The job search market for millennials differs greatly from the job search spheres of earlier generations. In our previous post, we discovered that we have left behind the time when someone could find a job in a few days and with little planning simply by reading the job ads in the newspaper. The globalisation of the professional world has drastically increased the competition among both job seekers and job providers. Furthermore, the average employee no longer works for just one or two different firms throughout their life but rather is more likely to work for dozens of companies during the course of their career. These are just two examples of the forces that shape today’s job search market. In this post, we’ll discuss these factors further and determine how graduates should adapt to them in order to optimise their chances of success in getting a job.
The first factor that shapes today’s job search market is globalisation. In a world ruled by multinationals and driven by mergers and acquisitions, it is not surprising to see the average employee being relocated abroad every two years within or among the multiple subsidiaries of their company. And it is also very likely that job seekers and headhunters look for opportunities internationally more than locally. This phenomenon results in a drastic increase of professional immigration worldwide and leads to those panicked headlines we see in the media about topics such as “brain drain”. But most importantly, the globalisation of the job market creates increased competition among candidates; a competition that leaves no room for errors in job applications. Adler underlines this by saying that “if you’re not a perfect match on skills and experiences, your resume is unlikely to even be read” (Adler, 2014).
2) Increase in staff turnover
The second factor shaping the current job search environment is the drastic increase in staff turnover. Pearce points out that in today’s fast-paced and interconnected professional world “there is no such thing as a permanent job anymore. Employment is fluid and employees are mobile (in more ways than one…). Social media has us all, and the workplace, in its thrall. The upshot is there is no choice involved in whether to invest effort or not into building your personal employee brand” (Pearce, 2015). Pearce’s argument is clear and underlines the importance for today’s employees to build their personal brand in order to be ready to find and change jobs regularly, whether they wish to or not.
3) Rising importance of soft skills
The third element that typifies today’s job search market is the increasing importance of soft skills when it comes to the applicant’s profile evaluation. At first glance, and considering the increasing number of technologies companies must master, it would make sense for recruiters to focus on applicants’ hard skills and especially on their fluency in new technologies. However, as Woodward thoughtfully underlines: “Interestingly, today’s technological scientific age has not reduced the importance of soft skills but has, if anything, increased it” (Woodward, 2014). The reasoning behind Woodward statement is that hard skills such as coding or social media analytics can be quickly taught after a candidate is hired. This is not the case for soft skills that are built through experience. On this topic, Woodward adds that “the only sustainable competitive advantage is an organisation’s ability to learn faster than the competition. Companies learn faster when leaders model and message soft skill development within their teams” (Woodward, 2014). This emphasises the fact that soft skills are not only hard to build, but are also the key factor in creating successful teams; teams that are able to learn at the fast pace often required by today’s working environment.
4) New technologies
The fourth main factor shaping the face of the current job search market is, of course, the increasing necessity and importance of new technologies. In this new over-competitive and communicatively complex job search environment, a focus on new technologies (particularly social media) lends itself as a tool for recruiters to filter hundreds of candidates daily. And applicants’ social media profiles now become potential trust (or mistrust) tokens. Adler stresses that, now more than ever, trust plays an important role in the job search process. He goes on to deliver these interesting study results: “A person who is referred to a recruiter from a trusted source is 20 times more likely to be considered than someone who responded to a job posting […] and a person whose resume or LinkedIn profile is found via a Google search is 5 times more likely to be considered than someone who applies directly to a job posting” (Adler, 2014). Brogan goes even further by saying that “the web is such a powerful resource for leveraging contacts and presenting our strengths that a curriculum vitae becomes irrelevant. It’s not so much that you won’t need one, but that you’ll never be asked for a CV because your reputation will precede you” (Brogan, 2010, p. 16).
Whether or not Brogan’s statement is true or exaggerated will be one of the questions I address in my next post. But what is certain is that the current job search environment is very different to those navigated by preceding generations of job applicants and recruiters. Consequently, both sides now have to adapt and find innovative solutions to optimise the results of their job search and recruitment processes.
Thank you so much for reading!
Please share your experience on this topic in the comments section. More insights from both recruiters and job seekers would be highly appreciated.
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Best regards from the team.
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Adler, L. 2014, Why Responding to a Job Posting is a Waste of Time, LinkedIn Pulse, Available from: http://linkd.in/1G6PVpO. (Last accessed 08/2015).
Brogan, C. & Smith, J. (eds) 2010, Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust, John Wiley & Sons, Canada.
Woodward, O. 2014, Leadership Soft Skills: The Secret to Professional Advancement, LinkedIn Pulse, Available from: http://linkd.in/1HTUWjz. (Last accessed 08/2015).