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Job hunting in 2013: a new set of challenges

Coleman Services
Finally it has happened: the emerging economy has emerged. The markets across the board have matured enough to make it clear that no double-figure growth in sales is possible. And while it is true that we are back to the so-called candidates’ market, where eligible candidates are fewer than vacancies, the quality of vacancies has perceptibly changed. Let’s see where it gets you, if you are an experienced specialist or a group manager.
If you’re looking to get a step up your career ladder, you may find it difficult to do that by simply changing employer. The latter will almost certainly require experience in the very same position you occupy now. And as likely as not, the compensation you will be offered will be on a par with what you receive now or only slightly higher. So what’s the incentive? Quite predictably you stay put and continue to look out for more opportunities. Therefore you may get an impression that while advertised vacancies are many, there is hardly anything worth your attention.
A good opportunity may come once a month (whether more often or rare will depend on your particular specialization), but then there’s another set of unforeseen problems. The employer will not be in a rush to hire you even if you made a good impression. Why? Simple: the employer will be cautious, he’d want to find someone to compare you to, and that will take time (remember, it is still a candidates’ market). Time to find another candidate, time to take you to one more interview, so the responsibility for the hiring decision would be distributed among many interviewers. As a candidate, you’ll feel exasperated with this continuing delay, while every new interviewer will actually be a hindrance in a hiring decision. It is easier to find common ground with one person than with four or five, haven’t you noticed? In the end, when (and if) the offer comes, you are no longer certain you want to join them. Even if you do, you may suddenly find that your current employer begins to show unexpected interest in you, giving a counter-proposal. All of a sudden, your desire to leave your own little bog diminishes and may altogether disappear for a while. Find solace in the fact that you are now part of the great news on corporate statistics – lower attrition rate, even if your engagement level has taken a fall.
But what happens if you want to hire someone to join your team? You’ll see the whole picture mirrored back at you. Your company will most likely want to avoid speculative hiring, will be cost-aware and you will feel you have to be no worse in your hiring decision than your colleagues in other departments. So what do you do? You wait for the candidate you like, as soon as you see one, you want to compare him, and to top it off you ask colleagues to give you a second opinion. By the time you feel relatively sure you’ve found the person you need, the candidate in question may no longer be available, and the search goes on and on.
What makes the labor market so difficult? Unemployment rate in St Petersburg fell down to 1.1% (according to Rosstat research of December 2012), and some independent estimates go even lower. It means that out of 100 people you meet on the street, 99 will have jobs. They may not all like them, and more than half would reply in the affirmative if approached by a headhunter. But a job is a job, and you would do wisely to hold onto it until you’ve found your employer of choice. Having a job means you will not go below what you receive in compensation. Having a job means your potential employer may not find the great motivation he expects for the kind of money he offers. Having a job means you can afford to wait for the hiring decision as long as it takes. So having a job is a good thing for you.
On a macroeconomic level, however, it is quite a different matter. Fewer available hands means a slow-down in business development, coupled with the rising cost of labor.
Will the situation get better? Why, it is not really that bad to begin with. All our markets grow mature, and labor market is no exception. It still holds opportunities for those who seek them.

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