WorkingOT: 2018 job market heating up ... are you looking?

Submitted by UMProud on March 7th, 2018 at 12:59 PM

All reports are pointing to one of the best markets for job seekers in a long time.  Many people have been hanging on to their jobs, underpaid and/or underappreciated, for many reasons not least of which was the (relatively) recent 2009 recession.

Anecdotally, I've seen a noticeable increase in pings from headhunters to my Linkedin profile and others I know are saying the same.

How many of you are looking to upgrade your job situation or have been stuck due to non compete agreements, lack of demand for your specialty or something else?



March 7th, 2018 at 1:05 PM ^

What has surprised me about nearly all of the jobs I've had in my career is how much my personal and professional network of contacts has played a role in me finding new jobs, or new jobs finding me. In only a couple of cases was I approached via a cold call from a recruiter, and they turned into terrible career decisions.

The lesson for me is, despite all of the new recruiting and job seeking technology, "who you know" is just as important as it's ever been.

Clarence Beeks

March 7th, 2018 at 8:22 PM ^

This isn’t uniformly an accurate statement. It’s arguably fair to say it about jobs where the human element isn’t as high on the scale of importance, but there are a lot of careers where it matters. A lot. And the human element still works well. Which is why most jobs are in fact acquired through the relationships you develop, rather than replying to job postings. I’m specifically speaking of jobs in professions where the ability to form human relationships matter, as opposed to the ability to literally just have the knowledge to do a job..


March 7th, 2018 at 1:30 PM ^

I got my first job post-grad school through a personal network (friend of a friend of a friend got my resume in). I left that job for a job I was recruited for via LinkedIn. I left that job to move out of the country and found my current job just by submitting a resume via Indeed, despite everyone telling me that this country is even more about personal networks and you have to know someone to get in. 

Each job has been better than the previous. I don't think the way you find the job tells you anything about how the job will end up.


March 7th, 2018 at 1:33 PM ^

This is true, but mileage (and opinions) vary. I have found non-tech jobs via sites like LinkedIn; and tech jobs through word-of-mouth.

I have just found that my relationships and reputation have carried me farther along in my career path than shots in the dark.


March 7th, 2018 at 5:37 PM ^

if you don't mind sharing the country.  I'm thinking about looking for something in tech overseas.

FWIW, timing a big factor in a job search.  Looking for just about anything from 08-11 was bruuutal because you'd have been one of hundreds of resume's submitted.  At most F500 companies, your resume was almost necessarily passed to the hiring manager or HR by a current employee or trusted referral or it would have been lost in the stack.

Now, in a job seekers market, you can easily fire off a resume via Indeed or whatever job board and the competition isn't going to be stiff.

At least, that's been my experience as both a job seeker and hiring manager during both the recession and the past 3 or so years.


March 7th, 2018 at 2:50 PM ^

Completely agree, and as you say, it's true across different industries. Some enterprising young sociologist/psychologist is doing rich research in this field, I imagine.

Networks are cool and sometimes counterintuitive. My favorite sociological network result: explaining why your friends have more friends than you do (they really do).


March 7th, 2018 at 1:12 PM ^

I personally dislike blanket statements like this. Some sectors will be good, other bad. For instance, I'm in the science / research industry. My outlooks are not good. I'll say no more to avoid this becoming political.

Btw, what's up with their graph? Doesn't look like much as changed in seven years.... so what's that about "red hot"?


March 7th, 2018 at 1:20 PM ^

That appears to be total employment and not number of open positions which only shows the change in the number of people employed so it does not account for positions that are created and filled by people who already have jobs. 

A better chart would show the total number of open positions. 

Longballs Dong…

March 7th, 2018 at 1:29 PM ^

That chart only really tells you that the trend is a steady +200k jobs per Q.  After 2009, unemployment peaked at about 15 million.  We've added 7-8 million jobs since 2010.  Currently there are about 7.4 million unemployed.  There are more people retiring (or just giving up and doing... something) than there are young people entering the job market.  Therefore, the unemployment rate is dropping with a chart showing steady growth (albeit a flat line of growth).  In an environment where more people leave the workforce than join it, a perfect economy would show a flat line below 0.  So, here, a flat line above 0 means that employment is dropping, hence the job market is heating up.  I still think it's a little misleading though.  I've been casually looking and there are opportunities but it doesn't mean they are good.  I think a lot of people stuck in bad situations will have an opportunity to find something better but I see a huge trend towards contracting which may pay fine but has it's own negatives.  In my opinion it'll heat up when employers are forced to offer high rates to draw in good employees.  Wage growth remains very low so while there may be opportunities, they aren't necesarily good.  That's my two cents anyway.  


March 7th, 2018 at 2:59 PM ^

You are in an industry that's certainly taken a hit, along with other traditional media outlets (newspapers, radio). Even in other industries, compensation increases have been lower due to the rapid increase in health care insurance expenses for employers. Total compensation has increased, but much has been spend on health insurance so it doesn't show up in paychecks. Our company's BCBS premiums were going up 10% - 15% every year for a long time. Even with increasing employee contribution, the company cost still went up fast and ate up much of the compensation increase funds.


March 8th, 2018 at 8:48 AM ^

Yes, but the industry was also way ahead of the curve in freelancing. Staff jobs don't really exist anymore. The ones that do are so grossly underpaid and you are basically asked to do 3-4 jobs. Its comical that our industry for years openly practiced "permalancing." (Permanent freelancer.) It was their way of not paying bonuses, vacations, and health insurance. Finally the state governments stepped in and said it was illegal. Bad thing is the companies then kept the freelancing model, but you could only work for a certain amount of weeks every year for the same hustling for a new gig became more frequent. Now with the rise of short form content there are way more 2-3 week gigs as opposed to 8 month gigs.  

