Laid-off workers having better luck in new industries

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When you try to assess the state of the economy, you can quickly find yourself confused and not sure what to think. On one hand, you have the employment rate, which seems to have only taken baby steps downward but is significantly better than it was a couple of years ago. Then you have the amount of new jobs added to the economy each month, which was been on a steady rise for the last year. Yet, while we can point out the many reasons to be optimistic about the current state of job growth, what matters is whether or not job seekers are successful in their searches.

Fortunately, a new CareerBuilder survey suggests that job searches are improving, particularly for recently laid-off workers. Of surveyed workers laid off from full-time positions in the last year, 59 percent already found new positions, a 4 percent improvement over last year.  Fortunately, 90 percent of these workers found new full-time jobs, and 10 percent found new part-time jobs.

Opportunities in unexpected places
As we saw with the mass layoffs during the Great Recession, all industries do not weather the economy in the same way. The financial industry went through a rougher patch than health care and education did. As a result, workers realized their best chances for employment might not be in the same industry they had been working in for their entire careers.

According to the survey, 60 percent of laid-off workers who found new jobs found them in a new industry. In 2010, only 48 percent of workers said the same, a sign that workers are broadening their job searches and repackaging themselves for employers.

“Over the last few years, we’ve seen workers, out of necessity, cast a wider net and discover new career paths they may never have considered pre-recession,” says Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder. “New talent is flowing in and out of industries as workers apply their skills sets to new occupations.”For some workers, that means taking their existing skills and looking elsewhere. For example, someone with legal experience might have been laid off from a law firm, but now they can look to major corporations or even the government, as every organization needs legal counsel.

For other workers, their job search requires a different kind of reinvention.

The role of education and certification
When the economy was at its worst, many workers returned to school in order to gain new skills, whether that was a refresher course or a new degree. For some industries, however, an additional degree isn’t as important as being certified in your field. In IT, for example, having a liberal arts degree won’t be as attractive as relevant experience and certification. One such program is Cisco Certifications for IT networking careers. Here, technology workers of all experience levels are able to improve their skills in network security, routing and switching, design and other in-demand fields.

“Certification meets the needs of IT professionals by allowing them to gain valuable resources and skills necessary in the work place, then validating those skills,” says Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, vice president and general manager of Learning@Cisco. “Certification validates skills necessary for various job roles. Certification also provides a competitive differentiator for employers.”

And for workers in today’s job market, standing out in a crowded job market is a primary goal. Another benefit, and no less important to most workers, is the financial prospect of certification. Beliveau-Dunn points out that workers with these technology certifications usually receive some of the highest salaries in their respective fields, which isn’t surprising. For workers in all industries, an extra line on your résumé denoting your proficiency in a sought-after skill — a training program in public speaking or certification in teaching — often allows you to negotiate a better salary because of the extra qualifications you bring.  When you’re bouncing back after a layoff, and even if you’re not, any chance of increasing your paycheck is always welcome.

The reality for laid-off workers
The survey also found that laid-off workers haven’t just found new jobs in the last year, many have relocated to help their searches and some have also seen an improvement in salary.

Here are some of the other results from the recent survey:

  • 31 percent of laid-off workers were hired back by the employers who laid them off
  • 23 percent of laid-off workers not only found jobs in the last year, but also received higher salaries than in their former job
  • 63 percent of laid-off males workers found full-time jobs; 50 percent of women reported the same
  • Workers 25-34 are most likely to land a new job, while workers 55 and older are the least likely
  • Of laid-off workers who found new jobs, 33 percent relocated to a new city or state
  • 34 percent of laid-off workers who haven’t found a job are open to relocating

For more results from the survey, read the full release here.

Let us know if you have noticed the same improved market compared to this time last year. Have you or your friends and family who were laid off been successful in your job hunt? Are you thinking about relocating or getting a new degree or certification to improve your job prospects?

22 Comments
  1. My job hunt has continued to be just as unsuccessful as ever, despite the fact that I’m now able to apply to more jobs than before. I would definitely relocate for a new job and have applied in other cities. However, I think it’s way too early to be optimistic – adding 700,000 jobs when there are 15 million unemployed is hardly anything to cheer about.

