How to find a new job
Episode 108 - How long does it take to find a new job?
If you're thinking about joining other professionals in the "Great Resignation," then this episode is for you. There are some data and information that you can find online that will guide you in making the best decisions for you. And that's what we're going to discuss.
In Australia, we have 108 labor markets with different results regarding the duration in weeks of frictional unemployment (the time between jobs when the professional is actively job hunting).
It's not ideal for my clients as it has no information about sector or industry job search. But the geographic location is still a good benchmark to use. You can infer the size of the demand for your profession and executive-level based on your knowledge of your region. For example, an IT program manager job searching in Singapore, New York, Sydney, or Christchurch will encounter different market sizes. As I have clients in all of the cities above, I must understand every important job market for my clients and listeners. But you need to only care about your area of interest.
I adopt the rule-of-thumb to double the average you have found and plan to be unemployed for that long. For example, in Sydney today, the average is 13 weeks of job search. If you are an IT program manager based in Sydney, plan to search for 26 weeks.
If you hire out coaching to support your search, such as the coaching that I provide, the return on your investment should be to reduce the search duration by 1-2 months at least. After all, you're hiring out someone who claims to help you with your search by introducing you to the information you don't have about the recruitment process.
Long-term unemployment is now the highest it's ever been in Australia, which is happening in many other countries. This is not surprising since the pandemic and lockdowns prolonged instability, which means strategic roles are not yet well-defined for executives. Many searches are taking too long because employers have bigger fish to fry or are unsure how to cement their new business model.
The job seeker needs to manage the three main issues eroding their chances of employment:
Financial hardship: Now is not the time to be shy about asking for help. Vulnerability is ok in 2021. Ask for help, access welfare, and save.
Skill loss: Job hunting is a job, And it's not just about looking for work and applying online. Keep learning and keep informed.
The recency of experience is eroded: Find opportunities to use your skills.
Easier said than done, you may say. And this is why working with a coach helps! When working with a client, we can brainstorm ideas, and I can recommend the best actions that are more likely to give positive results.
If you want to learn more about making smoother, more successful career transitions in 2022, enroll now in the RESET YOUR CAREER workshop & action plan.
Registrations are now open for the Reset Your Career Workshop. Click here to learn more and register.
I look forward to seeing you there!
Resources mentioned in this episode
Gareth Hutchens from the ABC has written a series of articles helping job seekers understand unemployment data: my favorites are Why are millions of unemployed people excluded from our monthly 'unemployment' data? , Why doesn't the unemployment rate make sense? and Forget the unemployment rate. Job seekers need better numbers.
Here is another interesting article: Long-term unemployment now worse than after 1991 recession by Caitlin Fitzsimmons in the Sydney Morning Herald.
And finally, the table I spoke about with the duration of job search for each of the 108 Australian Labour Markets: How many weeks does it take to find a job near you? Search this table and see by Gareth Hutchens from the ABC..
Transcript of this episode
Renata: If you're thinking about joining other professionals in the great resignation that's happening around now in the US and is potentially hitting Australia early next year. Then there are some data and metrics and information that you can find online that will guide you in making the best decisions for you. And that's what we're going to discuss in this episode.
Renata: Hello there, today I am here to discuss an important topic and make the best possible decisions and plans ahead of your great resignation. If you decide to resign, or if you've been laid off, made redundantly, it wasn't your choice. And now here you are. Then it's important for you to also make great plans, including making financial adjustments with your social life, talking to your family, discussing a whole bunch of changes that need to happen to allow you to look for another job with confidence, with less stress, because having that positive mindset will greatly influence your ability of getting your next job faster. All right. So this is the most important thing that you will learn from me in this episode is to really make sure that your mindset, that your hope, your optimism, and your confidence, your resiliency are all balanced and ready to help and support you in getting that next job. And the way to do that is to surround yourself with good advice, good coaching, good mentoring, and knowing what you need to research in order to find a job that you want.
I was talking to a friend last week, and I said, you don't want to change six by a dozen. So if you had a lousy job or if you were not happy with your job, this is the reason why you're looking for another one. You want to make sure that you are making the best decision so that you don't run into a situation where you have to accept whatever offer comes your way. Where you've been unemployed for so long that you have lost the opportunity to actually choose the best culture for you, the best fit for you, the job that has the flexibility or the working environment you want, or that next career change that you were hoping for. You don't want to be in a situation where you have to accept whatever comes your way.
And this is why I think putting that effort and energy into planning before taking that next step is important. I don't want you to procrastinate, but I want you to pay attention to the right metrics. There is a lot of information out there at the moment that does not help you. It was not designed to help employers and job hunters.
