2011 job market won't be the same as the pre-recession one

We're clawing our way out of a recession that has spawned a year and a half of "jobless recovery."

We expect more jobs to open up this year. But don't expect the pre-2008 job market to return.

Workplaces that downsized aren't likely to regain pre-recession strength. And new hiring isn't apt to fill the same jobs that were eliminated.

The workplace of 2011 will be different. How?

  • Many employers cut non-core business lines and created new revenue-producing lines. Those businesses aren't the same as they were before, and they don't need people doing what they did before.
  • Employers that reduced payrolls found they could get productivity gains with fewer workers. They're unlikely to ramp up hiring unless productivity falls or demand increases strongly.
  • Current hot jobs include such disciplines as social media, health care reform and green or sustainable energy. Many of those jobs didn't exist pre-recession. New skill sets are needed.
  • Employers, still worried about the strength of the recovery, are more likely to hire contract or temporary workers than add full-time payroll employees. Job-hunters need to get used to "just in time" employment and essentially become their own marketers.
  • Workplace rewards are skimpier. Many perks, such as company cars or company cell phones, are being curtailed. Many raise pools are barely keeping pace with inflation. Many promotions offer new titles and responsibilities, but not more money.
  • Employers, looking for proven talent to hit the ground running, are more likely to cherry-pick the currently employed than take a chance on the long-term unemployed. So turnover is likely among the top talent who are headhunter prizes.
  • Mortgage problems and two-career families put a double whammy on corporate relocations, making cross-country moves undesirable for many workers. The bright side? That improves hiring odds for workers who are willing and able to move.

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