  2. P.S. I’ve also tried to get into several programs that would be new career fields for me, but everyone else also has the same idea. For example, an accelerated Nursing program I considered has a 2 year wait! It’s quite discouraging.

    • Bobbi, have you had a professional resume writer critique your resume? This could be the problem with your unsuccessful employment search.

  3. Pingback: Laid-off workers having better luck in new industries : The Work Buzz | Job Offers

  4. I have been laid off for over two years now and I am 55. I’ve had a professional resume done and also had a HR director look at my resume and make changes. She told me to keep only 10-15 years worth. The problem is that most of my interesting highlights are in years prior to that. I had been working for 13 years in the same place after being laid off from another company. I have gone back to school and taken all credits I had previously and took classes for the rest to get an AS, but nothing can gurantee you a job at my age in a state that is discouraging jobs and businesses. There are lots of colleges with young graduates I have to compete with. Experience doesn’t seem important anymore. Everything has changed. How does one get a job after 2 years of trying to get one? I’ll take a drop in pay. I need to pay my bills! I have been laid off four times, but have worked for over 30 years. Each time I had very good performance appraisals. My last boss took me to the movies on my last day and gave me a bouquet of flowers. Gee, I miss working!

    • I totally get where you are coming from. I am in the same boat. I am 59, have worked 2 jobs in the last 25 years. Got my Associates degree prior to that. Got laid off and now can’t find anything. I thought the economy was supposed to be getting better.

  5. Hear all the pain here. I’m 58…I was laid off in May of 08. Working temp jobs doing what I’ve been doing for 26 years…at half the pay and no benefits. Hear the story from many people. Here’s the take: (having worked in Health Insurance, I put a lot of credence in this)…ladies and gents – we’re very expensive people. We are older…we are physically aging and we cost a LOT to insure. Plus…26 years and more experience doesn’t come at a $20 an hour price-tag…unless you’re contracting them. In which case, there’s no benefits to consider! We make GREAT temps.

    • I’m 63… laid off 2 yrs ago, took 7 months to find a job, laid off again 2 months ago… this time feels absolutely hopeless unless I get new skills. Same boat as Constance above, the skills I want to use are left off my “10 year” resume. They say there’s no age discrimination, but we all know that’s not true. I just want to work and get off unemployment. Will do practically anything, for far less than $20/hr.

    • Stephanie,
      What I wouldn’t do if I had your experience. I went to school for medical billing and coding in the event I had to transition careers. I’m in the collection business and I’m considered a top performer because to me I focus on a win-win situation, in which, the client and customer win by collective bargaining instead of the young crowd’s way by intolerance and abusive tactics. Unfortunately, the school that I joined the instructor was not into tutoring. Or, she rather did not want to explain in further detail, although I was in my top 97th percentile, subjects in the latter of the course had been too complex for me. I passed at a rough 79% but because I’m disadvantaged through a disability I wasn’t able to intern. If I knew that I was not going to find work for the next 2 years, I would have voluteered at some local hospital to gain the much needed training. Stephanie, you stand a good chance in becoming an instructor yourself that pays what you’re asking for and much more. You should look into it and if I were you I would consider contracting for a given amount of time. I’ll tell you why, the instructor who taught me said that people who taught have to teach their students to perform good claim submissions. That is the key in performing as an instructor. If you had a class of 20 that you taught and 50% of the students graduated with top marks and they went on to their internship and the clinic called the school back to say who their instructor was that taught them so well.. Believe me, you would have such a stable career where you can basically pave your own road to any educational facility and these educational facilities have some of the best top insurance. Discern for yourself and speak with a counselor in the medical field. Tell them about your experience and look carefully at their behavior especially their facial expression, if you see one of their eyebrows twitch & lift up don’t sell yourself short. Get it!

  6. p.s. in order to sell all that experience…it’s a little hard not to BE the ages we are in order to have done what we’ve done. Younger management tends to be a little narrow focused at times. And don’t kid yourself…not that many managers want their mother’s supporting them in the office. Regardless of how well she’s proven she can do it.

