By Laurie Smith
After examining the experiences of 160,000+ laid-off workers who completed training programs subsidized by the U.S. Department of Labor, the DOL concluded that the education did not help them land new jobs. Neither did it help them to hang onto one if they were able to land a position.
This rather startling conclusion bears further examination. Of course, if you go out willy-nilly and take just any training program to equip yourself for entry into a new line of work or to advance in your current field, the results may be less than you hope for.
The key is to identify job categories where opportunities are growing versus shrinking. For example, what good could it possibly do to train for a manufacturing job in an industry in which workers with vastly more experience than you are currently being laid off in droves? Training for any field in which technology advances or changes in the economic landscape are routinely making jobs disappear will not position you for success.
In the job market of the 21st century, candidates need to position themselves attractively in occupations which have a high demand for quality workers. It is imperative to keep a constant eye on emerging trends to ensure the job or industry targeted is experiencing increasing rather than decreasing worker demand, and then adjust career planning accordingly.
While the career retraining approach applies primarily to those who are in lower level to mid-management positions, the overall career management strategy applies as well to executives. You don't want to be left behind when the economy evolves so as to greatly reduce or even eliminate the industry you've hung your hat on for perhaps decades. In an unforgiving global economy, it's adapt or perish.