Metrics such as unemployment rates they sound like important metrics for you, but they are actually designed for employers and economists. It's designed to help employers, economists, and politicians make hiring decisions, make policy decisions. And they mean nothing to job seekers.
What job seekers need to be paying attention to is how long does it take for you to find a new job? That's the really most important metric that matters for you. And there are several ways that you can find out how long it takes for you to find a new job. The one that you will find very easy and available to you wherever you are in the world is the duration of job search by geographic location. So here in Australia, the Australian Bureau of statistics has the data that I'm looking for, and I'm going to share it with you today, but wherever you are in the world, you just Google it, and you shall find some very up-to-date information about this.
In the case of Australia, just to give you an idea of how much things have changed, since the end of lockdown or the height of the lockdown earlier this year, let's say in Sydney, the duration of a job search in Sydney in March 2021 was around 27 weeks. That was the average. Now it's back to, I would say, a normal 13-week duration.
So when sometimes a prospective client calls me and says, oh, I need to get a job in two weeks. I'm already worried because if they don't know that metric and they don't understand that two months is actually not enough. This could put them into some—sort of financial hardship. So I have to ask some other questions to understand why they're in such a hurry. And also, you have to understand that this podcast is designed, and the content that I create is to be delivered to professionals with years of experience white-collar workers who mid-managers all the way to senior executives. Most of my clients are senior executives.
And the further up you are in that pyramid structure of an organization. This the lower the number of jobs, right? Can you imagine, like if you want to go to have a career advancement, which is one of the main reasons people sign up to work with me, you understand that the competition is going to be harder, there will be fewer opportunities up at the top. You need to be aware of that—respectful of your competition and what the process entails. And be ready to find your uniqueness, you know, what’s mission-critical for that employee, and what is your competitive advantage over other candidates. But this is a topic for other episodes. You can look at the backlog or see what's coming up in the future.
Renata: What is important for us to understand is that 13 week average in Australia in September 2021 is average by location. In fact, Australia has over 100 labor markets, and I'm going to link below not go written by a journalist from ABC here in Australia, and his name is Gareth Hutchinson. He has made a great job at identifying the number of weeks by each one of those labor markets. So if you are in a regional town, if you enjoy it longer, if you're in Melbourne or a few in Adelaide, you will be able to search exactly the number of weeks that it's taking right now. In fact, if the table doesn't include the months. If you're listening to this, months from now, just go back to 2018, 2019, because Gareth has those numbers there, and that's pre-COVID. And that's what I think we will go back to. But I think 13 weeks is probably a very good average from the past years—pre-pandemic. So if you're thinking about how long it will take you on average. Remember that for senior executives, it's possibly going to be longer than that. I remember when I just found out about this, I was with a very senior head hunter in Melbourne, and I had just left my CEO role. She turned to me, we were having a very good conversation, and she turned to me, and she said, that it could take over a year for you to find a new job, And I pretended ID, and I'm like, Hey, yeah.
And then I went back home, and I thought, shit. Let me review my plans. And I think that was such an eye-opener, and it's so important for us to be frank and honest and manage our expectations and no, if you are a C-level executive and you want to find another job, it could take you a long time, which can be really tough and challenging. It could entail financial hardship. It could also mean loss of skills, and that recency of your experience has eroded the longer you are unemployed. And this is definitely those three things, especially the two bottom ones; the skills and the recency is probably what I work the most with my clients that have been unemployed either because they chose to, they wanted a sabbatical, they wanted to have a business for a while, they wanted to raise kids for a while, or they were working for 20 years, they decided to take a year off, and then COVID happened. So many of my clients have that experience and that history, and we bring up the skills and the recency, and we update their pitch and their narrative, but we definitely try, and I have most often than not succeeded. It never lowers our expectations in terms of the jobs that we want to get in the future.
This is really important. As you lose confidence and you stay longer and longer in unemployment, you have a tendency to start thinking small to see if you can get anything. And that's really something that most of my clients thank me for because I keep them focused on targeting the jobs that they really want to get. And we've had some great success recently, and I'm so proud of them, of course, of myself, but mostly of my clients for believing in themselves and reaching their goals, and getting the jobs that they wanted.
So, what do you need to add in addition to knowing that the median duration of a job search is at least in Australia around 13 weeks in September 2021. This episode is going out in November, but it's pretty much around that, three months, a little bit over three months.
