While the labor market may seem to be doing well with an unemployment rate at 4.7%, a hidden problem remains – those that are underemployed. The unemployment rate only takes into account those actively searching for work in the past four weeks. It does not account for those working part-time who would rather work full-time if available, those who have given up looking for work, or those who are unemployed but work at least one hour of work per week and earn at least $20 in compensation for their efforts.
What about the underemployed? Who are they? Those who are underemployed are those who are working part-time but would rather work full-time if available and those who are overqualified for their current position because their education, experience or skills exceed their job requirements. It is estimated that almost half of the workforce is underemployed. Underemployment is especially prevalent among new graduates because although they have the necessary education to obtain the jobs they seek, they do not have the corequisite experience. The obvious negative implication of underemployment is a financial one, but it also has psychological effects on the job seeker. Not being able to find work for which one is capable can lead to depression, increased stress, lower self-esteem, and lower motivation in one’s current career.
If you are currently underemployed, there are steps you can take now to reach your career potential. Start by assessing the market in which you are seeking employment. Spend time researching jobs available in your industry and note if there are any skills gaps. If so, take time to address these gaps. Spend time networking with those around you, even when you are out shopping or running to the gym. Word-of-mouth is often the best way to hear about a new job opportunity. Reach out to an employment agency such as SEEK Careers/Staffing to help you find the best career for you. There likely are jobs out there you don’t even know about. An agency like SEEK Careers/Staffing will take an inventory of your skills and desires and match you with a career and culture you desire. SEEK has over 45 years of experience in providing successful placements and works with a variety of clients, many of whom may not even advertise their openings through traditional outlets.
If you are interested in exploring a different career path, SEEK specializes in career training for both light industrial and skilled trades. Fields such as skilled manufacturing are experiencing a shortage of qualified labor, in part due to qualified workers retiring from the workforce. The outlook for these jobs remains high as they will be in demand and offer a sustainable income with good benefits. If you are exploring alternative paths to achieving your career dreams, perhaps without a college degree, SEEK is here to help. Get in touch with one of our expert placement professionals today.