Last night I read a magazine on which issue the front page has a heading “The Permanent Temporary Workforce”. Their in-depth section The Disposable Worker highlights several facts. Most of them are expressing the negativity that currently exists in the labor market. “Since the early ‘80s, the US economy has been taking longer to regain all the jobs lost in a downturn”. Companies are hedging their bets by hiring temps instead a steady workforce. And this trend will likely continue similar to Europe which makes a lot more use of temporary and part-time workers. It mentions also that 26% of working Americans have “non-standard” jobs. These are those that work less than 35 hours per week, independent contractors, on-call workers or day laborers. The article talks about “labor on demand” and this is on all levels and not only low paying jobs. Because of these conditions Americans are willing to accept lower pay. All in all the current conditions are gloomy but let’s focus now on the positive. The article is predicting that as soon as the economy will show signs of improvement the better employees will jump ship to a company that pays better. This will lead to openings and opportunities. The long term prediction is that a decade from now the retirement of the baby boomers could cause labor shortages which again lead to opportunities. It is important for jobseekers to understand the big picture but they need jobs now and not in the next decade. So what are they to do? Because of the tough competition the answer is not simple. Since most jobs come through networking therefore more and more networking is the answer. But here I am not talking quantity but quality. People need to become more sophisticated with their job search. They also need to learn how to benefit from the fast-evolving social media. If you don’t buy into these concepts then somebody else will. Could you guess who is going to get a job faster?