This is the worst job market ever. What can we do?

Speaking to friends and colleagues and reading the masses of articles regarding the current economic situation and employment, the general picture for jobs is the bleakest anyone can remember.  How can I make my job safer, or make myself more employable?  

This is a new situation for a lot of people, and in particular Generation-Y.  We have numerous university students (Generation Z?) doing part time work with us and their outlook has changed dramatically.  They are now all quite nervous about leaving their studies and trying to find work and are actively seeking alternative ways to gain that initial “foot in the door”.   

In contrast to these Gen-Zs, most Gen-Ys are already employed, and have been enjoying a good market since commencing their careers.  They are used to seeing work as a foregone conclusion, but now are thinking about loyalty and ‘keeping their heads down” when it comes to their future.  A lot of them are feeling if they can hold their jobs through this crisis they’re luckier than most. 

In one particular case, an acquaintance (who is 26 years old) has been made redundant twice in the last six months.  The first time was a devastating blow for her and took her a while to bounce back, while the second time she was able to adapt better. 

However, rather than pack everything in and feel nervous about getting back in the employment market she has taken the setback as an opportunity to grow her skills and return to part time study.

This particular girl worked in marketing and advertising, which is one of those departments that tends to face the majority of redundancies first as companies reduce their marketing spend and cut back on expenses on staff that are seen as a “cost” rather than “revenue generating”.

Following her second redundancy, she decided it was time to broaden her skills and develop in areas that would complement her existing skills, but also offer the ability to apply for a broader range of roles and offer more too future employers. 

She decided to move to part-time work and return to university at the same time to complement her marketing degree with additional qualifications in business management.

This is a fantastic approach to what has been a difficult time for her, and a story that was very impressive to hear first hand.  It’s also a good strategy for those out there that are in similar situations and can afford to re-assess their skills and change or broaden them if required.

There are opportunities in every problem – you just need to take some time, think clearly and determine the best way to respond.  Who knows, you may come out the other side stronger and happier than when you entered.  The woman mentioned above sure has.


Michael Phillips is a 30-year old CPA managing a business full of Gen-Ys. He’s the commercial manager of Cremorne Group which wholesales and retail mens and womens apparel, including the Tommy Hilfiger, Blazer and Perri Cutten brands. He offers his experience as a pioneering Gen-Y managing Gen-Ys, covering issues such as how to recruit, retain and get the most out of Gen-Y – the notoriously difficult younger generation of employees aged 15 to 30.

 For more Gen-Y expert advice, click here.


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