Are you or a friend having trouble finding a job? Normally, I’m an optimist and try to recommend finding a different way to get the job you want. In some fields, however, we need to admit that there is a surplus of qualified applicants, which not only means that jobs will be harder to find. It will also mean that pay rates will be lower.
Many schools are pushing professional certificates and degrees for fields that have more employees than open positions. In healthcare, a surplus of employees means that more employers are using a “registry” model to take advantage of this situation. Registry means that there is no guarantee of hours and limited/no benefits. Another client is a lawyer who is working at a contract firm because that is what he wants to do. For several of his less experienced co-workers, that is the only job they can find. A friend in social services told me today that some firms are employing licensed clinicians at less than $35,000 a year. How can they do that? So many agencies have closed that there is a glut of employees who will work at a slashed salary.
What can you do to stay out of this situation? Do some thorough research before you pursue a graduate degree or professional certificate. Schools tend to speak a language of hope. They are confident that you will find a job. Don’t trust the happy talk. Check current job postings and forecasts for growth. Try to interview experienced professional already working in the field. Ask this simple question: Would you go into this field if you were starting your career now?
I am not recommending that anyone avoid a certain type of profession. Talented, committed people will always find a way to succeed. At the same time, it pays to think about how difficult it will be to get a job once you’ve completed a course of study. Don’t invest your hard earned time and money if there is not a clear return on the investment.