Career Triage’s 2018 Job Market Forecast

Today’s marketplace is changing even as we speak. By the time you read this there may be some significant additions/deletions to be made. Consider this an in-the-moment professional opinion based on many years of working with professionals in a variety of careers. As career coach, I am offered the opportunity to look into the lives of people who are working, worked or want to work. Many with a clue as to what feels like the right way to go and some without a clue as to what’s next. I help them to make sense of ALL the noise in the marketplace and narrow it down to what makes sense for them. My successes prove that my ability to see into the future is valid – one career and one client at a time!

I attended a meeting of the Association of Career Professionals Philadelphia Network last week. The program was a great start to a new year featuring an outstanding panel of representatives from several significant organizations which focus on different aspects of workforce opportunities/concerns in the Greater Philadelphia Region: Philadelphia Works – Johnetta Frazier, Mgr. of Industry Partnership/Business Engagement; City of Philadelphia: Dept. of Commerce – Heloise Jettison, J.D., M.A. Senior Director, Talent Development; Campus Philly – Deborah Diamond, President; and Select Greater Philadelphia Council – Matt Cabrey, Executive Director. Each delivered extremely informative presentations based on their piece of the puzzle. Although the information was specific to this 11-county region, I am sure that every metropolitan area has a collection of similar organizations that parallel these that are represented here. I suggest you search them out and stay abreast of what is going on in your segment of the county. The statistics that they shared and the transferable skills/educational/employment outlook for our area was amazing and enlightening. This panel brought to bear that matching people with the right complement of relevant skills is important and then connecting the equipped professionals with employers where they can grow and be of value. This is the KEY to our coming years of productivity and prosperity. I applaud the efforts that are being made to buoy up our economy sector by sector. There is no denying that our employability challenges and opportunities are on the radar of the right people.

From a national standpoint, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics publishes a report, the Occupational Employment Projections 2008 to 2018, that gives a glimpse at 10-year employment projections across occupational groups for that time period. This report is produced every four years, the subsequent ones being 2012 – 2022 and so on. It is interesting as the Bureau seeks to deliver to the public the overview of the tapestry of what the future of employment will be in the coming years. The greatest decline appears in the category of Transportation and Material Moving occupations and the greatest increases are in some areas of the Healthcare and Technology occupations. There may not be any surprises there. This information is readily available to us although it may seem laborious to read. Pun intended. However, what are the chances that any of us will look at a document like this? Slim to none, I’m sure. If we do anything at all, we may feel our way through based on what we are seeing, hearing or experiencing. Regardless to how we get our ‘projections’, it will serve us well to know what is happening and how we can best position ourselves during these continuous times of change.

I put before you the question at hand, “What is in store for the 2018 job market”? My experience with the majority of my clients is that the job market is theirs for the making. No, really… If you say your job’s around the corner, it really is. I am an ULTRA OPTIMIST!!! The normal tools need to be in place: an awesome resume, follow up and follow through, networking, interviewing skills to mention a few. Then add the following for dynamic impact:

  • A job seeker must know what they want but be reasonably flexible which sounds like an oxymoron. I believe a good job is one that you LOVE! Being where you want to be. This may sound fantastiful. It’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.
  • Clarifying who you are professionally is also key to marketplace readiness. And that is not always an easy thing to do. Why? Because, sometimes we may not know who we have become especially if we lose sight of our own direction for the sake of pleasing the masses or the ‘BOSS at hand’.
  • Reinventing yourself may even be on the horizon for any number of reasons. Pick one! Regardless to what the reason is, if your inkling is to make a shift, let’s start with a plan. Notice that I used the word PLAN! You had better have one.
  • Be courageous and believe that you can do this. Hold on until it really happens. That’s going hard in the paint.

I have many examples of clients that have succeeded in their journey for THAT job. For some it was almost overnight and for others not as quick. Here I offer a story that gives you an idea what I mean.

Case Study

I recently had a conversation with a client(once a client ALWAYS a client) who I helped reinvent his whole professional world. He had been a supervisor for a commercial services company for about 15 years. He was ready for a change as he started to peek down the road at retirement. He wanted something very engaging but less physically demanding. I coached him through my entire program as he had not been in the market for many years. Still toting what I call a 20th Century resume and all. He was a very astute client and followed all of what I shared with him to a tee. After he ‘graduated’ from my program, he identified a managerial role at a nearby hospital and he applied. The manager who hired him told him that his qualifications didn’t match the job description, but she had meet him because the resume was intriguing! She brought him in and hired him that day. Fast forward, she left there and went to another hospital and hired him to oversee their entire campus. NOW, he is a director for a VERY LARGE entertainment center complex. He is so happy! His wife asked me how did I get him a job for which he did not appear to be qualified. Well, I didn’t. He did because he was equipped and had a plan.

I learned early on in my career that it is what it is UNTIL it’s something else. Every professional owes it to themselves to get a career check-up. Because the time to know that you don’t know is not when you are in a SPACE. Being proactive is the key to ensuring that you stay agile in the marketplace. The real word is ‘employable’. In November, I was speaking to an organization about this very thing and their responses were the typical ones that I receive when I talk about the career check-up. Some expressed an urgency to ensure that they were on track and some expressed complacency. I get both. The reality is industries literally can disappear or emerge overnight. We should be ready for both possibilities. Ultimately, we closed the place down that night. Why? Because this is no joke.

What does the near future hold? What does the job market of 2018 look like? For the person who can see themselves overcoming dogma and then doing/seeing things differently, I think that this year can be amazing. There are a lot of stats and projections that I believe will bare true for you regardless to where you are and what you are trying to accomplish. Whether you are looking for your first job your next job or your last job. Here are a few well-established resources that can help you:

No worries if you don’t see your job/career here. Just keep your eyes wide open for developments as they can sneak up on you! Make smart decisions about what you should do about your career. Take a class? Join an association? Clean up your resume? Do some research? Definitely take a look at what local agencies and organizations are doing and know what the market is seeking. Learn how you can poise yourself to be on the cutting edge of what employers are looking for. If you only take one thing away from this forecast, remember this… Your employability is one of your BIGGEST assets. Take care of it!

I believe that the job and/or occupation that a professional chooses needs to be a viable one but do not negate the fact that the job needs to fit more than just the financial needs. Even with great preparation it still takes deliberate effort to find that RIGHT job. If you are actively in the market, your forecast is a good one. If you stay on top of it all you really can take it all the way to the bank. Bright skies!

Here’s to a healthy career!

Janice

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