SkillsTalk

4 ways to protect your job in a recession

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay | 14 October 2020


In the wake of COVID-19, businesses all over the globe are grappling with losses in profit, workers, and productivity. Australia, in particular, has hit a two-decade high in unemployment rates – with many experiencing redundancy (due to pandemic-related restrictions) or simply shifting industries at an unpredictably poor time.

For the currently employed, it’s understandable to feel worried in the current circumstances. Fortunately, experts have suggested a few strategies to ensure your financial and career stability during these turbulent times – and to maintain this in the face of future recessions. 

1. Create a backup plan. 

While it's normal to feel anxious in these times – it can help to take a step back, calm your thoughts, and lay out clear, reasonable action plans for the following months and/or worst-case scenarios.

This can include looking to any secondary income sources if necessary. To stay relevant in your industry, pursuing any available freelance jobs may not only help keep your savings afloat – but can also potentially open new doors of career opportunity. With the rising prevalence of the “gig economy” in Australia, and plenty of jobs now shifting to the online space, it’s an opportune time to take up a side hustle or two.

You may also want to assess the stability of your current job – and if looking to other, more stable (and “recession-proof”) sectors may be worth it. While making the switch may still be risky in our current times, it’s a move worth considering for your post-pandemic plans. Research shows that you likely won’t be alone, either – as the current recession has driven many to reflect on their current careers, and whether change is necessary.  

2. Upskill, upskill, upskill. 

upskilling concept

The benefits of upskilling have never been more relevant – with over a quarter (28%) of Australians now considering further training to protect themselves from future economic disruptions. 

Upskilling can grant you the competitive edge necessary for your career, boosting your value as a worker and making you more “indispensable” at your current job. Plenty of online training opportunities are now available to help you safely and effectively gain new skills (or hone existing ones), shaping you into a more versatile, adaptive employee from the comfort of your own home. 

While it’s important to keep your skills relevant and up-to-date within your industry – you can also  benefit from boosting your general tech-related knowledge and abilities. This will not only protect you career in future recessions (as digital skills and businesses persist in the face of economic downturns), but well-equips you for the technological revolution. With automation estimated to overtake 25-46% of all Australian work activities, it may help to keep your skills in line with new technologies as our economy grows ever-more digitised. 

3. Demonstrate leadership and initiative.

Another way to make yourself an “indispensable” employee is to demonstrate active leadership and a “go-getter”, team player mindset – in spite of negative circumstances. 

Priorities may be shifted, resources may dwindle, and working from home may take some time to get used to; but employers will appreciate those who willingly adapt and make the most of the current situation. Even better, display a proactive approach to these changes and offer any potential solutions or action plans to navigate these unpredictable events. 

Additionally, experts recommend volunteering for any extra projects or responsibilities – or offering your help to colleagues when necessary. This shows just how much you care about your current job and the future of the company; further establishing yourself as a loyal, invaluable resource.  

4. Expand your network. 

networking concept

Finally, ensuring an active professional network can help keep your career afloat in times of economic downturn. The industry connections you make are invaluable – as they not only expand your career options, but also may just offer the opportunities you need in trying times. For example, you may be able to reach out to them for available freelance gigs, or they may just be the bridge to a new, more stable and secure industry. 

Networking in the time of COVID-19 needn’t be a struggle, as plenty have turned to social media, virtual conferences, and online events to forge new relationships. Connecting with others on LinkedIn is a common place to start, as well as online forums (plenty of which are available through online training) and attending digital conventions.

Of course, it’s important to continue nurturing your current workplace relationships. Maintain open communication with your managers and colleagues, offering your help wherever you can. Take the time to understand their goals in these unpredictable circumstances. Your efforts will likely reflect on your value as an employee. 

Looking to “future-proof” your career?

As mentioned, upskilling is invaluable – whether in times of economic crisis or stability. Brushing up on your expertise can help you stay employable and competitive in an ever-changing job market, and keeps you resistant against unforeseen industry changes. 

Upskilled currently offers a wide selection of online courses, spanning across Australia’s thriving industries – from community services to IT – granting you the skills you need to stay up-to-date with the latest trends. Best of all, each course is delivered online, helping you study according to your personal needs and schedule.
 
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