2014 was a good time to find a job in North America, matching the job market optimism in Canada. Gallup, the American research-based performance-management consulting company known for its opinion polls, reports that optimism about finding jobs was highest in Northern America. Gallup interviewed 1,000 adults in 130 countries in 2013 and 145 countries in 2014. The areas with the largest year-over-year improvements in the world were the U.S. and the rest of Northern America as well as the European Union (EU). This optimism is likely due economic growth, the uptick in the stock market, and falling unemployment.
The optimistic jobs outlook in North America and the European Union contrasts sharply with the outlook in Latin America and the Caribbean, the latter showing a decrease in optimism about finding a job. Only three Latin American countries had a positive opinion of job prospects, including Panama, Paraguay, and Bolivia. Ireland, the United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Spain, and Portugal were the most optimistic of the EU countries, in spite of some difficult economic realities in the last few years.
After years of harsh economic situations that discouraged job seekers worldwide, encouraging views of the job market signal economic recovery. A more hopeful job outlook for 2015 in North America is based on increasing economic confidence and lower unemployment. This is supported by the University of Michigan’s sentiment index, which rose in March 2015, attributed to consistently low inflation, low interest rates, and improving job prospects and incomes.
Job Seekers Not the Only Ones Optimistic
Job seekers are not the only ones who are optimistic about the job market because of improvements in the economy. Employers are also optimistic, evidenced by the numbers of jobs added as reported by economists and the Labor Department. Experts like Moody’s Analytics Sophia Koropeckyj and IHS Global Insight chief economist Doug Handler predict monthly growth in jobs in the hundreds of thousands. A recent CareerBuilder survey found that just over one third of employers plan to increase full-time staff in 2015.
College Grads Have Improving Job Prospects
The choppy economy over the last 15 years is the reason for better job prospects for college graduates in 2015 according to experts like Phil Gardner. The director of Michigan State University’s College Employment Research Institute says employers this year are hiring more college graduates because they scaled back on hiring over the last decade and now have needs for talent and leadership for their growing businesses.
While Michigan State University’s institute reports a 16 percent increase in hiring for college grads, the National Association for Colleges and Employers predicts it will actually be between 8 and 10 percent. Both organizations point to the improving economy and the retiring Baby Boomer population as the reason many college students are getting job offers even before they graduate. Employers need candidates with good teamwork skills and leadership abilities, and many college students and graduates fall into that category.
It’s a Different Job Market in 2015
The job market has changed over the last ten years because of the economy, advances in technology, and evolving hiring practices. Qualifications alone don’t mean job seekers in 2015 will get a job. Allison Green, “Ask a Manager” blogger and author of management books including “How to Get a Job: Secrets of a Hiring Manager,” and co-author of “Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Manager’s Guide to Getting Results,” says job seekers need compelling communications to get interviews. A strong resume and a customized and engaging cover letter must convey your strengths, achievements, and what you are able and prepared to do for prospective employers.
Green reminds job seekers that it’s tough to change fields because of the sheer number of qualified candidates, and hiring processes today may take longer than candidates think. Even though the job outlook in 2015 is more optimistic, job seekers should be prepared for a job search that’s vastly different and more competitive than it was before the economic downturn.