6 Ways the Great Recession Changed Hiring

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RecessionWith the world economy starting to mend in the wake of the Great Recession — for the most part — it’s probably now worth taking stock of some of the impacts this recession had on the hiring landscape. Are there any long-lasting legacies changes that recruiters, employers, and job seekers should be aware of? Below, I outline several things that have changed in the hiring and labor markets post-recession:

1. The Typical Resume Contains More Gaps in Employment Than It Did Before the Recession.

Employers have likely noticed that more and more resumes contain employment gaps in the post-recession world. This is not surprising, due to the high levels of unemployment experienced during the recession. It’s probably also quite worrying for the job applicants who have to present their battle-scarred resumes, which contain a few too many gaps in employment. Still, the fact remains: resumes with gaps are a post-recession reality that employers and candidates must deal with.

2. Employers Have Become More Accepting of Employment Gaps 

Now that employment gaps are more common, there is a silver lining: employers have become more accepting of employment gaps. A CareerBuilder study  found that 85 percent of employers have softened their stance on employment gaps.

However, candidates are not quite out of the woods yet. In order for the employment gap to be “acceptable,” the candidate should have used that time to: take a class/go back to school to improve their skills (according to 61 percent of respondents in the CareerBuilder study); do some volunteering (60 percent); or take on some temporary/contract work (79 percent).

3. New Jobs After the Recession Pay 23 Percent Less Than They Did Before the Recessions 

This stat comes courtesy of Newsweek, and it’s likely that most U.S. workers feel this in their pockets. This could harm employers, too: what they gain in terms of cost reduction, they may lose in terms of productivity as workers look make up for meager salaries by working longer hours (or multiple jobs), which leads to burnout and  unproductive employees.

4. A Decline in Middle Management

Research shows that  that mid-wage occupations — paying between $13.83 and $21.13 per hour — accounted for around 60 percent of jobs lost during the recession, but these same jobs made up just 27 percent of the jobs gained post-recovery. Interestingly, low wage jobs accounted for 21 percent of jobs lost during the recession and have accounted for 58 percent of new jobs after the recession. It seems that employers may have taken the opportunity to streamline organizations and reduce middle management overhead during the recession, and now they are now looking to replace these middle managers with low-wage entry-level staff.

5. Educational Programs to Help Women Relaunch Their Careers Are Near Nonexistent

This article from the Washington Post reveals that in 2007 there were more than 70 educational programs in the U.S. that helped highly skilled women who had left the workforce to renter it. After the recession, however, just a few of these programs remain in place. It seems that corporate funding for these kinds of on-ramping training programs was largely cut during the recession. Subsequently, women who have taken a career break during the recession and want to pick up their career again may find it harder, due to the lack of these programs.

6. Nonprofit Jobs Occupy a Bigger Share of the Employment Market

Nonprofit jobs grew during the recession, while other sectors declined. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonprofit jobs now comprise about 10 percent of all non-government jobs and are the now the third largest sector by size, compared to other industries in the U.S. This means that the nonprofit sector may be a prime opportunity for both job seekers and recruiters.

As you can see, there have been some quite significant changes to the labor market and hiring climate in the aftermath of the recession, and you should take these changes into account when planning your job search or hiring strategy.

By Kazim Ladimeji