What is a recession anyway? A recession is a period of temporary economic decline, during which trade and industrial activity reduces. It is negative economic growth for 2 consecutive quarters, and occurs when there is a widespread drop in spending.
Unfortunately this has a domino effect, it leads to increased unemployment, which in turn leads to less growth and a drop in consumer spending. This affects companies and by extension businesses badly because, workers get laid off for the organization to survive in order to cut costs.
Various factors can lead to this but major triggers are high interest rates, reduced consumer confidence and a drastic drop in wages. It’s really a tough world out there, the media is awash with tales of redundancies and bankruptcies being common place. The effect of this on the working class can only be imagined, as it breeds anxiety both for those looking for work (jobseekers), and those currently lucky to still be employed (jobkeepers).
Hopefully this article will serve as a guide, because experience as a HR Consulting expert, gives one unique insights into the job market, particularly information on how people apply for jobs, and what the key things are that recruiters look for in potential candidates. Furthermore, useful strategies can be put in play to secure jobs for those who are gainfully employed.
Nigeria Labour Market Statistics
* The employment rate measures the number of people actively employed
* The unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the labour force
#1 The economically active or working age population of Nigeria (15 – 64 years of age) increased from 111.1 million in Q3 2017 to 115 million in Q3 2018
#2 The unemployment rate in Nigeria increased to 23.10% in the 3rd quarter of 2018 from 22.7% in the 2nd quarter of 2018
#3 The employment rate in Nigeria decreased to 76.9% in the 3rd quarter of 2018 from 77.3% in the 2nd quarter of 2018
#4 The unemployment rate in Nigeria averaged 12.31% from 2006 until 2018
#5 The employment rate in Nigeria averaged 85.42% from 2014 until 2018
#6 The unemployment rate reached an all-time high of 23.10% in the 3rd quarter of 2018 and hit a record low of 5.1% in the 4th quarter of 2010
#7 The employment rate reached an all-time high of 93.6% in the 4th quarter of 2014 and hit a record low of 76.9% in the 3rd quarter of 2018
There are hard facts that you must take into consideration during a period of recession namely:
- An employers’ mindset: Employers react in several ways during a recession. Some impose a freeze on wages while others implement pay cuts. Other employers enforce short working hours (especially in pay per hour business climates) or put a total freeze on hiring. However, the naked truth is this, when management wants to decide on who to make redundant, they privately consider personality and personal situations. A single hardworking, highly emotionally intelligent, mother with two little children, may be kept on the team, while a young indolent single male professional living with his parents may be let go.
2- Every day is a potential job interview: Whether you are a job keeper or a job seeker, this applies to you. You must be in a state of continual readiness, for any opportunity that may spring up. Vacancies as a result of resignations, may pop up in house, and company staff may be considered first while fresh job roles may be advertised with a very short notice period for new intakes. Success, as is commonly said occurs when opportunity meets preparation.
Strategies for recession survival (Job Keepers)
What can you do in times like this? What strategies can you implement to survive as a job keeper? The following strategies are helpful:
1- Increase your worth: In order to survive as an employee, you must increase your worth to the company. The company you work for, must know how valuable you are to their business, and what they stand to lose if they let you go. This can be done in a number of ways like:
- Working harder: Hard work does indeed pay, and usually gets noticed over time. People who do more, record more output than indolent fellow workers.
- Working smarter: It is desirable, to not just be efficient, but also effective. You must not just do your work in the best possible way, but it must also be done in a way that delivers positive maximum impact.
- Solution orientation: When a staff member is solution oriented, the person tends to think outside the box, solve problems and bring a fresh new perspective to issues almost on a daily basis.
2- Observe warning signs: There are warning signs that can be noticed by any one, observant enough to interpret them. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. These include the following:
- The business concern stops recruiting
- The annual salary review is postponed, suspended indefinitely or out rightly cancelled
- Operational funds like fuel for vehicles, generators etc are slashed
- Company events like team building retreats, and annual parties are canceled
- Staff salaries are cut
- No new business comes in
- Losing clientele
- A rapid and drastic drop in revenue
3- Sell yourself: You must sell yourself as a job keeper, initially and keep on selling yourself subsequently. You must learn to push yourself to become better. A few ways an individual can do this are listed below:
- Dress for success: As the saying goes- dress for the job you want, not the job you’ve got, your dressing must portray your future ambition. Do you dream of being a CEO someday? Then dress accordingly.
- Keep accurate records: Endeavour to keep accurate records of work done. This means all necessary reports, files and business documents should be regularly updated. This stands you out as an efficient, organized member of staff. No doubt the CEO will notice you when you always present needed, critical, and accurate documentation whenever it is required.
- Volunteer: This could mean volunteering to take on more responsibility (training and mentoring subordinate or new staff).
- Upgrade your skills: This can be done by undergoing free training or even paying for training by oneself, learning new skills, joining forums, bulletin boards, chat rooms or discussion platforms built around the field of knowledge you desire.
- Excellent customer service: When you strive to give your customers the best possible service, they will develop a liking or fondness for you. Some customers may even go as far as making a representation, or recommendation to the management on your behalf. In cases like this employers will find it very difficult to let you go, for fear of displeasing or losing high net worth customers.
4- Be prepared for the worst: No matter what you do sometimes, you may still find yourself out of a job. This could occur due to a number of factors beyond your control. The business may fold up or declare bankruptcy, in which case the business may be wound up.
The company you work for may be forced out of business by bigger, more aggressive competitors who may seize their market share, and take over their customers.
The business sector your employer is involved in may take a hit and suffer a crash in revenues due to unfavourable government policies. In all such cases layoffs, redundancies, downsizing and rightsizing, will result in personnel falling victim due to job losses. What can you do in such cases? The following are steps that an individual can take proactively:
- Update your cv: You must ensure recent achievements which you can defend are captured in your resume
- Customize your cv: You must ensure your cv is structured in a way that is relevant to vacancies you apply for
- Look for alternatives within the business: In the livestock industry for example, while identification and tracking may be the primary thrusts of the business, an automated comprehensive ranch management system, can serve as a viable business alternative, even if the primary focus areas are hamstrung due to lack of government legislation.
These are key critical strategies for surviving a recession with respect to those currently employed (Job Keepers).