Myth Debunking 101: You should never switch jobs during economic downturns

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Switching jobs during economic downturns is risky. Murali Santhanam notes job security concerns; healthcare and tech remain stable. Ankit Agarwal cites competition, salary constraints, and urgent roles. Enhancing skills, leveraging networks, maintaining financial stability, and strategic branding help. Emphasizing adaptability, exploring non-traditional paths, and following practical strategies improve job prospects and career fulfillment.

Switching jobs at any stage of your professional journey is not an easy call to make. It always demands strategic planning and proper research in order to make a successful transition, and the period of economic downtime is no different. Often, individuals are warned against moving from one job to another during tough economic times in the country; however, it’s a myth that we need to dispel.

The truth is that though economic dips present several challenges, they also offer numerous opportunities that individuals can easily grab, only if they know how to evaluate them properly. Young minds need to know that there are many industries that stay less affected during such times and continue to hire for positions in several roles. What one has to do is assess the suitability of the opportunity coming one’s way and employ smart strategies to position oneself as an ideal candidate for it.

However, let’s first understand why some individuals believe that changing jobs during economic downturns is risky.

Offering us clarity regarding this, Murali Santhanam, CHRO, AscentHR says people often fear the unpredictability of a new environment, the unknown performance of a new company and its sector, and the unfamiliar culture of the new company. These factors can further spark concerns about job security, potential layoffs, and the financial instability of new employers, making the perceived risk of leaving a stable job seem higher during a period of economic dip.

The uncertainty during an economic downturn makes switching jobs a dangerous choice, says Ankit Agarwal, Founder & CEO, Unstop. The prevailing situation in the implies that fewer jobs are available. Plus, a lot of job seekers, especially in senior roles, are offered through referrals and other processes.

Another factor is the compensation as it is tighter as compared to the times when the market is looking up. Moreover, with layoffs becoming common with a few firms nowadays, there’s a tendency to let go of new hires first in some cases, which can also be a risk for people looking to change jobs, especially when economic conditions are not that great, he adds.

Potential Benefits of Switching Jobs During Such Times

Sure, there are a few risks associated with switching jobs in adverse economic conditions, but there are a bunch of advantages as well. According to Santhanam, doing so can open doors to unique opportunities in resilient industries, potentially leading to higher salaries due to the demand for certain skills. This shift can also offer a chance to pivot into a career with better long-term prospects. Most importantly, he says companies hiring during downturns often value adaptability and innovation, making negotiations more flexible and potentially leading to a more fulfilling and rewarding career path.

Adding to these, Agarwal says this is also the time when companies put out roles that are of critical importance and need to be filled in immediately. Hence, the search for the right talent is much more targeted. Besides, he believes there is also a potential opportunity for recruiters to value a specific set of skills more during this time which can assist individuals skilled in those areas looking for jobs.

Industries and Roles That Are More Stable During Economic Downturns

In Santhanam’s opinion, industries like healthcare, technology, utilities, and essential services tend to remain stable as they provide critical services that are always in demand. Coming to the roles, he says those in cybersecurity, data analysis, healthcare, and IT support often see sustained or even increased demand due to their essential nature and contribution to maintaining operational continuity.

From Agarwal’s perspective of their interactions with recruiters, 81% of recruiters have plans to hire during economic instability, and this is across industries.

Common Challenges

Increased competition for fewer roles, potential instability in new positions, and the need to prove value in a new environment quickly are some of the challenges individuals might encounter, says Santhanam. To successfully overcome this, his advice is proactive skill enhancement, leveraging professional networks, thorough research of potential employers’ stability, and being open to roles that may offer non-traditional paths to growth.

Agarwal also highlights two major challenges – (a) since companies are hesitant during economic dips and hire for only a few roles, it may lead to increased competition between the people trying to bag that job, and (b) one could also be compromising on the role/compensation to get a new job, depending on how fast they want a new role.

His guidebook for overcoming these obstacles involves focusing more on building a strong skill set that is in demand in the companies one is targeting, working on your savings and being financially secure to manage any kind of unexpected scenario, and lastly, speaking to peers in other companies to get help with referrals.

Proceeding with a Strategic Approach to Land a Job During Economic Downturns

Both experts suggest a few effective strategies that individuals can employ to successfully earn a job opportunity during adverse economic conditions in the country. To begin with, they say focusing on building a strong personal brand, networking strategically; staying in touch with managers to directly pitch yourself, and maintaining flexibility in job search criteria are the key points to keep in mind.

Plus, enhancing relevant skills through certifications or courses as a normal practice can help stay relevant in the job market and save you from any regrets later on. Curating your CV as per the role and company can always make a significant difference. Moreover, highlighting adaptability and crisis management experiences can offer a competitive edge, they conclude.

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