As the job market continues to recover at a snail’s pace and millions of Americans struggle to overcome long-term unemployment, global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. will suspend normal business operations for two days so that its staff of professional counselors can provide free job-search advice to callers from across the country.
The firm’s 27th annual two-day national job-search call-in takes place December 27 and 28, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST. The telephone number is 312-422-5010.
“Employers continued to slowly add jobs in 2012, with payrolls in the private sector increasing by nearly 1.6 million jobs through October. In September, the unemployment rate fell below eight percent for the first time since January 2009,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
“However, the recovery is far from complete. There are still more than 12.2 million Americans who are unemployed. Another six-and-a-half million have stopped actively seeking employment but still want a job and more than eight million are working part-time jobs because full-time ones are unavailable,” he added.
Challenger expects the job market to continue its slow but steady improvement in 2013. Monthly job-cut announcements are at their lowest level since the end of the recession. Through the end of October, employers announced 433,725 planned job cuts, compared to 521,823 over the same period in 2011. The 10-month total is also lower than the 449,258 job cuts announced between January and October 2010.
While job cuts have slowed significantly, job growth remains frustratingly slow. Many job seekers have concluded that there are no opportunities and have abandoned the job search entirely. However, while it may seem as if no one is hiring, nothing could be further from the truth.
In September alone, employers hired 4,185,000 new workers, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey. There were another 3,561,000 job openings at the end of the month. The impact of this is somewhat offset by the fact that total separations (including voluntary and involuntary) totaled 4,024,000 in September.
“It is important to remember that the employment market is a fluid environment – it is constantly changing. Not every job loss is due to cost cutting. More than half of the separations in September were people quitting their jobs. Another 340,000 retired, transferred to new locations, or left due to disability. Some are let go as part of layoffs, but many are let go for cause or because they simply were not a good fit for the job. In many cases, employers are seeking replacements for those who leave voluntarily as well as those who are asked to leave,” said Challenger.
“Part of a successful job search is being in the right place at the right time. We try to provide callers with some strategies that will increase the odds of them being in the best position when job openings do materialize,” said Challenger.
“It is critical to aggressively build and take advantage of one’s professional and social networks. Let everyone know that you are seeking a position. When more people know, the greater your chances of hearing about new opportunities, meeting the right people and getting a foot in the door,” he added.
“One of the most common complaints we hear from callers year-after-year is that they have sent out hundreds of resumes and responded to dozens of online and newspaper help-wanted ads and never hear back from anyone.
“Unfortunately, simply posting resumes on Internet job sites and answering classified ads rarely work, even in a good job market. These activities are even less effective in a weak job market. Under current conditions, it is critical that job seekers expand their job search through networking. Job seekers may also want to consider expanding their parameters to include a wide variety of industries, companies and cities. Do not rule out companies that are struggling, as they are looking for talented individuals who can help turn around the business,” Challenger advised.
As an outplacement firm, Challenger, Gray & Christmas provides job-search training and transition counseling to individuals who have been laid off. The firm’s services are typically available only to those who receive outplacement benefits from their former employer. The two-day call-in is the only time that anyone in the general public can take advantage of Challenger’s job-search expertise.