When looking to get into a new marketplace in which you think there will be high demand, you'll want to consider a few factors:
• How difficult will it be to break into the new market?
• How long will demand last?
• Will you be better off than if you were to remain in your current market?
If you're going to move out of a market in which you've worked for the last five to ten years, make sure you're not going to a market that will be hot for a couple of years and then cool off. You certainly don’t want to give up your highly tenured skill set in a market that may have slow to mild growth in exchange for being a much less experienced candidate in a market that may explode in growth for a couple of years, only to fizzle out because it was a trend.
First, look at the "real job count." The best way to do this is to visit the websites of companies directly hiring full-time employees for a particular skill set, and put together a total count of the jobs you see. You cannot look at the postings of third-party recruiting or consulting firms to establish the job count. Many times, organizations will use multiple third-party firms to help them fill their jobs. Therefore, multiple third-party firms will also advertise for the same position. This will give an inaccurate higher total job count than that which exists in the marketplace.
Secondly, compare the growth rate of the new market to that of your current market. If the market you’re looking to enter has 30% job growth, but the one you’re in has 10%, the market you’re considering is really at plus-20%. The question again becomes: Is it better to be a highly tenured candidate in a 10%-growth market than to have an average background in a market that’s growing 20% faster? The question is not how fast a market is growing? It’s how fast is a market growing compared to your current market?
Thirdly and finally, think about what everyone in your shoes is thinking. If you’re trying to position yourself in a new market, the last thing you want to try to do is what everyone else is trying to do — at the same time they’re trying to do it. You can try to do what you think everyone is going to do before they do to it. But you don’t want to be right in the middle of the wave. You have to be ahead of it. For instance, if everyone is starting to move in the new direction in which you’re thinking about moving, this may be the time to let everyone else leave while you stay put. I don’t suggest this if your marketplace is dying, but it’s something to seriously consider if your marketplace is growing, but not as fast as the other marketplace you’re considering.
Here’s what I mean: If you go online and see 50 new jobs a quarter in Market A and see only 30 new jobs in Market B (the market you’re in), it might be reasonable for you to conclude that Market A is the place to be. But you would be giving consideration only to the demand side of the equation or decision. What if Market A eventually gets to the point where there are constantly 45 qualified people pursuing the 50 jobs? That would be good, because there are more jobs than there are qualified people. But would it be better than being in Market B, where there are 30 new jobs with only 15 qualified people pursuing those jobs?
You’ll have the impression that Market A is more attractive, because if you were online looking for something new, you would see almost twice as many jobs in Market A as in Market B.
In order to be in a hot market, you have to be in a market in which many new jobs are being created. You also have to be in a market in which the number of people who can do the work is much less then the market requires.
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