After months of talent wars caused by massive layoffs, the job market has shifted again, with slowing business growth and fears of a recession. Despite low unemployment rates of 4.6% in Alaska and 3.5% nationally, more than 60 percent of 750 CEOs surveyed by business research firm Conference Board expect a recession in the next 12 to 18 months. Another 15 percent of CEOs surveyed report that their region is already in recession.
Many employers betting big on a post-pandemic boom have gone into layoff status. Re/Max cut 17% of its national workforce. Peloton, Carvana, Ford and Better have 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 has reached levels not seen since the start of the pandemic.
Avoid getting fired
When making layoff decisions, executives try to retain their “A players” and exit 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 a “gamer” who handles change well, possesses mission-critical skills, and accomplishes more in a day than others do 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 high-priority projects that positively impact your employer’s bottom line?
Make it a habit to keep your manager and other senior executives aware of what you achieve and how it affects the bottom line in increased sales, reduced costs and acquired customers. Develop other strategies to make yourself visible to your company’s decision makers without getting into a showboat.
If you work in a service company, make yourself indispensable to your employer’s customers. If you feel layoffs coming, demonstrate commitment. If your life allows, start arriving early, working late, or switch from telecommuting to working in the main office more often.
Despite your skills and dedication, you may end up on the chopping block, especially 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 job accomplishments, skills, and certifications you’ve earned.
Start scanning the job market. Which sectors and employers are most likely to survive a recession? Often law, health care, pharmaceuticals, education and government remain strong. Choose the employers you’re interested in, set up Google alerts on them, and read what they and their top managers post on social media.
If you are fired
If you do receive notice from work, ask about severance pay, unused vacation or sick pay, and extended insurance coverage. Ask for glowing letters of recommendation from your immediate manager and others. If you wait too long, you may have a hard time finding them, as they may also be fired. If you’re not sure what benefits you can expect, read your contract or job handbook.
After you’re laid off, apply for unemployment right away to make sure you get the maximum compensation possible. If your insurance ends with your employment and you are not eligible for Cobra benefits, evaluate alternative insurance providers. Post your resume on Indeed.com, ZipRecruiter and other job boards. Reach out to your network and search for job leads.
Because some employers turn around quickly, check whether your layoff notice says anything about rehiring. Look in the layoff section of your former employer’s handbook to see if there is any information about rehiring laid-off workers. Call your former employer’s human resources officer and ask them about their reemployment policies and practices. Call your former supervisor and let them know you are interested in returning. It may favor your immediate re-employment.
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 postpone any payments.
Finally, don’t personalize the layoff. Your employer may have had to downsize to survive. If you are angry with your employer, work with your emotions so that you are free of them when interviewing potential employers. If you want a job there, you want them to want you too, so you put it there.