March 27, 2019

Is The Job Market Like The Stock Market?

by Chris Winterboer

A very common question I get, especially this time of year, is what the job market looks like. Candidates want to know. Clients want to know. Heck, even our bankers and accountants want to know as they put together company financials and prepare our annual tax return. Many times my answers sound like I am also referring to the stock market. There are quite a few similarities.

1. Past performance does NOT promise future results. If your friend just took another role and received a 20% raise, that is not necessarily an indicator that the overall market is just passing around that money flippantly. There could have been many contributing factors to that individual getting a substantial raise. Just because it happened for someone else, don’t take that to the bank and assume it will happen for you.

2. Risk appetite can change and evolve over time. At certain points in your career you may be more open to working longer hours to make more money or have career advancement. At other times you may even be okay taking a pay cut and lower title to balance out with more vacation or less stress. The bottom line is that is okay. Be transparent with employers about what your short term and long term goals are and see if they align with the company. There is a good reason that a common interview question is “What are your 1, 3, and 5-year goals, both personally and professionally?”

3. Don’t over-react to ups and downs in the market. One of the most frustrating comments I hear from candidates is that with a slow time in a search they want to consider leaving the insurance industry altogether. Just because there is not an abundance of new opportunities at that moment is not an indication of any broader market movement. Hiring tends to be cyclical and can be different year over year or even quarter over quarter. The first quarter can be slow and the second quarter hectic, or vice versa, depending on various factors.

4. Listen to your advisors. People love to think they know more about the stock market than professionals that are paid to watch it closely every day. That is a very slippery slope with investing and can also be dangerous when approaching a job search. Whether it be a third party search firm like us, a mentor from earlier in your career, or those closest to you in your personal circles, it is always a good idea to listen to the advice of others. It can take the emotion out of any decision and provide much-needed perspective for a long term play. It doesn’t mean the advisor will always be right, but they will likely be a help more often than not.

5. Always invest. This applies to both the stock market and the job market. If you are only relying upon cash stuffed in your sock drawer for your retirement, you are probably in trouble. In the same regard, if you are doing nothing to invest in your career, it is likely not going anywhere. Always be looking at ways to improve your situation. Additional education, professional designations, surrounding yourself with peers at industry events, or simply connecting to a few people on LinkedIn that are similar to your background. You never know when your investment in one of these areas will pay off, but it almost always does in one way or another.

Have you been considering a move in the job market recently? Are you looking for someone to guide you through the roller coaster ride? Please connect with me for additional tips, thoughts, and advice for the daily grind of a job search!


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