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Workers are worried about losing their jobs in a recession. Here are 6 tips to keep yours

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  • Nearly 80% of workers are anxious about losing their jobs in the next recession, a survey found. 
  • That doesn’t mean you should stay put in a stable job if you’re miserable, careers experts say.
  • Here are 6 tips to keep your job or find a better one right now.

Economists are predicting a recession that will accelerate unemployment in the US, and workers are worried their jobs are on the line.

Some 78% of US workers are anxious about job security if the US enters a


, a recent survey from Insight Global found. With a wave of layoffs and hiring freezes sweeping across the US, employees may be tempted not to rock the boat by quitting or pushing for changes.

Savvy workers can still look out for opportunities to progress though, according to careers coach John Lees.

“I’m finding that candidates are getting more than one job offer,” Lees said in an interview. “There is definitely more competition for talented workers, so if people are interested in changing jobs, or getting a better job or looking for a promotion, it’s a pretty good time to be doing it.” 

He added: “There’ll be different positives and negatives happening at exactly the same time. Don’t buy into the national narrative about what the labor markets doing, look for real opportunities.” 

Although the number of job postings in the US decreased slightly in June, companies are still in need of workers so hiring continues to remain strong. 

Career coaches gave their six tips on how to keep a job or find a better one, even when it feels risky in an economic downturn. 

1. Prepare in advance 

Lees recommended clients “plan 18 months ahead” when heading into a poorer economic climate to stave off the worst effects of a recession. 

He said: “Anticipating change and movement is always a good idea rather than being caught in the hop.” 

If you suspect negative changes coming to your company then it’s important to “increase your market awareness” and get your LinkedIn profile and résumé together. 

This includes strategizing how to make yourself indispensable, according to Traci Wilk, chief people officer at The Learning Experience and ex-HR director at Starbucks. 

“I would say to look at this as an opportunity to say: ‘Okay if I’m detecting that the company may be in trouble, I’m going to take these next couple of months and just do nothing else, but continue to show how indispensable I am, how collaborative I am, and how optimistic and innovative I can be.'” 

2. Don’t quit in a hurry 

Over half of American employees have said they’ll look for a new job if there’s a recession, recent data from recruitment software company Greenhouse found. 

Although it may be tempting to quit your current job if you’re unhappy, the effects of “unemployment depression” may be worse

“I have never recommended people quit because the reason it’s easier to find a job if you’re in one is that you’ve got more competence,” Lees said. “The psychological effect of being out of work is not great for people that want to reposition themselves.” 

Wilk said that instead of coming to your manager with problems you’re facing, try to offer solutions to counteract your feelings of unhappiness, also showing your value to your manager. 

“That is the thing that leaders want to hear within organizations, is having employees come to them and say, ‘I want to do more in addition to what I’m doing, how can I help?'” 

3. Keep a positive attitude 

Part of making yourself indispensable at work is your attitude and how your leaders perceive you, Wilk added. 

Attributes that shine include being proactive, helpful, and optimistic, she said. 

“You want people around and on your team that are not complaining about what’s happening, but are saying that in spite of the current circumstances, ‘I still want to be helpful.'”

4. Networking will speed up the job hunt if you do plan to quit 

Building relationships at your current place of work and reaching out to your network will help you secure better opportunities. 

Wilk said to “project manage your job search” when you don’t have time outside of work — that includes networking.

She said: “Look at that as an opportunity to just surround yourself with other successful people. Maybe it’s not your exact line of work, but someone that you may want to emulate. Listen to their story and be interested, because every opportunity that I’ve had personally has come from knowing someone else in my network.”

5. Be flexible about your demands

Having a degree of flexibility during a recession can’t hurt your job hunt. 

It’s “important to have that that list of non-negotiables” but having too many demands will limit you, according to Wilk.

“Maybe that second list of  ‘I don’t want to go into the office more than three days a week’ or ‘I only want to work for a company that is in the state where I currently live,’ things like that, particularly in these times, you need to be a little bit more flexible,” she said.

6. Follow the money 

Even in a recession, there will be organizations and industries that are booming whilst others are in decline.

“Having guided people through several recessions, I would say that one of the tips is always to follow the money,” Lees said. 

“Follow the money says: Go towards organizations where your job will be about managing positive change. So managing decline can be done and it can look good on a CV, but it’s actually quite a dispiriting thing to do. Moving into a role where things are growing and budgets are increasing, that’s a very different experience.”

Read More: Workers are worried about losing their jobs in a recession. Here are 6 tips to keep yours

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