  7. Ok LADIES AND GENTS….I just turn 50 I don’t give a dam about what jobs that don’t want people over 45 and up. GO WHERE THEY WANT “YOU” Let’s keep this real as possible. You want to work, reinvent yourself.
    Go back 7 years the most 10. Focus your resume on the specific job at hand. Meaning make the SUMMARY THE JOB YOU WANT TO DO. NOW, go out and buy a hip suit without going overboard. A 2$2000 suit is going overboard. Try coloring your gray…LUCKY FOR ME I DON’T HAVE ANY. Hang around a younger crowd, it’s encouraging, and last but least think about STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS….WE LIVE IN THE MOST PREJUDICE COUNTRY AMERICA, WHERE EVERYTHING IS BASE ON RACE/GENDER/AGE AND BASICALLY OUTSIDE APPEARANCES INSTEAD OF YOUR SKILLS AND HOW YOU WOULD REALLY WANT TO WORK FOR A GOOD COMPANY AND CONTRIBUTE.

  8. Today, after reading the comments posted by so many of you 50 and up. I realized that after 2and half years of unemployment countless hours of new schooling, hundreds of resumes in the blind, downsizing and repackaging myself so many times that I don’t even know who I am anymore it has finally occured to me that we are a strong and viable workforce that are simply competing in the wrong markets. Instead of being on the outside we are truly the in-crowd. This is something to be proud of and I refuse to compete with a kid my sons age. Reinventing yourself does not mean dying your hair. I’m proud of my gray, it is part of where I’ve been and where I am going.It is time to launch a new campaign for those us who are AARP qualified . Stop competing with kids. Hell most of us got them where they are today! Remember with all that experience you already are leaders

  9. Well, from what I’m reading it seems like we’re all in the same boat. I’m 61 and it’s been 3 years since Iwas laid off. I’m trying to keep the faith but, it’s getting kind of hard. My IRA and Pension money are just about gone. My money for the most part is outgoing Not incoming. It’s sad to think that you’ve worked all these years and nobody wants you. We are the ones that made the work force what it is TODAY, but, they want the young blood NOT the old blood. We live in a sad state of affairs. That’s putting it mildly. I HOPE the BEST for ALL you older folks like me. Whatever you do “KEEP YOUR HEADS”. We will find something. I will send “PRAYERS” for ALL of us. PEACE TO ALL OF YOU.

  10. I truly did not realize there were so many of us older folks laid off. I have been off for a little more than2 years and have always been on time and taken great pride in what I do, it seems that is not what is wanted any more. dressing like crap and showing up late is considered cool. Being on your phone all the time and texting your twitter friends. Thats what its come to. and to think we bought them all that stuff. I’m not dying my hair either. I went back to school, made a dozen resumes,i too don’t know who I am anymore. They screwed us by telling themselves that there would be more money for them if they got rid of us 4 week paid vacation, sick days, paid holidays, old heads.. well it worked. What do we have to fight back with..?? TIRED, OLD, BUT CAN OUT WORK ANY KID, ANY TIME!!

    • Sammy,
      What do you do or what did you used to do. I’m right up there with you in length of unemployed. However, I’m considered disadvantaged due to a disability. I don’t mind talking about it. My family says its noone’s business but I prefer to be transparent. You know I believe that you can out work any kid at any time. But, why stoop so low. I have a better idea and I want to share it with you or anyone that’s been unemployed as long as we have. You should start thinking about opening up your own business. If your first thought was cost, you’re not alone. I was the same way. Every city has an outreach in which if you are deciding to open a business but don’t exactly know where to start check your city of commerce sba (small business association). People who have been in business but have retired are available to offer their advice. My friend turned me onto it, and I have yet to start. But, I was looking through the web and I landed here and having read your post, you seemed frustrated. Just wanted to share some food for thought. I’m not asking for anything in return. Just pass the idea to someone who might need it. Your business doesn’t have to be in the physical, it can be online. My line of work deals with recovery on creditor’s rights collecting aged receivables and I’ve been highly successful working for many companies. And, yeah I can out work any kid, any time too. As I recently been put to the test, I’ve generated 30% above production goal more than the rest that only met goal. But, I still got laid off. I may be able to litigate as I still have time but to me that’s not too important than either attaining employment or starting my online business because I recently became a new father so I have my work cut out for me. Look into the SBA in your city and you’ll see that you might have what it takes. Good Luck!

