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Job Security Trends: Why Are People Changing Jobs?

Job Market Trends

For the past decade it has been common knowledge that the average worker will no longer have the same lifetime job security that s/he had fifty years ago. Todayís workers are more likely to move between jobs, and to be involved in more projects and businesses over the course of their careers. Even in 1982 the average work-span for a worker at one job was 8 years. Why has the market tended towards shorter employment periods? Here are a few of the contributing factors:

Gendered Influences

A study in the United States using census data from 1973-1993 has established that there are two different trends in how long workers stay in their jobs. Men with little education (less than twelve years, which means no high school diploma) are less likely to have a lifetime job now than they would have twenty years ago. However, women with high school diplomas are more likely to be in lifetime jobs than they were twenty years ago. This shows that gender is having less of an effect in the workplace, and that education is now the deciding factor for many positions.

Educational Issues

In Ontario since the 1990, there has been a dramatic increase in employment growth by educational attainment. People without a high school diploma have very little chance of finding a job. Donít let this figure scare you if you are still in high school: this relates to the final amount of education that prospective employees had. People with a high school diploma have about the same chance of finding a job now as they did in the early nineties. Most importantly, people with postsecondary education make up the majority of the workforce today.

Technology Matters

In Canada in the year 2000, a study of workers whose jobs are affected by increasing computerization found that technology has a dubious relation to job security. Of the people surveyed, a wide majority (68%) felt their job security had remained the same even with changing technologies. A quarter of those studies (24%) felt their jobs had become more secure. The smallest group, 9%, felt that their job security was adversely affected by the advent of new technologies.

How does this affect me?

This information brings positive news to most workers.

Firstly, if you are dissatisfied with your job, you can change jobs more easily. Making career changes later in life is not as difficult as it once was. In fact, it might be beneficial for you to change jobs.

Secondly, if you are changing jobs, depending on your field, you might be in a counter-offer or multi-offer position. This means that you might be able to ask for a higher salary from your prospective employer. You might even have more than one employer vying for your position.

Thirdly, education is key. Knowing the key to the job market means that you can easily find a job. If you know what education is required for your desired career, go get it. Take night courses if you want. However you choose to earn the education requirements needed for your career, at least education is a concrete and obtainable goal. Even if you donít need a diploma or degree, consider taking short certification courses to keep your qualifications at their best.

And lastly, keep up with technology. Technology affects most job markets, and if you can prove to your prospective employers that you are most qualified to use the tools of the trade, you will likely secure yourself the position. Education or experience might be the way to demonstrate your up-to-the-minute skills.

Submitted by:

Shannon Columbo

Shannon Columbo is the editor of

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