The bad news: smaller businesses (<500 employees), which account for about two thirds of all new hires including marketing professionals, are currently laying off people at rates higher than the big companies. In addition, their plans for expansion are at lows not seen since the 1974 recession.
As an article in Knowledge@Wharton recently put it, “The job-creation engine known as small business has been slammed, not only because of falling demand but also because the normal flow of financing has slowed to a trickle. Last month, a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) found that expansion plans for small enterprises were at a 35-year low. That’s no surprise, given that their usual sources of borrowing — banks, government-secured financing, venture capitalists and credit cards — are far more limited than a couple of years ago.” However, the article then went on to say that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that is a program proposed by the administration that would increase the amount of credit extended to small businesses through community banks and the Small Business Administration.
So what, you say? Well, if small businesses are the prime source of new jobs, then these changes are coming none too soon. Especially as many mid-level marketers ought to be considering a smaller business culture, where their solid experience will be valued and their unwillingness to put in 90 hr. weeks will be forgiven. (Where it was merely seen as a weakness to be exploited in the eyes of corporate-ladder climbers.)
Also, it’s important to recognize the difficulty the times present the job seeker. When you find yourself getting down on yourself, doubting your abilities, wondering about whether you still have your fastball, remember: “It’s the economy, stupid!” The national news remains pretty bleak out there – the media will be trumpeting a 10% unemployment rate in the near future in all likelihood. But take heart: like the Queen Mary, our economy is slowly, ever so maddeningly slowly, making a turn. And your turn is sure to come.