  11. In reading all of your posts, I do see a pattern. You are not all here to discuss the trials and tribulations that are occurring to each of us. You should be networking regardless if the majority in here are unemployed. We also have to be transparent because we are introducing ourselves in a portal where we cannot see each other just by reading each of our posts. This software uses “windows” but it’s not like looking into a house through a window, we have to introduce ourselves and the line of work each of us does or did. When each of you go shopping online your method to complete the transaction is recieved by you using whatever means the website is able to accept. It’s not a youngster that asks for the info, its a system. The individual who set up the website could possibly be someone who’s retired or young. We are only focusing on the individuals that replaced our last positions. We are not focusing to online businesses that we all could be benefiting from. As current online businesses still need people to market their products to consumers. Currently, most big companies are outsourcing employees to replace the high priced american employee with other countries like china or india. If we all understand that this does pose a problem but all we do is point fingers and argue than who is to blame for our misfortunes. Noone but ourselves. So, now that we understand the problem lets find an answer and do something about it. I do a lot of research in which I start with one link, but because most of the answers are from people like you and me, I do the best out of 5 or 10, to be absolutely sure that I get good information. Then I cross reference the subject by going to the public library. But, why do I have to do that when they told us the web was going to provide efficient information for us. If you notice when you need an answer to a question and we go to google it. The answer comes back in an array of links. If you look at those links closely, most of them are blogs which means that a person may have researched the answer for you or a person’ specialty on the subject is offering you their “opinion.” So, we could say that if we use their answer, we would be using someone’s opinion and it may only be 50% correct and most of these people are in your age group, retired and making a profit enough to live off. Most of them have used analysis reports to identify what consumers are purchasing in their sites so the website could be furnished by an automated system, in which, the person no longer has to monitor his own site. So, imagine if we all had a new idea to market or if we purchased popular websites and did what other people are doing and you find yourself being your own boss which money is now coming in. What would each of you be doing with the rest of your time? Now, think about it that is a lot of time. There’s another thing to think about. If we don’t go that route and everyone in here would state their line of work, imagine how many of us would be able to match careers. For instance, I do consumer & commercial collections for retail accounts. I can easily network with someone that is in healthcare, a business that deals with vendors, suppliers, creditors of any business that offers credit. All these businesses still use accounting systems and whether they are new or old businesses do you think they would entrust someone that they are just starting to train in retrieving the aged receivables versus those that are experienced in successful recoveries. That is all it takes. It can be 2 people that put their heads together and before you know it they create a business. Tell yourselves what industries continue to make money whether there is a natural disaster or a recession. There are still going to be restaurants, people have to eat, young & old. There will still be hospitals, people still get hurt. There will still be mechanics, I don’t see anytime soon where people would want to ride bicycles, young or old for that matter that would be willing to trade their current vehicles for. Now, that you know what I do how about taking a leap of faith to tell me more about what you did and see if we can find a connection. I live in orange county, CA and if you need me to do the research, what else do I have to do? But, of course I will. If many of you live in different states, that’s okay. There is a system called “Telecommute” which more businesses are starting to welcome the idea in cost reduction. Look into all that I’ve said and really think about it. Your experiences are highly needed and in comparison to what I’ve read in the bible, these are treasures that men have lost their lives and years trying to attain…knowledge is power. Good Luck to us all.

  12. While I am fortuanate to be working, I am not advancing! I have acrually gone DOWN! Ever since I graduated with an MBA in Information Security my employer had found new ways to let me know that they know disapprove of me. Others tell me that I have become a threat to management because of my advance degree.

