Where IS the economy going?


Christine Livingston asked me where I thought the economy was going.

How long is it taking for people to get jobs?

I tweeted her question out to HireFriday and then used LinkedIn Answers to ask this question and targeted it to many of my career pro colleagues and friends:

Jobseeker / CareerPro survey:

What is Average time for professionals to land a new job now? US? UK?

Job Seekers:

  • PK: 8 1/2 months and counting. Not happy.
  • HT: I’ll tell you when I finally get there. This search is dragging on.
  • Ed Han: If anyone’s collating this data in the US, it would be the BLS…ah, here it is. BLS (US federal Bureau of Labor Statistics) says 35.2 weeks as of end of June. I am unable to identify a current source for the UK rate. Links: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t12.htm
  • JB: 17 months and still counting.

Career Pros:

Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter —Career Trend

That’s REALLY a challenge to calculate, but what I’m seeing is ‘it’s all over the board.’ Those individuals transitioning their skill sets to NEW industries and specialties are often taking longer to land – perhaps twice what it took a few years ago, before the economy stalled. However, those individuals, whether changing industries or staying in the same industry, who get creative, take bridge consulting, part-time, volunteer or other jobs, focus on expanding and building their relationships, value, social media, career marketing and giving skills are moving ahead more quickly and methodically.

Those who see the search as a process versus just an end result ARE creating new career paths/lives that, though, circuitous, have pleasing (and pragmatic) results. It’s about traction, I believe – staying positive and keeping head ‘above the water’ while swimming to the new career world shore. Times and economy have changed forever, so expecting to pop a resume on a few job boards, contact a few companies with your value message and sit back to be recruited, are over. Accepting and embracing that fact will boost job-search momentum …and garner REAL results faster.

Laura Smith-Proulx – AnExpertResume.com

Great question! I bet you’ll end up with a lot of diverse answers. My clients are either having surprisingly short job searches (a matter of just weeks), or going through interviews where the process drags out. This is due to the company undergoing a change (such as an acquisition) during the time that the candidate has interviewed, or someone on the interview team waffling for a while. So, the candidates are piquing interest on the part of employers, but understandably frustrated at waiting while internal changes go down.

The volume of interviews also seems to be up, where candidates who typically might have went through 2 rounds are experiencing 4 different interviews, including phone screens.

The fastest hiring rate that I have witnessed seems to be (as always) among those who are being recruited away. This also depends on the industry, of course, although some of the faster hires I’ve seen lately are in fields that I thought had slowed (such as land development or construction).

I had more answers from my brilliant colleagues and from job seekers than fit in this space. Share your thoughts here. Job search is a topic that concerns all of us globally. It isn’t just the US economy. Christine is in the UK. I have friends, colleagues, and lately, clients throughout the world. We all need to understand this complex subject.

My clients are seeing more interviews and getting more offers. I get e-mails telling me that regularly. But as Jacqui and Laura said, it has much to do with how their search is positioned and how much networking they have in place.

Do you feel that we are going in the right direction, even if it isn’t fast enough?


  1. Master Resume Writer on August 9, 2010 at 8:29 am

    Thanks, Julie, for weaving my LinkedIn response into your lively blog!

    I also really enjoyed Laura Smith-Proulx’s thoughts: in particular, her comment that the ‘volume’ of interviews is increasing. Though my clients, too, are sharing with me that they are piquing interest, their frustration in the convoluted and/or looong processes, often accompanied by delays spurred by internal changes, is apparent.

    Nonetheless, candidates ARE landing, and the economy IS seeing movement. So, there is every reason to be hopeful! Adjusting one’s expectations often can be key in managing this new job search economy.

    As well, in today’s job search, it seems, it is more important than ever for job seekers to know they are ‘not alone’ in their situation. They offer strong, smart and impressive career track records that are market-able and valued.

    Julie, it sounds, too, like your clients also are seeing rays of light, interviews and new job opportunities!

    Thanks for your post!

    • Julie Walraven on August 9, 2010 at 3:01 pm

      Yes, I have had the four interviews for clients and sometimes 4 offers but yes, the long process is also a common ingredient in today’s hiring process. I wrote about that awhile back in this post, https://designresumes.com/is-your-hr-vetting-process-repelling-your-best-candidates/

      I sense discouragement in some job seekers, a discouragement we all feel when things go wrong or go slower than we want. Hitting the panic button is common. I understand that but I don’t think it helps in the process.

  2. Ed Han on August 9, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Interesting that volume of interviews is increasing, although now that I think of it, other job seekers of my acquaintance are saying something similar. I wonder if this isn’t a reaction to organizations having brought on “the wrong person” to reduce the risk of anomalous hiring decisions?

    In any event, this attenuation at the extreme ends is alarming. Faster hiring is good but the factors that go into the longer search periods being experienced are, I think, still a bit unclear.

    • Julie Walraven on August 9, 2010 at 3:04 pm

      As I just mentioned to Jacqui, Ed, I wrote about that very thing when I had a client go through 7 interviews only to NOT be offered the position. Companies who use this extensive of procedures are probably losing some of the best candidates or short-changing some that they interview by increasing stress for them.

  3. Brent Peterson on August 9, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Hi Julie,

    The majority (75%) of people I know in Virginia have found employment. However, a lot of it is contract work. I know they are keeping their eye on full time opportunities.

    As for where the economy is going, there is a global transition for big companies to act small. In other words, they will have fewer actual employees and more strategic partnerships to handle customer service, process orders, etc. So the growth in jobs will be with these partners not with the actual branded company.

    I also think (and hope) we will see greater government incentives to in-source jobs to communities in the U.S.


  4. Julie Walraven on August 9, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Good to hear, Brent! I think in-sourcing is a wonderful idea. I don’t think for the most part the outsourcing helped companies or their customers and certainly not their employees. Often in the long run, the costs of outsourcing were greater than the company factored in as the savings.

  5. Christine Livingston on August 10, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Hey, my friend, thanks for this article and for all your support round this topic. I had no idea when I asked the question you’d run with it to this extent!

    It felt like a good question to ask from a coaching point of view. A number of my clients are either looking for different jobs in the same profession, or are seeking to transition into something new. My impression from their experiences is that both are just taking longer right now. But it’s useful to try to ground this in some kind of reality.

    As other people are saying here, movement is happening. I think the things that make the difference are clarity and focus around what you’re going after; extensive and creative networking using both online and traditional media; well crafted and well positioned CV/resume and other personal branding support; confidence and determination. Also, real pragmatism – taking the great piece of contracting work not just because it keeps cash flowing, but also because it supplements experience – and long term focus.

    Thanks again, Julie!

    • Julie Walraven on August 10, 2010 at 11:32 am

      Thanks, Christine! The longer we know each other, the better you will know that if I can help with a solution or answer, I will. I think you asked a question that is on the hearts and minds of people around the world. Waiting for recovery and finding those elusive positions is a challenge for many great people who have had to give up their own dreams and aspirations to work through this global recession. When the recovery finally comes, this will be a period that, like children of those who went through the Great Depression, will be remembered and not so easily put aside as impossible in the future. Perhaps it will lead to different ways of looking at work, different ways of valuing loyal employees, and different fiscal policies throughout the world… perhaps!

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