After months of talent wars triggered by the great resignation, the job market has again shifted, with business growth slowing and recession fears looming. Despite low unemployment rates, 4.6% in Alaska and 3.5% nationally, over 60 percent of the 750 CEOs surveyed by the business research firm Conference Board expect a recession in the next 12 to 18 months. Another 15 percent of surveyed CEOs report their region is already in recession.
Multiple employers that bet large on a post-pandemic boom have transitioned to layoff status. Re/Max slashed 17% of its national workforce. Peloton, Carvana, Ford and Better have each laid off thousands of employees. Walmart, Wells Fargo, 7-Eleven, Shopify, Netflix, and JPMorgan have all cut large numbers of jobs. The number of #OpentoWork banners on LinkedIn profiles have hit levels not seen since the pandemic began.
Avoid being laid off
When making layoff decisions, leaders endeavor to keep their “A players” and jettison workers they consider less essential to their company’s future. If you work for a good employer and want to keep your job despite layoffs, position yourself as an “A player,” who handles change well, possesses mission-critical skills, and accomplishes more on one day than others accomplish in two.
Look for ways to demonstrate your value to your company and to those who decide who stays and who goes. What opportunities can you find to work on top priority projects that positively impact your employer’s bottom line?
Make it a habit to keep your manager and other senior leaders aware of what you achieve and how it affects the bottom line in increased sales, reduced expenses, and acquired clients. Develop other strategies to make yourself visible to your company’s decision-makers without making yourself into a showboat.
If you work in a service company, make yourself indispensable to your employer’s clients. If you sense layoffs coming, demonstrate dedication. If your life allows, start arriving early, working late, or transition from telecommuting to working more often in the main office.
Despite your skills and dedication, you may wind up on the chopping block, particularly if you’ve moved to a new employer in the last year and they’ve adopted a last-in, first-out strategy.
Dust off your resume so you’re ready to go. Update it with any recent work accomplishments, and skills and certifications you’ve gained.
Begin scanning the job marketplace. Which sectors and employers can more easily survive a recession? Often legal, health care, pharmaceuticals, education, and government remain strong. Choose employers that interest you, place Google alerts on them and read what they and their top managers post on social media.
If you’re laid off
If you receive a layoff notice, ask about severance pay, unused vacation or sick pay and extended insurance coverage. Request glowing letters of recommendation from your immediate manager and others. If you wait too long, you may find it hard to locate them, as they may wind up laid off as well. If you’re unsure what benefits you can expect, read through your employment contract or handbook.
Once laid off, immediately apply for unemployment to ensure you receive the maximum compensation possible. If your insurance ends with your employment and you’re ineligible for Cobra benefits, assess for alternative insurance providers. Post your resume on Indeed.com, ZipRecruiter and other job boards. Reach out to your network and ask for jobs leads.
Because some employers spring back quickly, check whether your layoff notice says anything about being rehired. Look in the section on layoffs in your former employer’s handbook to see if there’s any information about laid off workers being rehired. Call your former employer’s HR officer and ask them about rehire policies and practices. Call your former supervisor and let him know you’re interested in returning. He may favor your immediate rehire.
Reduce your anxiety by knowing where you stand financially. Assess your finances, cut frivolous expenses, and if you need to, contact your service providers, and find out if they can reduce or defer any payments.
Finally, don’t personalize your layoff. Your employer may have had to downsize to survive. If you’re angry at your employer, work through your emotions so you’re free of them when you interview prospective employers. If there’s one job out there you want, you want them to want you as well, so you land it.