Dec 29, 201101:14 PMBlog

Job seekers frustrated, uncertain about work prospects

Dec 29, 2011 - 01:14 PM
While accelerated job creation failed to materialize during 2011, callers to global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.'s annual job-search advice hotline were more optimistic than a year ago, as nearly 30 percent estimated they would find a new job within three months, up from 18 percent who said the same last year.

However, even as the percentage of optimistic callers surged from 2010, so did the percent of those predicting it would take more than a year to find employment. Ten percent of the job seekers felt the job search would last more than 12 months, compared to 4 percent who anticipated a prolonged job search last year. During the two-day event, the firm's professional counselors helped more than 1,000 job seekers, 77 percent of whom were unemployed. That is down only slightly from the previous two years, when 81 percent of callers were out of work.

"There was a lot more uncertainty a year ago. Almost half of last year's callers had no idea how long the job search would take," said John A Challenger, CEO of CG&C. "This year, callers were either certain of the job market's improvement or certain of its continued weakness."

The percentage of callers expecting the job search to last seven to nine months increased from 6 percent a year ago to 14 percent this year. The percentage expecting a 10- to 12-month job search surged to 12 percent, after peaking at 2.4 percent during 2010.

"Overall, the majority of callers - 65 percent - felt they would find a job in six months or less. That is a pretty realistic assessment. In a healthy economy, a successful job search might take two to three months," Challenger said. "In a tight job market, such as the one we are in now, it is not unusual to see even high- quality candidates take four to six months."

Among the unemployed callers, 37 percent have been out of work for one to six months. Another 14 percent have been jobless for 7 to 12 months. As an indication of how tight the job market remains, the remaining 50 percent of callers had been jobless for a year or more, with 60 percent of these long-time job seekers out of work for two years or longer.
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