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Proof of the Hidden Job Market

Proof of the Hidden Job Market

Mary Sevinsky

December 10, 2010

If you are looking for work you, no doubt, have heard of THE HIDDEN JOB MARKET. You may have even heard TOO MUCH of it. I know in working with my clients in Delaware and Maryland, I include the Hidden Job Market in nearly every vocational counseling session. Why? Here is a recent success story that illustrates just WHY THE HIDDEN JOB MARKET IS CRUCIAL TO JOB SEARCH:

I have been working with a career electrician for several months. He came to me following a very serious electrocution that resulted in not only permanent physical injuries, but traumatic brain injury and self confidence issues as well.

He is personable, conscientious, and has good knowledge of all the trades as his work as an electrician involved some carpentry, masonry, and roofing skills. In addition, he worked closely with plumbers, who were often involved on builds at about the same time as the electricians. He had some supervisory experience.

We decided it made sense to investigate construction related supervisory, sales, and estimating opportunities. He had learned how to organize his thoughts, activities, and efforts in his Traumatic Brain Injury therapy and was able to progress to the point where his memory and confusion issues were no longer evident in the first 3 months or so of our work together.

We undertook an extensive job search effort and found plenty of opportunities for construction supervisor and manager positions. Unfortunately, all of the opportunities required hands on work as well. Due to the economy, employers are often asking employees to perform duties previously required in more than one job. This meant there were even fewer supervision – only positions out there.

After several months of unsatisfying job search, my client noted there were many IT jobs advertised and he wondered if he should look at changing career fields. We discussed this and considered:

  • His previous wages (relatively high considering no college)
  • The fact he has a wife and three children to support
  • A new career would mean starting out at a lower wage
  • A formal training program would keep him out of the labor market even longer
  • Most short term IT training primarily benefits those with computer experience

After careful consideration, we decided to expand our job search and include computer related jobs. In addition, my ambitious client began studying for A+ certification from a book he borrowed from the library. Most of the jobs identified for which he could qualify appeared to be customer service related help desk positions. The pay was not what we would like.

Mr. Client suggested perhaps computer service tech might be something he could do. He knew about schematics, blueprints, electricity, wiring, and had upgraded and repaired his own, his family’s and his churches computers over the years. He felt he was well suited to this. The issue:  We didn’t find a lot of jobs advertised for this type of work.