Career cushioning

Posted by Flux on 

6 December 2022

What’s trending? 
Career cushioning refers to looking for or being on the lookout for a new job before one actually needs to do so. LinkedIn Career expert Catherine Fisher defines it like this in her newsletter: “Career Cushioning is taking actions to keep your options open and cushioning for whatever comes next in the economy and job market. Think of it like an insurance policy to set yourself up for success”. In the current climate of economic uncertainty and retrenchments, many employees are feeling insecure in their current positions. Updating one’s Linkedin profile and CV and nurturing one’s professional network are examples of career cushioning, as is actively looking for a new job that feels more stable.

Why is it important?
More than half of Americans – 56% – think the country is already in recession, according to a recent survey from MassMutual. According to Linkedin, posts mentioning recessions have increased by over 700% since last year and posts mentioning layoffs by 11%. Workers are anxious about their job security. Career cushioning is a way to avoid periods of unemployment if one is retrenched. It can help recession-proof one’s paycheck. For businesses, this is important because it highlights that employees are no longer complacent and are actively managing their career progression. They are taking steps to safeguard their futures in an environment of rampant layoffs and companies squeezing benefits. 

What can businesses do about it?
The days of spending one’s whole career at the same company are long gone. Career cushioning is a wise strategy for workers, one which businesses cannot completely avoid or discourage. Businesses should be aware of this trend, which is likely to be the new normal for the world of work. While businesses cannot provide a 100% guarantee of their future performance, they can find ways to reassure workers, particularly in industries with the biggest declines in hiring which include tech, retail and real estate. By regularly communicating the financial performance of the company, workers can clearly see how much at risk their jobs are. Aside from recession fears, workers are prioritising flexibility and upskilling and if they feel that these benefits are threatened, they are more likely to start the process of looking for the next job and preparing to move on. Businesses should therefore consider offering these benefits if they are not doing so already in an attempt to retain staff. 

By Faeeza Khan

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Image credit: Chase Clark

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