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Climate, Crisis, War: make a career anyways

Continuous battles in Ukraine, supply chains collapsing and impending stagflation, currently there are horror stories following the next. The economic situation of Europe is uncertain, but the German workers are complaining about one thing: the lack of qualified workers. 

The situation is almost critical for all industries. Many attractive and high paying jobs remain unfilled in this country. Not because of high expectations, but simply because there are no applicants. Aswell as the Baby boomer generation slowly retiring and leaving the labor market. The millennials who follow them and the young Generation Z professionals aren’t enough in numbers to fill in this gap.

The Digital Industry Lacks Professionals

The IT and Digital industry is one of the worst hit by the ubiquitous shortage of personnel. This is confirmed in current studies. For example, the institute of the German economy found that in September 2021, that only half of the advertised positions in the digital profession could be filled. This means that 77.000 positions could not be filled. and this trend is only rising.

The Crisis As a Career Catalyst

This development is worrying for employers but it also offers employees a good opportunity to pursue their career ambitions. Especially as a digital specialist or someone completely new to this industry, you can benefit from the tense situation on the labor market. After all, generally high demand and the urgency of corporate digitization are now acting as a catalyst for your career. So how do you make clever use of the general crisis situation? Thanks to our many years of experience in recruiting, we know what it takes to keep climbing the career ladder even in economically uncertain times. We have summarized our five most valuable tips and what you need for your new success mindset here.

1. Trust Yourself To Change

The old notion of a successful working life meant working your way up in a company for 40 years. But this way of making a career is outdated. Today, we recommend that young employees gain as many different experiences as possible. And the same applies to everyone else: After about two years, it is advisable to question your position in the company and on the job market and, if in doubt, opt for a new challenge.  According to Claudia Kimich, a negotiation trainer from Munich, a voluntary change of job promises an “extra push on salary” in most cases (see Handelsblatt issue no. 1o2, May 2022, article “Sideways, faster, further”). It also improves your work life balance therefore making you happier overall. Productivity and job satisfaction are significantly higher among employees who are willing to change jobs than among their reluctant colleagues.

2. Check Your Mindset

But if you decide to change jobs frequently, you can’t avoid developing yourself with each new project. That may sound exhausting, but with the right mindset, this attitude is currently one of the biggest career accelerators. A growth mindset, as Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck calls it, is characterized by the fact that people see every challenge as a learning opportunity and take advantage of it. It’s an attitude that will really get you ahead. After all, the more complex and specialized our working world becomes, the more important constant learning becomes. As recruiters of many years’ standing, we know that academic background often plays a secondary role in many personnel decisions. As an applicant, you are more likely to score points in the application process with professional experience and soft skills, such as the ability to work in a team or creativity.

3. Utilize Social Media Correctly

With the help of social media, networking has never been easier. Especially in times of pandemic, career platforms such as LinkedIn or Xing have become tried and tested tools for communicating one’s expertise to the outside world. However, many users cross the line between private and professional when posting, sharing and commenting. Not everything you’d share with friends you’d reveal in a job interview, right? So how do you show authenticity online without being boring or unprofessional? In an interview with Handelsblatt, expert Tijen Onaran, Chefin of diversity consultancy Global Digital Woman, reveals her credo: “Personal yes, private no.” You can post what’s on your mind, but the context to business must always be clearly recognizable, otherwise there’s no added value for your followers.

4. Lead On An Equal Footing

Micromanagement has had its day. Today, managers are no longer there just to push through company goals and control their employees’ every move. Good leadership today is characterized above all by empathy and targeted support. Employees want a mentor who meets them at eye level and supports them in the work process. This also means that as a supervisor, you need to establish a close personal relationship with the team in question. This is all the more important if you work spatially separated from each other. The classic office department, which spends a large part of its working hours together, hardly exists anymore. Team spirit only develops when everyone opens up to a certain degree and also shares private things. Set a good example to promote togetherness and initiative in your team.

5. Take Care Of Yourself

Self management is extremely important, especially in times of crisis, because running out of your personal resources is the quickest way to career failure. Above all, this includes the competence to lead a sustainable, balanced life; in other words, to establish a healthy lifestyle with an appropriate work life balance. But skills for implementation also help you to do something for yourself. These can be learned with the help of books, coaching or courses, for example on working time management. In our opinion, a good dose of self reflection is particularly important so that you can recognize where there is room for improvement in your (work) routine. Furthermore, formulated goals will help you if you want to integrate more self care into your daily routine. But stay realistic and change your life little by little. You won’t become a marathon runner overnight, but a short walk during your lunch break is definitely doable.