What do I recommend that you add to that information? First of all, that is an average; it’s geographic; it’s not by sector or industry, not by the level of seniority, and also doesn’t include people that have left their jobs or are seeking something that is completely different from what they were doing, maybe a different culture, a better working environment, more flexibility or a brand new career. All of those things can add to the time you spend searching because you don't want to settle. You want to find the best job for you. So that's what I called lifestyle search. And because of that, I tell my clients to double that. If you think that 13 weeks is the average, you have to double that. And my job, if they sign up with me, is to reduce that as much as I can. I work under the assumption that my advice will shave off two to three months of unemployment for my clients. And I work really hard to achieve that. But they have to be prepared financially, emotionally, psychologically to stay in unemployment longer than they imagined. And I think that's perfectly fine.
Last week I was talking to a client, and she was anxious. Of course, you tend to becoming as if you are unemployed. And I said, “I want you to know that you will have a job,” and sometimes we forget to tell that to ourselves. And we are very insular, especially now everybody's at home someplace is still in, semi quasi locked down, and we tend to forget that this happens to everyone and people go through ups and downs in their careers.
Careers are not linear. And you will find another job. You are very good at what you do. You are an excellent professional, well-trained, well-educated, lots of experience, good leadership skills; you are going to find another job. So stop worrying and start doing the actual job of job hunting, because that’s the long-term unemployment is a big issue because you lose your skills and my philosophy and the way that I coach my clients is to make sure that they see themselves still as professionals even though they don't have a job. It doesn't matter that they don't have an employer. You are still a financial controller, financial manager, marketing manager, communications executive, you are still a thought leader, and you have to continue to develop your profession, and your skills increased tools in your toolset as a professional. Don't come with the excuse that because you don't have a job, you're going to lose your skills. You have to keep up to date with what's happening in your sector and in your industry, no matter what. And this is homework, it's part of being unemployed, and it's actually wonderful, it's really lovely to have that time in your career to not worry about the day-to-day, not worry about those urgent things that happen when you have a job, and just have the time to update your skills and do some training, attend a webinar, they don't need to be paid, they can be free. There are so many great free webinars and workshops available out there for your professional development. Read the newspaper, read important articles in your field, and that's part of your education and part of becoming a great future. Whatever it is that you want to become. You have to keep studying, and you have to keep reading. There's no such thing as a free lunch. And because you're keeping up to date either by reading or watching or talking to people, once you walk into a job interview, you will feel way more confident about your skills, no matter how long you've been on sabbatical. And that's the most important thing when you are in front of people, and it's crunch time, and you need to perform and let them know why they should hire you and not someone else, you can showcase all of that knowledge that you've been learning and accumulating and be proud of your sabbatical, be proud of the time that you had to yourself, to your family and go back to the workforce with the confidence that you do have the skills that they need from you. And that you will be able to be a great employee and deliver on what they hired you to do.
I hope that this has helped you. Please go and search for the medium duration of job search, where you are in the world. I hope that you find something that is close to you, a good average that you can follow. I think a good rule of thumb is three months for any executive working in the corporate, nonprofit, or public sector. I think doubling that gives you a better and a more relaxed approach to your sabbatical, that intermission between one job and another. Not that you should, frankly, not that you should take a big holiday. If you want to take a big holiday, please do that’s in addition to the six months. Okay? And do the reset your career workshop because we discussed how to actually make those lifestyle changes that will allow you to have that sabbatical, and not be financially stressed, not be worried, mentally and, make sure that you make the most out of that. You're going to look back after you get your job and think, Oh, I wish I did more with that time that I had between jobs, I wish I wasn't so stressed, and that's what the research or career workshop is there to do. In addition, of course, it has an action plan and lots of templates, and lots of things that you can use to make those great decisions and DIY your job search in the months ahead.
I hope to see you at the workshop. And I hope to see you here on the next podcast episode. Bye for now.
About the Host
Hello, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach professionals (corporate, non-profit, and public) the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress.
If you are an ambitious professional who is keen to develop a robust career plan, if you are looking to find your next job or promotion, or if you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the job market so that when you are ready, and an opportunity arises, you can hit the ground running, then this podcast is for you.
In addition to The Job Hunting Podcast, on my website, I have developed a range of courses and services for professionals in career or job transition. And, of course, I also coach private clients.
Contact Renata Bernarde
I’m determined to help you! I want you to feel empowered, nail your next job, and have the career you want.
My free resources for job hunters: The Optimized Job Search: Weekly Schedule & Masterclass.
Learn more about my services, courses, and group coaching: RenataBernarde.com