Published On: Mon, Jan 27th, 2014

What’s Keeping You From Finding A Job

I am the first to recognize that there are a multitude of factors that are beyond our control that will make it very hard to find employment within a reasonable amount of time. While I won’t say that these reasons are excuses, they can help to explain why the official unemployment rate is hovering around 8% and why the country will never be the same again.

  1. The Rise Of The Third World
    Access to technology; improved educational resources; a globally entwined economy and financial system; and cash infusion from countries and large global conglomerates seeking access to natural resources have all combined to help developing countries rapidly emerge and evolve.  Many countries no longer need the U.S. to supply goods and services that they may now be able to produce.
  2. Manufacturing Shifts From The U.S. To Overseas
    The industrial revolution changed the economy in the U.S. from one of farming based to one based on manufacturing and producing items for the entire world.  That time has long passed as manufacturing has shifted primarily to Asia where raw materials are available, and labor is stunningly cheap.  President Obama thinks that the next driving force for the U.S. economy job huntshould lie with green jobs.  With China surpassing the U.S. as a leading supplier of photo voltaic cells used in the production of solar panels, that remains to be seen.
  3. Faltering Education System Within The U.S.
    The U.S. spends more than almost any other developed country in the world on educating students (behind only Switzerland and Norway) yet ranks 29th in math and 22rd in science out of 65 nations studied for PISA’s (Program for International Student Assessment) 2012 ranking of students in math and science.  This lags behind countries like Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Liechtenstein.   As more and more businesses turn towards technology, an emerging workforce that is knowledgeable in the sciences will help to keep jobs based in those key areas in this country.  Countries like China and India are able to crank out tens of thousands of well-educated students that are knowledgeable in these areas every year.  This had led to the phenomena of #4.
  4. Outsourcing
    Yes, outsourcing is leeching jobs from this country.  Areas such as programming, customer service phone banks and manufacturing have moved in large scale to countries that have a well educated work force that commands relatively low wages.
  5. Cost of Doing Business Within The U.S.
    We don’t like to admit it, but while starting a business in this country is easy, keeping one going is hard.  In NY there seems to be more rules than there are people about running your business. Did you know that if you sell a bagel whole it is not taxed, but once you slice it, the NY government considers it a sandwich which makes it subject to taxes? There are lots of rules to follow, which, if broken, can lead to excessive fines.  Taxes on employing workers, health care costs, and retirement costs are pricing us out of the international work force.
  6. Wages
    People will get angry with me for this, but the wages that Americans command relative to the rest of the world is high.  I’m not saying that we are living high on the hog, or that you can really raise a family on $7.50 an hour.  What I am saying is that companies like Nike can get away with paying $7.50 a DAY in another country instead of paying $7.50 an HOUR here. It’s not right, but they can do it.

With everything listed above and more going against the American worker, it’s no wonder that finding a job a hard.  But that’s the key; it’s hard, but not impossible.  As American workers, we have to change with the times or we will all be left behind.  Below are some industries that are actually hiring, and will be hard if not impossible to outsource in the future.

  1. Healthcare
    You probably already knew this, but as the baby boomer generation ages, there will be a need to people to help take care of them.  This is at all levels from Home Health Attendants to doctors specializing in geriatric care.
  2. Personal/Executive Assistants
    You do not have to have a business background to be an assistant.  My undergraduate degree with in biology and I was an assistant for 3 years at an investment bank in their healthcare department.  They needed someone that was both personable and knew some of the medical terminology that was used in the deal books.  Assistants can work in any industry.
  3. Language Specialist/Linguists/Translators
    If you can learn or speak multiple languages fluently, especially Arabic, Chinese and Spanish, you can be in hot demand.  As companies become more globalized, there is a need for individuals that are able to speak multiple languages to deal with people across the globe.  Even the armed forces need individuals with language skills.
  4. Intelligence
    The CIA, the FBI and ICE are all hiring people with lots of different backgrounds.  No, you do not have to be a spy to qualify for positions within these government agencies.  They need people with backgrounds in everything from logistics to large scale operations
  5. Green Collar Skilled Labor
    Yes, President Obama did have something right.  There is a need for people that can work on green jobs.  This ranges in everything from electricians that can wire homes to new technologies, LEED construction specialists, recyclers, and green construction managers.  If you’ve worked with your hands in the past, chances are that the green version of your former job needs you.

Beyond looking towards new industries, we must also change the way that we approach job searches.  Yes, you can tap your social network to see if someone is hiring, but your network might be all tapped out.  We must change our minds about what we are willing to do.  One mistake my friend made was that she refused to work longer than 9 to 5.  I am sorry to say that those jobs are rare.  The standard work day in this city is now 9 to 6 or 8 to 5.

We also have to consider jobs that we might not have looked at before.  Someone mentioned in the comments that I will be saying that we should do migrant farm work.  I would not say anything so extreme, but if you have been out of work for a long time, is delivering pizzas to make ends meet or to pay off debts so bad?  Many people are doing just that right now.

We also have to rethink what our positions are worth.  This is perhaps the hardest pill to swallow.  Employers have the upper hand now, and they know it.  I am sure that there are hundreds of people applying for every single job opening, so employers can have their pick of the litter.  This means that they can hire someone that is clearly overqualified and pay them less to perform the functions of a job than they would have in the past. This is simply because they know that there are lots of people – nay, hundreds, willing to take any open position.  It’s the hard truth, but it is the truth. Employers are resetting pay rates and it sucks, but that means that we might have to scale our own lifestyles down…and start a side hustle of our own.

Sandy Smith
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About the Author

- Sandy Smith is the founder of the peer acclaimed personal finance blog, Yes, I Am Cheap where she shares winning strategies for reducing debt. You can find Sandy all around the internet taking about getting you out of debt and helping others establish small businesses. She is also the founder of Colorful Money Magazine.

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Did you know?

African Americans are significantly more likely to have some type of debt (94%) compared with the general population (82%). Credit card debt, student loan debt, and personal loans are all significantly higher in the African American community.

Source: Prudential’s 2013 "African American Financial Experience" study