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.

Social Media Background Checks — Is Yours Clean?

I’m very fortunate to have a job — although, like most others, I’ve been unemployed for a time when I’d rather not have been. But current jobseekers now have yet another hurdle to climb in the form of social media background checks. Gizmodo ran some intel on its own staffers and found some surprising results. Read up, and think about what people would find if they really looked at your online history:

Here’s what we found, and why you should both freak out about and embrace it.

First, some context: In May, the FTC gave a company called Social Intelligence the green light to run background checks of your Internet and social media history. The media made a big hulabaloo out of the ruling. And it largely got two important facts wrong.

Contrary to initial reports, the company doesn’t store seven years worth of your social data. Rather it looks at up to seven years of your history, and stores nothing.

The second was the idea that it was looking for boozy or embarrassing photos of you to pass along to your employer. In fact it screens for just a handful of things: aggressive or violent acts or assertions, unlawful activity, discriminatory activity (for example, making racist statements), and sexually explicit activity. And it doesn’t pass on identifiable photos of you at all. In other words, your drunken kegstand photos are probably fine as long as you’re not wearing a T-shirt with a swastika or naked from the waist down.

Basically, it just wants to know if you’re the kind of (jerk) who will cause legal hassles for an employer. Which brings us back to my report.

We ran background checks on six Gizmodo employees, including our editor in chief Joe Brown, and all but one came back clean. When it doesn’t find anything incriminating on a potential employee, it simply issues a notice that the employees passed (see below) and doesn’t generate a file.

And then there’s me. I flunked hard. When that happens, Social Intelligence creates a report, which it would then send to an employer. And if you don’t get a job because of your social media report, you can request a copy. Mine’s filled with delightful details, like "subject admits to use of cocaine as well as LSD," and "subject references use of Ketamine."

Basically, I may never work again.

Read the full story to see what the report actually looks like (beware, some salty language). Pretty fascinating.