But soon enough, along comes another person with a very similar storey. And then another…..

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Some of the trends have become very familiar; youth unemployment, immigrant unemployment and baby boomer unemployment; and of course, serious underemployment for legions. These are now well-established trends that have been around for some time. As the Labour Market constricts, new trends emerge.

One trend that I see lately is the need to keep abreast of technology. I am now seeing clients who are well qualified for the job that they want, EXCEPT for the lack of technical skills. I recently assisted a site superintendent on a large construction project. He was hoping to find work in another city. At about 55 years of age; he arrived with his smart phone in hand and proceeded to do business on his phone. He ran the whole project on his phone. He told me was that any person managing a large construction project needed to be able to do everything on their phone. By his account, many older, very qualified managers were now being eliminated from jobs due to their lack of technical savvy.

Recently, I had another client who wanted to apply for a job at the university. She had many of the required skills to do the job and years of experience doing a very similar job. However, on closer examination, I realized that she had none of the software skills required. After some discussion, I advised her not to apply for the job. The cost and effort needed to apply for the job outweighed her chance of getting an interview.

I think the moral of the story is not to wait for an employer to update your skills; do it yourself! If you use any kind of technology in your field, keep updating to the latest software. If you have not had any technical training, or have not had any for a long time – update.

People with the most up-to-date skills are harder to overlook on a job application. It’s time to invest in yourself.