Many Have Anxiety About Re-entering Workforce

The World at Work has an intriguing post about Americans getting back into the workforce. The good news is that 60% of those who were laid off last year have found jobs; the bad news is those who are still looking have more challenges to overcome than one might think.

While more laid off workers are getting back to work, those who are still unemployed are anxious about re-entering the workforce. 60% of workers who were laid off in the last year reported they landed new jobs, with 88% of these workers finding full-time positions. Of those workers who are still searching for new opportunities, 56% said they are nervous about returning to work after an extended period of unemployment. The survey, which was conducted by Harris Interactive for from May 19 to June 8, 2011, included more than 800 workers who were laid off from full-time jobs in the last year.

When asked why they felt anxious about re-entering the workforce, 50% of laid off, unemployed workers said it was the pressure to prove themselves while 40% pointed to fear of the unknown and 21% cited new technologies with which they may not be familiar.

Fear of the unknown especially comes into play as workers look to new industries and occupations after exhausting options in their own fields. More than half of workers (54%) who were laid off in the last year and found new jobs reported they found them in entirely different fields than where they previously worked.

"We need to do a better job as a nation to help workers identify jobs that are in-demand today and are projected to grow in the future," said Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America. "We have a growing skills gap and the need to get millions of Americans back to work. As the economy recovers, we need to focus on retraining and ‘re-skilling’ workers to help them move to new fields with a greater number of opportunities."

Workers are not only changing industries, they’re changing residences. Of workers who were laid off and found new jobs, 36% reported they relocated to a new city or state. Of those who haven’t found new jobs yet, 38% said they would consider relocating for a position.

Pay Improving
The majority of laid off workers who found new jobs reported their pay is similar or higher than their previous position. 45% reported taking a pay cut, an improvement from 47% last year. 27% found jobs with higher pay, up from 22% last year.

Starting a Small Business
Some workers may replace their job search efforts with entrepreneurship. More than one-in-four (27%) who have not yet found work said they are considering starting their own business.