Job Searches Put on Hold

CareerBuilder recently released their fourth quarter Job Forecast report.  One of the measures they track is the how soon employees expect to change jobs.

In the report, it shows individuals are putting their job search on hold.  People that have a job are choosing to stay in that job as they ride out the financial downturn.  In fact, only 2% of workers expect to leave their current job in then month, 6% expect to leave in the next 3 months, and only 11% expect to leave in the next six months.

Contrast this with the same measure from three years ago.  In 2005, 13% of workers expected to leave their job in under 3 months.  There are two ways of looking at this. The first is that half of the people that ordinarily would be looking for a job are deciding to stay.  The other way is that people are still considering leaving but are delaying their goals by three months to see where the economy is in January before the commit to leaving.

The effect of both of these is the same.  The companies that are hiring are still having trouble finding people.  In fact, one third of hiring managers said that they currently have positions that they can't find qualified people to fill.

It may seem odd that some companies are experiencing a talent shortage at a time of rising unemployment.  This is an effect of the complexity of our economy.  There are good jobs available, but they often are not where the job seekers are.  The areas hit worst by the downturn in the housing market are also the areas where the construction industry is slowing the most.  This makes construction jobs tough to find in the areas with the most available workers.  The same is happening in Michigan with the Auto industry.  There are opportunities, but they're not around Detroit. 

The challenge for a job seeker is knowing when to relocate.  For many families, the idea of moving a thousand miles is a non-negotiable – they aren't going to do it.  This means that the industries hardest hit will have to grow to create new jobs for the people currently unemployed before many of these individuals will find work.  This can take a long time – years in some cases.

There isn't an answer for this.  The issues of relocating a family, selling a house in a depressed market (or walking away and allowing a foreclosure), and finding a company that you can believe in and trust will provide stable growth are not issues with a clear answers.  They are issues that need to looked at very closely. 

The full report from Career Builder is available at