So we’ve had the Brexit smash up and it’s still unfolding. And to rub salt into the wound, we can now enjoy the hangover of this toxic party and it’s not pretty. Everyone is on edge. I have spoken to a number of candidates following this fiasco and the question on nearly everyone’s lips which has turned into something of a mantra is “How’s the job market, have the jobs dried up?”.
Out of this wreck, which is still taking place like a slow motion train crash, the market is unsure where it’s going. The headlines of our wonderful media bodies seem intent on making certain that our confidence hits rock bottom and that the economy takes a dive. As a result, any wonderful, ambitious plans that companies had of expanding are being stifled and those companies that don’t have Amazonian like coffers are going to feel the pain in the coming months…all over again.
So, what is your plan to weather the storm? As I spend every waking hour recruiting, I am exposed to trends, and what is evident is the mind set of candidates has changed, literally with a flick of the Eur …I mean switch. Many have been wondering whether they should sit tight in their current roles rather than chasing that dream career. Job security is being questioned and there is the “last in first out” fear factor which may come in to play further down the road. Possible redundancy packages may be in the offing and this could be the handshake that a lot of candidates are hoping for in secret. An evident trend is that a number of candidates have withdrawn their applications with these thoughts in mind.
So, career strategy at the moment is fight for survival and hang in there; and this really is a good thing although we probably need to do a lot more than just hang on. The fact is we need to pick ourselves up and start competing. And that includes all those people that keep bleating on about all the jobs being taken. The key way to increase jobs and get that hefty pay rise is by competing with each other, with Europe and with the world. Competition is good, so really instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, and trust me, I have been sobbing into my pillow for a week now; we need to be more ambitious than we have ever been. We need to scrap our way out of this and it can only be done by being more qualified, working smarter, working harder and producing the goods when the chips are down. So the second tack is to use this time to work and improve on skill sets, work on market opportunities and analyse weakness and vulnerability in the hope that you may outperform or better your competitors. If careers are being put on hold, use this time to really hone your current skills and pick up new ones.
There is of course the third tack! This is the route my good friend and colleague, Joby Read, has taken and I have to say I regard it with some envy. His plan, which he has executed with great aplomb is to go on a wonderful long sabbatical to an exotic island and return with a tan sometime in the distant future wondering what on earth all the fuss is about…