    So getting more educated or skills doesn’t always work … All the local employers are the same way – they are NOT hiring! Even though “they” say it is easier to find a job when you have one – it simply does not apply!

  13. Well, I find this a bit off. First I have been a mechanic on everything from cars to intercept/attack air craft. I have only one certification and that is for motorcycles. Yes I have tools and I know how to use all the diagnostic programs available today. My issue with this is I am unemployed not from lack of applicable skill but from lack of applicable PAPER. Meaning I am actually over qualified in most aspects but I do not have the certs/degrees, (ASE,EPA,BS,MASTERS,etc)
    Yes some of you are going to say “go back to school” well the problem MOST of us have is we made enough money between 06-09 that the FEDS can’t/won’t provide enough funds or in my case, any funds to get a degree. This is the same with California EDD, they have a program for retraining, I asked and was told there is no money to fund the program.

    I have sent 10 resumes a day since 5/1/2010 (minus sat and sun) and have had 3 replies all of them “thank you but we are not hiring” mind you I sent a resume to a listed job posting.

    I have even gone so far as to beg people to hire me. Repackage? Downsize?
    how about an interview first? after all I am willing to negotiate. The last guy I talked to I made him the offer of 20 per hr. down from 34 per hour (which is my usual pay as a mechanic) based on x amount for miles away, skills, my liability, etc.

    Not one reply, and out of the local repair shops it is always, “well, you are not ASE, diesel, FAA, HVAC, etc etc certified, I can’t hire you, not from the inability to do the work, because you do not have any certs.

    Now how are we as “displaced workers” supposed to feel and what are we supposed to do when the programs that we as tax payers set up to aid ourselves refuse to provide? I would give a kidney for a job that would take into account experience, instead of over rated bits of paper that say nothing other than you completed an expensive course of study.
    (seriously folks I have talked to allot of PHDs and college grads that know very little of what they supposedly studied for)

    Yes, I have resumes on EVERY job search site I can find, nothing, even out of state, nothing.

    (new industry, some one tell me of a mechanic that has converted to a corporate job or some other field without having to start at minimum wage)

  14. I am 59 and out of work a couple of years. I am tired of all the stuff I read about professional resumes, power ties, body language, what to say and not to say, being the perfect candidate, reinvent yourself, coloring your hair, how to shake hands or sit in a chair, how to fold your hands in an interview, what tone to assume in your voice, attach references or don’t attach references, get attention with killer resumes, how to get yours to the top of the pile, sure fire ways to nail the interview, how to make yourself irresistible to employers. Okay I’ll stop but I was just getting started. It’s all sizzle and no steak. These factors while important should not have that much to do with getting hired. You have to spell and punctuate your resume correctly but if I am going to be denied an interview based on format or font than I don’t have much respect for the employer who is too focused on appearance versus talent. If we all have perfect resumes why aren’t we getting hired? If you think about the deference that you assign to older people, how you let them speak first or “defer” to their wisdom, you can understand why hiring older people is difficult. It might be hard for someone in his 30s or 40s to speak critically or reprimand or discipline someone who is old enough to be their father/mother. It can make for an uncomfortable dynamic. If you are trying for an upper level management or an executive position the expectation might be that you would be “seasoned.” Otherwise you’re on the down-slope of your career trying to hang on long enough to put a little extra away and make the most of social security. HR and hiring managers are afraid for their jobs. That’s why they look for candidates who meet every bullet point in the job qualifications and don’t exercise any judgement or discretion. If things go bad they can always claim they were duped by a padded resume from a candidate that “had it all.”

  15. I have been studying for my MCITP since my employer laid me of because he could not afford my wages. Now I let employers know I am in process of gaining my MCITP certification. They don’t know what it is.
    For those who want to know it’s the latest Microsoft Certification for the latest technologies. Namely Windows server 2008R2. Not sure when these old tired employers will finally get out of business to let the new in. By the way I am 52years old. But I will challenge any out of school IT person many times younger that me and they don’t have ANY experience.

    The new Microsoft Technology will protect us all, and it is 100 time more secure that the old Windows servers.

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