How to Maintain Career Stability in an Unstable Job Market
In the past few decades, Oklahomans have weathered numerous ups and downs, cyclical changes and company transitions impacting our work lives. What goes up will eventually come down. We’ve seen this several times in our economy, especially within the energy industry. But let’s not pick on the energy industry; no industry or company is immune to change.
The labor market in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area has been dramatically affected when corporations headquartered here close or move. We felt this pinch in 2003 when Fleming Foods declared bankruptcy and laid off hundreds of the best and brightest professionals in our area. In 2009, following the financial crisis and nationwide recession – every industry was affected.
We live today with rapidly changing conditions and no industry is impervious to volatility. Additionally, uncertainty and insecurity can often be heightened by overscaling potential layoffs to more companies than may really be affected.
Due to recent severe commodity price decline, along with oil and natural gas surpluses that followed strong growth in previous years, producers cannot afford to continue pulling resources out of the ground. The trickle-down effect will be felt in the months ahead throughout the many industries that support the energy industry in Oklahoma.
The good news for Oklahoma is that in the past 10 years, we have greatly diversified our employment market, which helps hedge the impact of economic downturns. Instead of a job market highly dependent upon the energy industry, we now have a strong base of companies in bio-tech, medical and healthcare services, retail, insurance services and more.
At times, you may feel helpless to protect yourself against these risks. In reality, you have more control than you may think. Don’t get caught off-guard by downturns; be mindful of how your resume reads to someone outside your current industry. The best time to build a resume is when you are gainfully employed, so pursue projects, additional training and opportunities marketable in other areas. By being mindful of the cyclical nature of the job market, you can capitalize on the good economic times and be better prepared for uncertainty if the need arises.
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