How Economic Conditions Affect Employment


By Shannon Mack.

CPC Mastermind, Shannon Mack discusses the effect of ebbs and flows with the economy on employers, employees, and job seekers.

Economies ebb and flow.

When the economy is flowing, life is good. It seems that things will always be this way. Job opportunities and money are abundant and no one gives much thought to “wants” versus “needs.”

For some reason, ebbs in the economy take us by surprise.  Most of us have lived through downturns before and we should know that eventually all good things come to an end. But, for some of us, planning ahead and saving for a rainy day does not happen until it is too late.

With the recent downturn in our economy due to dropping oil prices, mindsets and priorities have been forced to shift. Certain demographics are hit harder than others.

Long-term older employees who have dedicated most of their life to the same employer are typically among the first to be terminated. Those who have built up years of experience and subsequently higher salaries and pensions are also usually close to retirement. For that reason they tend to be “paid out” by employers.

On the other end of the spectrum are less skilled and less educated workers. Some employers view them as the “warm-body” that is needed to fill a void in an attempt to keep up to the demands of a booming economy. These people are usually among the last to be hired by employers. But, when that economy turns, those people are also seen as most expendable.

Effects on Job Seekers

Economic downturns can affect job seekers in many ways, requiring them to deal with new physical, psychological, and socio-economic challenges.

Searching for a “perfect job” during an economic downturn can be difficult. Job seekers are faced with not only the challenge of maintaining their positive attitude and motivation but also avoiding the constant barrage of negativity whether it is on the news or at the local coffee shop. This can challenge even the strongest of mindsets and can lead to feelings of depression, worthlessness, worry, desperation and fear.

As Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs suggests, an individual’s basic needs must be met in order to progress on to higher level growth needs. If people are worried about their basic needs of survival such as food, water, shelter, stability and safety, they will not be able to move on to satisfy the higher level needs of friendships, and feelings of belonging. The higher an individual moves up the hierarchy and satisfies each level of need, the more self-respect and balance the person feels which contributes positively to themselves, those around them and the communities.

If basic needs are taken away because of losing a job, individuals face greater challenges.  They now deal with a hit to their ego and potential loss of identity. We have found that “acting out” because of the stress from basic needs not being met sometimes results in an increase in illness, anger, abuse, and/or crime.

It is a constant challenge to safeguard our client’s mindset to remain positive and confident as it will affect the success of their job search. This is reflected in how a person presents themselves and shows confidence in speaking with others and thus, during the job interview.

Even in difficult economies, job opportunities exist. When markets are tight, employers are challenged with making smarter decisions than when “business was booming.”  Business owners and managers typically reassess their staffing needs. Often, they find they need to create new positions as they “phase out” old ones. There are limited job opportunities, but there are still businesses hiring. Now more than ever, the pressure is on job seekers to stand out from the crowd.

How Career Professionals can Help

As much as we may want to, Career Professionals cannot control the economy. We cannot control the price of oil or the speed with which dream jobs show up for our clients. But all is not lost because we can help clients get through this difficult time.

Change always provides new opportunities. The strategies we use as Career Practitioners are similar regardless of the barrier our clients are facing. We help them recognize that all things occur in cycles and that, while their current situation may be deeply distressing, it will change. Rather than, raising their hands in surrender to their circumstances and be victims to their situation, job seekers can change their outlook, actions, and outcome.  Keeping positive, motivated, and focused on what they can control versus what they can’t, will help job seekers be successful in their quest for a meaningful, new opportunity.

Shannon Mack brings great people together with great companies through her business, Unleashing Potential Coaching & Consulting.

Spread the love
Categories: ,
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Good read but would have loved to have some practical examples as well from specific countries or economies

Thanks for your input. This post is from 2015 and the economy has changed quite a bit since then. The best option is to learn how to access Labour Market Information (LMI) as that will be the best indicator of ebbs and flows in the economy.