While no one has officially said it, the U.S. is clearly headed into a recession. Layoffs have started, and leaders are holding their cards close to their chests. How do you make sure you aren’t on the chopping block next?
We have all heard debate about a recession and whether we are slowly approaching one, about to be in one, or currently in one. All industries are experiencing layoffs because of it. Uber cut roughly 200 employees, Tyson Foods cut nearly 230 employees, Spotify cut around 200 employees, and KPMG is expecting to lay off close to 2,000 employees this year — all of which were announced in June. That is just a small snapshot of all the 2023 layoffs.
Along with these layoffs, there is a growing concern from employers toward their Gen Z workers. According to a recent survey, three out of four managers agree that Gen Z is harder to work with than any other generation. Because of this, 65% of employers say they fire their Gen Z workers more often.
So, let’s say you just graduated. You knew the real world would be hard, but maybe not this hard. How can you avoid a layoff when budgets are tight and employers are already hesitant about your generation?
The good news is generational reputation isn’t the only thing your employer is evaluating once it’s time for layoffs. They will also be evaluating how vital certain job functions are, performance, skill set versatility, and, believe it or not, salary. According to a study done by Revelio Labs, the people who were laid off had substantially higher salaries across a variety of occupations than the people who kept their jobs.
What should you do when your employer is passing out pink slips? In order to stay valuable, you must focus less on the things you can’t control and more on what you can. You may not be able to change your employer’s mind about your entire generation or the state of the economy, but you can take the following steps to learn how to add value to your company as an employee.
1. TAKE ACTION INSTEAD OF BEING REACTIVE
The first thing businesses often look at when trimming their bottom line is the value of each individual position or department. To remain valuable, you must take the initiative. Don’t wait for tasks to be assigned to you.
• In full-time roles, you typically have more time to invest in projects, build deeper relationships, and take on additional responsibilities. Strive to exceed expectations and consistently deliver high-quality results. If pressed for time, choose one thing and do it really well. Make sure you are always communicating your priorities with your boss along the way.
• In part-time or temporary roles, you may need to demonstrate efficient time management skills to maximize your contribution within limited hours and adapt quickly to deliver results within a shorter time frame. The good news is companies would rather keep you than hire from the outside. According to the Society for Human Resource Management data, it costs a company around $4,700 per hire.
2. SEEK STRETCH OPPORTUNITIES
According to a tech recruitment manager’s survey, adaptability — or the ability to learn new things — is one of the top skills human resources managers look for when making a hiring decision.
• In full-time roles, seek out training opportunities such as conferences, webinars, and summits to make yourself an expert in your field. Stay updated on industry trends, attend relevant local workshops or training programs, and be open to new perspectives and approaches. The best thing you can do to avoid a layoff is to make yourself irreplaceable.
• In part-time or temporary roles, employers may focus on cross-training employees to perform multiple roles or reassigning employees to different organizational departments or functions. Be open to new perspectives and approaches and always willing to learn something new. Ask what career growth looks like at your organization, and consider stepping up when other departments need help.
3. BE PREPARED FOR THE ALTERNATIVE OUTCOME
At the end of the day, it is up to your employer to decide who stays and who goes. Despite your best efforts to remain valuable, money might just be too tight. Having a plan in place post-layoff will help you bounce back quickly.
• In full-time roles, take time to reflect. Losing a job can take a toll on your mental health. Take some time to process your emotions and reflect on your career goals. Consider what you enjoyed about your previous job and what you would like to do in your next role. Update your résumé to include your most recent work and highlight relevant achievements and experiences that align with the types of positions you are targeting. Be open to temporary to full-time work as temporary jobs are often just long interview processes.
• In part-time and temporary roles, consider asking for recommendations from former colleagues or supervisors. Attend industry events, job fairs, and professional networking events to meet new people and expand your network. Explore job search platforms, both general and industry-specific, to find relevant job openings. While websites like LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, and Monster provide many job listings, you can also check local staffing agency websites to see their inventory.
Post-grad can be daunting, especially in 2023, but there is hope. Taking the initiative and being open to learning new things can not only help you retain your current position but also set you up for success wherever you go. You got this.
About the guest post author:
Megan Couch is the chief experience officer at Integrity Staffing Solutions, a full-service staffing agency ranked in the top 2% of agencies across the country for quality service based on ClearlyRated’s “Best of Staffing” client survey.