Cranky Dave

March 7th, 2018 at 1:57 PM ^

roughly 10k people (boomers) retiring every month. younger workers entering the workforce are much less productive.  that combined with automation/AI are definitely keeping a lid on wage growth. 


I'm perpetually looking but havent changed jobs in 15 years,  I want to move back  into a role that i did for 12 years, up until 2009.  I've had several conversations with potential employers over the past 3 years but they want someone who's in that role and can bring a rolodex.  the other challenge is geography.  I live in Charlotte but my network is largely in NY and there is no way I'll get paid enough to justify moving to NY.


So, i'll likely suck it up here as long as possible then start driving Uber. 


March 7th, 2018 at 2:04 PM ^

I'm curious about what your sources are regarding "younger workers are less productive" the analyst I replaced two years ago was in his fifties and worked 60 hrs a week sometimes. I automated his work over the course of 3 months and sit on my ass for a few hours most days. Maybe we're lazy... Maybe old people are retarded.


March 7th, 2018 at 2:44 PM ^

Both statements can be true. Depending on industry/ and where you are in the industry. In my field there is huge industry knowledge locked into some of the employees nearing retirement. For a couple that have retired lately, the company has had to essentially create a department to take the duties of one person.

That being said, I broke into this industry 30 years ago with exactly the same experience. I thought it would be easy to work my way up with the technically challenged competition. There is a ceiling where accumulated knowledge exceeds your technological competence. That's a hard ceiling to break through.

Which lesson may take nearly as long as mine did, given you are at -9998511 points.


March 7th, 2018 at 2:48 PM ^

Productivity and how much time you are physically present is an outdated metric and too often linked together (think George Costanza leaving his car every day to appear that he is first in the morning and last to leave). I am all about efficiency.  I have a crazy life schedule with my wife working and three young kids, that requires me to be efficient with my time.  I put in crazy hours at certain points, but usually am at work between 40-45 hours. I still am one of the top engineers in my company, as my product is doing much better than the rest.  This is because I know what I am doing and because I am efficient in getting my work done.  

I'd also like to point out that some of the best technological breakthroughs are because we, as a species, is lazy. This leads to stories of computer programers creating a macro for 40 hours, so they can get their weekly work done in a matter of a few hours, rather than spending 40 hrs a week inputting data. Or, back in the day, a guy using a wheel barrel vs a guy bringing shovel fulls of dirt back and forth. Laziness and efficiency often lead to better solutions. 


March 7th, 2018 at 2:55 PM ^

Logically, it would stand to reason that a completely new worker would be relatively unproductive, given that he/she needs time to learn the ropes and all that.  In comparison, a veteran who's been there forever would be expected to be pretty productive, from presumably having learned some tricks of the trade.


March 7th, 2018 at 3:59 PM ^

It depends on what you do.  An analyst is, mainly, a technican role that can be automated through software, excel pivot tables, et al.  CrankyDave has a job, from what I read, that requires soft skills, nuance and probably some sort of strategic planning/execution.  Younger workers would not be productive in these roles simply because these skills take years to develop. 

Monocle Smile

March 7th, 2018 at 4:32 PM ^

It's a bit of a vicious circle there. The only reason "soft skills" (read: ability to navigate bullshit office politics + good golf swing) take years to develop is because the rest of the (older) workers fear change more than anything. In an environment where the majority are open to change, even of the process variety, younger workers can be (again: CAN be) perfectly productive in those roles.

Cranky Dave

March 7th, 2018 at 8:12 PM ^

There are exceptions to the general rule. But keep in mind it costs money to hire and train new employees especially right out of school. I have no data to back this up but I would guess the break even from hiring someone out if school is a couple of years at least. Again different by industry.

Anecdotally there are 4 young (22) analysts in my floor which is open plan. There is some trust to the stereotype about kids texting at work...

Monocle Smile

March 7th, 2018 at 8:39 PM ^

Training employees is a lost art. It's basically dead and buried.

Right out of school is one thing. 1-2 years of experience, however, is plenty depending on the environment and the scope (not the "skills required") of the job.

Do those "kids" get their shit done? If so, then leave them alone. I'll get off your lawn now.


March 7th, 2018 at 5:47 PM ^

if they're looking for a rolodex, they just need someone to set up sales meetings.  Older/more experienced folks in an industry are necessarily, on average, going to know more people and be able to pick up the phone and ask for those meetings. 

That's the hardest part about sales: getting the meeting set up.  Then just send in the closer (which is also hard, but you can leverage a good closer(s) if the prospecting has already been done).


March 7th, 2018 at 1:42 PM ^

you're in research but this chart befuddles you.....


not a great chart really.  but yeah, it shows basically 8 years of what looks like an average of about 175,000 new jobs every month.  the chart could show cumulative new jobs to drive home the point.  but that's a good, strong run.  


March 7th, 2018 at 1:47 PM ^

Not my area, but your graph explains exactly why this is happening. According to that graph, the US has been consistently hiring for the last several years, slightly outpacing the number of new employees being added to the economy. Thus, over that time frame, the number of eligible applicants per open position should be consistently shrinking.

While it started with a glut of people looking for jobs, the pool has shrunk consistently to the point now where there are not nearly as many eligible people looking for jobs. Which should provide upward pressure on salary for new hires.

The unemployment rate demonstrates that much more clearly, showing the same consistent pattern from that graph:

Infographic: U.S. Unemployment Rate Decreases Further | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista