There were seismic shifts in the labour market over the course of 2023, particularly among highly-skilled workers.
It was a time of fewer job postings and a marked increase in layoffs compared with 2021 and 2022.
Career strategist Tobi Oulwole, founder of TalentGap, fielded many inquiries among the quarter-million pink slips doled out last year in the tech industry alone.
“That flooded the job market with people that had literally not looked for jobs in five, 10, 15 years,” he told Global News. “2023 was a very interesting year because the pendulum absolutely swung.”
With the balance of power shifting back to employers, some of the big changes included return-to-office mandates for roles that were previously fully remote. Between that, layoffs and an uncertain economic outlook, many people are suddenly searching for jobs, either covertly, or overtly, in the new year.
And experts say it pays to be strategic.
What to do if you’ve been laid off
Receiving a pink slip or being otherwise dismissed from your workplace has become increasingly common in the past year or so as companies reduce head counts to cut costs. The decision is usually a financial one, but the impact on an individual can include emotional scars.
Career consultant Sweta Regmi remembers getting laid off in 2017. She says it happened in “one minute, over the phone” when her role, along with several others, was eliminated.
“Remember, it’s not your fault,” she says.
Regardless of whether your job search is forced upon you, in the case of a layoff, or something you’re engaging in proactively, Regmi recommends taking some time to assess your current situation with a “SWOT,” to gauge your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. She recommends doing some deep reflection and “soul searching.”
Figure out what your next move will be, whether that’s pivoting to another industry or a new position with a skills upgrade or certification, or perhaps trying a new path such as consulting or entrepreneurship.
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Regmi’s job trajectory included founding a career guidance service called Teachndo, which she runs from Sudbury, Ontario, geared towards newcomers to Canada.
Oluwole suggests giving your resume a makeover using AI tools to ensure it contains the right key words and structure for your field and the type of job you seek.
Resume review services used to cost as much “$500 or $1,000” but he says there are tools and apps that allow you to create a free account to help build yourself an “incredible resume for $12.”
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With quality resumes “flooding the market,” Oluwole says it’s time to improve your soft skills to ensure you’re interview-ready. In addition, he recommends “investing heavily” in boosting your personal brand online.
He’s built up several businesses with his posts on LinkedIn where he shares tips to boost productivity, negotiate a higher salary as well as labour market trends. He’s been diligent, posting daily for 960 weekdays in a row.
“My content on LinkedIn has been seen over 140 million times and because of that, I’ve been offered roles that I honestly could not even apply for, from VP of sales to director of sales,” he says.
Regmi recommends adding that you’re “open to work” on LinkedIn, and ensuring that recruiters on the platform can easily grasp your expertise and experience via your profile.
Her final piece of advice? Do your homework.
“Know the labour trends in the market. There’s a layoff tracker that tells you what companies are laying off, and you can find out what companies are growing,” she says. “Look at startups as well, it’s not only about top employers.”
Regmi and Oluwole stress the importance of networking to boost your chances of being considered for roles within your field as well as positions that haven’t been posted, and never will.
Arrive, a platform to help newcomers land a job in Canada, operated by Royal Bank of Canada, says approximately 80 per cent of all open positions in Canada are “hidden,” a figure corroborated by many career experts.
Being open to new work opportunities is something Oluwole suggests, regardless of your current employment status. Doing so discreetly is recommended unless you want to tip off your present boss. Oluwole says it’s a small-time investment for a potentially large payoff.
“No matter how comfortable you are at a job, keep having conversations and keep looking. It takes 15 minutes a day and if you find something new, you can probably change your life,” he says.
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.