How Long Will I Be Unemployed Between Jobs?

How Long Will I Be Unemployed Between Jobs?

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By Mark Swartz
Monster Contributing Writer


Here’s a bit of good news: the average length of unemployment has levelled off since last year. So far in 2014, the average Canadian spends just over 20 weeks between jobs. That’s down slightly from 21 weeks a year ago.
 
Many factors contribute to the duration of unemployment when job searching. Demand and supply for employees, how effectively a job search is conducted, an applicant’s age and location…all of these factors and more figure in.
 
Statistics Canada keeps records of unemployment trends. While they publish averaged figures, these can serve as rough guidelines when planning a new job search.
 
15 – 24 Year Olds
The lack of enough jobs for youth is a problem in Canada. Our unemployment rate for 15-24 year olds in the labour force hovers around 13%. That’s nearly twice the national unemployment rate when averaged for all ages.
 
Yet it’s youth that spends the least amount of time between jobs. In general 13 weeks is the duration of unemployment. This shouldn’t actually come as a surprise: younger people usually take lower paying jobs, and there are many more minimum wage positions out there than six figure ones.
 
Still, recent grads are facing real challenges in securing entry-level employment. Here are special job hunting tips for students and graduates.
 
25 – 44 Year Olds
Early and mid-career workers have an unemployment rate of 5.8%, which is below the national average. However their time between jobs is close to 20 weeks.
 
Why does it take so long to find a job? There are all sorts of factors that influence the duration of unemployment. Many of these are outside a job seeker’s control, such as:
 
·         Overall and regional supply of available jobs and demand for skilled employees
·         Performance of the economy in general and within industry sectors
·         How long it takes for an employer to make a hiring decision
·         Government subsidies and supports for particular sectors or regions
 
Within a job hunter’s sphere of influence, marketability and effort are the crucial elements. The following aspects have the greatest impact In terms of marketability:
 
·         Level and currency of relevant skills and knowledge
·         Provable track record of recent work contributions
·         The reputation of previous employers
·         Length of stay at employers (e.g. job hopping versus stability vs over-staying)
·         Availability of credible references
·         Demonstrable Canadian experience for immigrant job seekers
 
45 – 64 Year Olds
“Mature” workers have an unemployment rate that’s a percentage point below the national average. Yet the duration of unemployment between jobs jumps to 25 weeks.
 
Higher salaries and careful hiring for this age group explain much of this increase. Two other factors, both of which have something of a darker side, also play a role: age and appearance prejudices become more pronounced here.
 
In terms of looks, the knife can cut both ways. It’s possible you may be too sexy for your job. If not you aren’t alone. Instead read Baby Boomers: Don’t Let Appearance Stand in Your Way! As far as age discrimination goes, check out Older But Wiser - Tips for Mature Job Seekers.
 
65 Years and Over
For those who are above age 65, the time between jobs leaps up to 35 weeks. This can be shortened considerably by seeking part-time or seasonal work (instead of full-time roles that offer the usual assortment of benefits, and where competition is steepest).
 
Willingness To Accept What’s Available
Another crucial determinant of unemployment duration is how flexible a candidate is on the terms of new employment. In particular, holding out for higher salary and benefits can prolong a search.
 
Which is not to say that standing firm is an undesirable tactic. It does suggest that people should get good financial advice when they first become unemployed. The temptation to take just any old job out of desperation will thereby be lowered considerably.
 

At the same time, self-confidence rises with knowledge that extended unemployment would be survivable. Because the next job could be just around the corner. But if it takes longer than average to get re-employed, being