3 Steps That Will Save Your Job In A Recession

by Ashley Stahl

“Are we in a recession?”

It’s the question everyone has been asking lately, and yet, the answer has never seemed more complicated. Recessions are generally defined as two consecutive quarters with a negative decreased gross domestic product. Following that standard, the U.S. economy is in a shaky place, having experienced a negative GDP in the first two quarters of 2022 despite growing at a 2.6% annual pace during the third.

To make things even more complicated, the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) officially declared a recession. Their definition – “a significant decline in economic activity that is spread across the economy and lasts more than a few months” – creates room for other interpretations including factors like employment, income and sales. While less consumer spending during the third quarter suggests inflation has taken a toll on Americans, at 3.5%, the unemployment rate has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

While economists generally don’t think the U.S. has hit a recession yet, many CEOs think one is looming in the horizon. According to a KPMG survey of more than 1,300 CEOs at large companies globally, 91% of CEOS believe there will be a recession in the next 12 months. Only 34% of U.S. CEOs say it will be mild and short.

To prepare for the future of an uncertain economy, employees must tighten the reins on their financial wellbeing by taking action to secure their jobs. Here are a few tips on how:

Become indispensable

What can you do that others can’t? Even in a recession, employers hold onto employees they can’t afford to lose. Since a smaller staff will require most employees to step up and take on more responsibility, dependable workers who communicate well and offer a wide range of skills have a greater chance of making it through a round of layoffs.

Employees who stay will likely have to take on tasks in unfamiliar areas, which will make the ability to learn new skills essential to staying with a company looking to consolidate its staff. Versatile employees will also be an asset to companies after a recession — it costs employers an average of $4,129 and 42 days to hire a new employee, an expense they could eliminate if they delegated those tasks to existing employees instead.

With so many online learning platforms at everyone’s disposal, now has never been an easier – or more expected – time to bring new skills to the table. Free online platforms like Coursera,, MIT OpenCourseWare, and Open Culture let you learn college-level material on topics from computer programming to art history. Think about the additional skills or programs that could be useful to help you expand the impact, efficiency, or caliber of your performance at work. Also consider putting time into improving your soft skills, as 93% of employers say soft skills play a crucial role in determining who they hire.

Some hard skills to learn:

· Data mining

· Database management

· Web analytics

· Email marketing

· Project management

· Public speaking

· Computer programming

Some soft skills to improve:

· Time management

· Project management

· Analytical thinking

· Flexibility

· Scheduling

· Customer service

· Communication

Step up your game

Now is not the time to be slacking. Once a recession comes along, it won’t be too long before companies start letting people go. At that point, it will be too late to secure your job with promises to show up on time and meet deadlines. Plus, your actions will speak louder than your words. Show your commitment to the company months before the thought of dropping employees even crosses your boss’s mind.

Start cleaning up your act by showing up to work on time and well-kempt. Focus your attention on making deadlines and responding to emails efficiently. Keep socialization to lunch breaks only and minimize office distractions to improve your focus. Then, add a little more to your plate. Perhaps this means staying late to proofread a team project before tomorrow’s presentation or lending a coworker an extra hand with paperwork. Small acts add up and over a few months higher-ups will take notice.

Show up in-person

To employers working in a company office, remote employees are out of sight and out of mind. A large-scale survey found that 60% of managers said remote workers would probably get laid off first. If able, consider commuting to the office a few days a week to build a stronger connection to the company culture. Working from the office will also give you an opportunity to have more in-depth conversations with supervisors about your contribution and future with the company.

At the very least, working at the office may reduce your own anxiety about getting laid off. A survey from GoodHire found that 8 in 10 remote workers think they are more vulnerable to getting laid off than those working from the office.

Most of the workforce has no control over whether the U.S. will experience another recession, but this doesn’t leave you without any control. Show up to the office as an indispensable asset to the company – and there will always be work.

 

 

Originally published by Forbes.comAshley Stahl is a career coach, keynote speaker, podcast host (You Turn Podcast) and author, here to help you step into a career you're excited about and aligned with.

Strategic Management Career Transition