Understanding and Navigating Hiring in Today's Economy

L. Maren Wood, Co-Founder of Beyond the Professoriate, welcomes Catherine Maybrey, PhD to discuss the importance of career trends. Catherine is Owner of CM Coaching Services where she offers career advice and solutions to graduate students and PhDs. In the webinar, “Understanding and Navigating Hiring in Today’s Economy,” Catherine shares current trends in the hiring market and strategies that PhDs can use to stay in the know and market themselves.

Current State of the Hiring Market

Catherine opens her webinar with a surprising – and startling – statistic that demonstrates the current state of the hiring market: “Nearly 40% of the US workforce is expected to be self-employed (freelance or independent) by 2020,” she quotes. While this statistic isn’t an indication that human labor will be replaced by AI, it does suggest a re-organization in the way companies are seeking potential candidates. In the past, companies sought the traditional, 9-5 employee with a particular skill set for one specific job.

Things have shifted since then.

Now, companies are looking to outsource their labor needs and to hire as few employees as necessary. Don’t panic. These trends are not an indication of a labor shortage; rather, as Catherine points out, it is an indication that companies want an “agile workforce.” They want freelance, contracted, and independent workers with specialized skills. Of course, for employers, this wide range of employment options means more liberties. For example, as Catherine notes, “it allows employers to be better equipped at meeting changing customer needs.”

How Today’s Hiring Market Affects PhDs

What does today’s labor market and hiring trends have to do with you as a PhD?

It means you have to stay in the know. Just as employers want options, so should you when it comes to job searching and accepting offers. A lot of times, we want to join a well-established company for the appeal of benefits, or even the myth that we will get paid more money. This isn’t always the case, however. “Think small,” suggests Catherine. Governments know that small businesses hire people, so funding is always a possibility for these companies. Plus, small businesses are more likely to provide mentorship opportunities and flexibility.

A few of the strategies Catherine shares to help PhDs navigate these shifting trends is to maintain a LinkedIn profile, know your values, and prioritize you. Using LinkedIn not only helps you get noticed by potential employers, it also helps you “be proactive with your career activities,” says Catherine. Making your career activities a daily routine helps you think about what matters to you right now. “The loyalty you owe is to yourself,” stresses Catherine; “the organization is not going to lose sleep over you . . . so make sure you are putting your needs first.”

If you are interested in hearing Catherine speak more about hiring trends and the economy, feel free to rent the video below.

Beyond the Professoriate Community Members attend events like this for free each month and access replays free for two weeks. Ready to launch your next great career? Join the Online Career Hub for PhDs.

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