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What the Job Market Will Really Look Like this January

Jason Weber
Fri, Dec 30, 2016

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The job market has always been difficult to predict after Thanksgiving and this past year has been no different. Traditionally, contract positions that commenced in October/November start wrapping up, people use vacation time that they’ve been saving all year, decision makers’ attendance is spotty, people tend to slow their pace down, and let’s not forget about office holiday parties.

In the past, year-end often brings huge spikes in projects, companies requiring multiple contract employees, tons of direct hire offers, and days of sitting around staring at your coworkers questioning why you even came in. With 2017 basically here, the market will become more predictable but jobseekers need to be mindful of the following 3 things, which you might expect but not want to hear:

  • There’s the perception that as soon as the new year starts, that all these new roles come to fruition. I’m not saying that people don’t get hired the first few weeks of the year but opportunities are more few and far between. Hiring is more of a trickle effect. The first few weeks, people start to get into a “normal” schedule, you see people getting back into a routine, and settling in. Things begin picking up steam but that doesn’t guarantee an increased number of positions. Looking at past years, you see a lot more activity in February, March, and leading into Q2.
  • Not everyone’s year end is December 31st. Depending on the type of company, operational makeup, etc. some organizations don’t have means to bring on additional staff unless there’s an unforeseen vacancy. The idea of a company starting with a new budget in January seems appealing but that could happen in April or July.
  • If you’re in between jobs and have been actively interviewing for direct hire roles with no success, don’t be scared to take a temporary position! No one says you need to remain there for the entire length of the contact however there are more pros than cons. A temporary job does not mean that you can’t interview but just be smart about it. If you have multiple interviews scheduled, take a day off and try to schedule them together. A temporary job allows you to be more selective and not jump at the first opportunity. A temporary role allows you to sit back and weigh your options. A temporary job gets rid of your employment gap. Whether it’s been 2 weeks or 2 months, companies always want explanations for gaps in employment. By taking an assignment, it helps alleviate that conversation. Also, remember that if you take a temporary job that pays less than what you’re accustomed to, that doesn’t mean that you’re now in a lower income bracket. A temporary role can also serve as a foot in the door exposing you to an opportunity that may have been previously overlooked.

As a Recruiter, I’m in continuous contact with job seekers and keep hearing the same thing, that they can’t wait until the holidays are over and then all the jobs will appear on a silver platter. By no means is my intention to appear negative or pessimistic but I’m just trying to be realistic. There is no doubt that the beginning of the year is exciting for a lot of job seekers but people need to remember to be patient and come in with realistic expectations.

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