Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you have undoubtedly been inundated with a constant barrage of employment trend updates over the past couple of years. With national unemployment hovering around the dreaded double digit mark for much of that time (9.1% as of August 2011), it seems that the media makes it a point to cause a stir over every 0.1% change. Understanding the sensitive nature of the issue, as well as the potential political repercussions of continued unemployment, it only makes sense that there is such fervor over the trend. But is the media painting the entire picture?
A few weeks ago, we had the chance to hear Harold Mills, CEO of ZeroChaos, speak about the employment figures. In his talk, he asked us to take a deeper look into the numbers, beyond the macro view that the media seems to be so intent upon presenting. His assertion was that the true unemployment figure for well-educated individuals with specialized, professional skill sets is, historically speaking, not significantly different than that of times of economic prosperity.
The assertion seemed entirely plausible, as Kavaliro has seen significant employer demand for skilled workers across the fields of information technology, engineering, finance, and accounting, even in these times of economic uncertainty. In fact, for certain highly specialized, emerging fields, such as smart grid technology and .NET framework development, we have seen demand reach unprecedented levels.
Nevertheless, we were intrigued by Mills’ assertion, and knowing that the demographic that he described mirrors that which Kavaliro generally targets as potential employees and contractors, we decided to dig a little deeper. What we found was only mildly surprising, given the logical nature of his argument. As the charts below will attest, unemployment for highly educated professionals (and those that can generally be assumed to have proactively developed specialized skill sets) is significantly less than that for the less-educated public. Indeed, the current unemployment rate for individuals with Bachelor’s degrees sits at 4.3%, just 1.1% higher than in 2003 (just prior to the housing bubble to which the recession is largely attributed to). Compare that to a 5% increase for individuals without a high school diploma.
So what does this all mean for you? Well, for one, it further emphasizes the importance of education, and it highlights the need for workers to proactively develop specialized skills that fit with the emerging trends within their respective industries. As the aforementioned employment trends attest, the old adage of “survival of the fittest” rings true during times of economic duress. Generally speaking, those who strive for excellence and work hard to keep their skills sharp have fared far better, from an employment perspective, than those who have not.
It also means that there is hope for the unemployed. Armed with the above knowledge, and faced with the excess time capacity that unemployment (unfortunately) affords, there is no better time to improve oneself through education and training. Doing so, however difficult it may be, is a key factor in attaining and preserving a longstanding, prosperous career. And that, folks, is the name of the game.
Kavaliro is here to help
Are you currently stuck in the unemployment doldrums? Kavaliro is here to help fuel your success. We have a number of free resources available to help you assess your current situation as is relates to the employment marketplace, and to strive for the career that you want and deserve. Download our free job search application for your mobile Apple device, peruse our website for helpful advice on employment, or contact one of our experienced employment consultants today.