Career Report
May, 2010 — Issue 123

Rays of Hope for Job Seekers

For the first time in two years, many job seekers may have reason to feel hopeful. Employers are beginning to hire again – or at least are thinking about it. And although the unemployment rate remains high, there are now some very positive signs in the job market beyond the growth in job creation reflected in government statistics, according to an article in The New York Times.

The shift is most apparent in job postings, which have begun to surge., which collects job listings from thousands of sources, recently reported a 19 percent increase in postings in March alone, versus the same month last year. The number of postings rose in 10 of 12 industry categories, with retail and hospitality leading the way with jumps of 42 percent and 33 percent, respectively.

“The opportunities are growing fast,” said Paul Forster, chief executive of, which culls its information from sources like corporate Web sites, newspaper classified ads and job boards. Granted, the increases are coming from a low base, he told the newspaper, but they are still encouraging.

Recruiters are also seeing signs of life in hiring. For one thing, said Bill Driscoll, New England district president for the recruiting firm Robert Half, “There are more people going to work on a temporary basis than there were six months or nine months ago.” That’s often a sign that permanent hires are not far behind, he said.

Regional differences are stark, according to the article. says jobs per unemployed person are most plentiful in Washington, D.C., followed by San Jose, Calif., Baltimore and New York. On the other hand, among 50 metropolitan areas, job seekers in Miami, Detroit, Los Angeles and Sacramento face the most competition.

Economists have been using the phrase “jobless recovery” to describe how this upturn will play out, and the Obama administration says that for the nation as a whole, high unemployment is likely to linger for awhile. Still, the current outlook is a contrast to the deep gloom of 2008 and 2009 as companies’ profit reports, retail sales, and other data are generally improving.

Tamara Erickson, an author and work-force consultant, said the recession masked a long-term trend likely to intensify: a worker shortage caused by the continuing retirement of baby boomers. Suddenly, she said, employers are starting to realize that they don’t have, or won’t have, people with the skills they need.

Her advice to job seekers? “Cheer up,” she told the newspaper. “The real possibility of finding a job that you’ll like is increasing every day.” The new picture is likely to affect both those who are employed and those who aren’t, as well as businesses that will be in the unfamiliar position of having to hire—and of wondering whether they can retain their best workers.

Indeed, many people have stayed in jobs they dislike—and that became more stressful as they took on the work of laid-off colleagues—because they fear that there is no alternative. Others took jobs that weren’t a good fit because the market was so competitive, added Barbra Sanafi, owner of a career management firm. Now, some of these people will start to look again.

At first, these factors will mean more competition for the unemployed, she said. But eventually, the situation should bring more opportunities for everyone as those already employed move to new jobs, resulting in more openings.

On the employer front, some companies have been lulled into complacency by the recession, “They haven’t been thinking about a talent shortage for two years now,” Erickson told the newspaper. The onus is now on them to make sure they keep their most valued workers.

Clearly, the most vulnerable companies may well be ones that maintain recession-era staffing while taking on recovery-era work, according to the article. These companies will demand more from their employees without offering much in return. “Employers need to be very cognizant of how they’re engaging their current employees,” Sanfani said, adding that companies need to reward their workers, monetarily and otherwise, or risk seeing them walk out the door.

News from BLK

Berman Larson Kane received a Certificate of Appreciation Award from the North Jersey-Rockland Chapter of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) on May 5th at the HoHoKus Inn.

Bob Larson, CPC president of Berman Larson Kane will be attending the GAPS convention in Atlanta, Georgia on May 7th & 8th. “I am looking forward to meeting with staffing firms from this region of the country to learn if they are experiencing the same increase in orders we are experiencing here in NJ/NY. It is so good to witness some positive job growth.”

Berman Larson Kane will also be the host for the MIS Network May meetings on Tuesday evenings. This is a wonderful organization that has help so many talented professionals in transition over the past 20 plus years. It is our pleasure to contribute in any small way to those who seek employment assistance.