Over the past several months, the media has been screaming loud and clear about an impending recession. With layoffs and hiring freezes among tech giants now becoming commonplace, the threat looms large creating uncertainty in the tech job markets. However, let us not forget that economists the world over are still divided in their opinion on whether or not we are in a recession yet.
How Will Recession Impact the IT Jobs?
It seemed like things were looking up a few months ago. In fact, in June 2022, the US job market outdid itself by adding nearly 372,000 jobs and keeping the unemployment rate cemented at 3.6% (which, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is the lowest rate in more than 50 years.)
During TechFetch’s recent analysis of the impending global recession, we also observed that nearly a third of the IT departments in corporates worldwide may add more tech staff in 2023- even with the looming threat of recession.
However, all that is seemingly about to change, and the overall economic mood remains pessimistic despite the buoyant labor market. And the change is already happening. Unprecedented layoffs are taking place everywhere. Top players like Meta, Salesforce, Lyft, and Twitter (the most recent one to join the list) are letting go of their staff.
No IT staff ever wants to hear the “L” or the “R” word, but when a tech disaster as bad as the dot com bust of the ’90s has been predicted, it is time to face the reality of the situation.
Though it’s normal to feel anxious, this is also the time to respond proactively and make some pragmatic decisions to safeguard your current position. Remember.
“Only dead wish swim with the stream.”
We put together a list of precautionary measures to help you stay afloat in tough economic times. Let us know if you have other thoughts in the comments.
Surviving the Recession: 10 Ways to Navigate These Tough Times
The top priority during the recession is to keep your job and reduce your chances of having your name included in the layoff list. When times are tough, make wise choices to survive. Now is the time to:
1. Make yourself indispensable at your current job.
Recession often forces companies to retain the best IT talents to keep the business running. Sometimes, the organization may even hire skilled tech staff at a premium package if they have what it takes to safeguard the company from the clutches of the recession.
💡 It costs employers an average of $4,129 and takes an average of 42 days to fill an open position. – 2019 Report by SHRM
Companies always look up to employees with versatile skills as indispensable assets to the organization. To make yourself an indispensable asset, polish your tech skills, learn emerging technologies (cloud, data science, cybersecurity, etc.), and improve your time management. Don’t forget to grab every opportunity that helps showcase your value to the company.
2. Embrace the change and make yourself adaptable.
In a survey of C-suite executives conducted by Ernst & Young, 150 leaders listed Adaptability as one of the top 5 skills they needed in their employees to succeed.
IT project managers/practice heads normally prefer retaining staff who can easily adapt to changing circumstances. It is a highly valued skill, especially when the recession is hot on your heels. Resilience helps you overcome challenges, stay relevant in the ever-dynamic IT industry, and lead the pack by setting an example-all of which you need to steer clear of layoffs.
3. Work on your weak areas.
Take an honest look at yourself and be aware of the areas where you need improvement. This is the time to re-assess your tech skills and identify areas where there is a lag. Nobody is a perfect techie, but identifying your weak areas and taking measures to address these skill gaps will take you one step closer to perfection and several steps further from losing your priced tech job.
💡 It’s never too late to be who you might have been
4. Keep an eye on emerging opportunities.
The trick is predicting which way the shift will happen and what tech skills will be in demand. Take advantage of emerging growth opportunities during a recession by investing in a downturn. When the economy goes through a downturn, look for large organizations that may require IT skills. Chances are they will be looking for talent, and you may be the right fit for the company. And this is the time to put your best foot forward
5. Polish up your resume.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The fiercer the competition, the better you have to be at your job. So, now is the time to add more weapons to your arsenal. You can:
- Upgrade your existing tech skills.
- Add value to your resume by learning new technology and tools.
- Enhance your tech skills and knowledge.
- Use online learning tools and platforms that come free of cost.
An even better way to showcase your skills will be to have a well-optimized LinkedIn profile.
6. Optimize your LinkedIn profile
💡 At least 98% of recruiters and nearly 85% of hiring managers rely on LinkedIn to spot suitable candidates for their organization.
Does it seem like a tall claim? Your resume is effective only when it is being seen by employers/recruiters who may hire you. But with a well-optimized LinkedIn profile, chances are that you will automatically land in hiring searches just based on your skills and experience.
So take time to spruce up your profile, and be strategic about whom you connect with. LinkedIn is swarming with job seekers and recruiters, and using it to advance your career is one of the most sensible things to do. It’s no rocket science, and all you need is a bit of flair to make your profile stand out from the crowd.
Use strategic keywords to highlight your job role and industry.
Align your profile with the skills and keywords hiring managers are looking for. Use common keywords found in the job descriptions.
If you have lost your job, switch on the “Open to Work” functionality to alert recruiters.
7. Keep an eye on job market conditions.
You cannot turn a blind eye to the reality of companies indulging in a layoff spree. Keep an eye on the IT job market and the current position of your company. For example, Layoff. fyi will tell you the following information:
- Which companies are laying off their employees.
- Where layoffs stand in different industries and markets.
- Whether the layoff volume is on the rise.
- The current state of your company.
8. Use networking events to create contacts.
Covid is over, and in-person meetings are back. Master your networking skills by attending monthly networking events. Do not hesitate to meet with new industry professionals. Use the opportunity to demonstrate your abilities, and form long-term business relationships. Talk to peers and technology experts and gain insights that matter the most for your career. There is no telling when connections like these will prove helpful in building your career.
💡 Studies show that at least 85% of jobs are filled by networking, and almost 70% of jobs are never publicly posted or advertised.
9. Save and plan your finances.
Being sensible and frugal (if not miserly) with money is the best way to overcome these tricky times. Recession is undoubtedly the period to curtail your expenses and set aside a comfortable sum for emergencies.
The next step is to bring your debts under the scanner and repay those with high-interest rates. Also, repaying educational loans will help you gain tax refunds during the tax season.
Finally, look for multiple revenue streams to give you more wiggle room. Do whatever is legally right to bring in supplemental income to cushion your finances. Dig up your passion for baking, create an e-book, or take online courses.
10. Focus on growth & shed the fear.
Anything can happen in a recession. There may or may not be the anticipated drama. So, whatever happens, do not give in to your fears. Uncontrolled fear is your nemesis. It will destroy your positivity, creativity, and confidence. Be the best candidate by doing what is within your control. Instead of focusing on the recession, focus on your personal growth and build an identity for yourself. Believe us- everything will fall into place.
Recession or no recession, any time is a good time to redefine your skills to make yourself an indispensable asset to your company. There’s no harm in stretching yourself- Work late, help others, and make yourself needed. Prepare yourself to go the extra mile every day, if necessary. That’s how you prepare for a recession!