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That’s where the jobs are

During the 1920s and 1930s, Willie Sutton gained fame as a bank robber. Reputedly he stole more than $2 million. When asked why he robbed banks, Sutton is alleged to have replied, "Because that's where the money is."

What does this have to do with your job search? First of all, no one is suggesting that you abandon your job search in favor of robbing banks. However, as an older worker seeking new, gainful employment, where should you look? Obviously, according to Sutton’s Law, where the jobs are.

So let’s start with where the jobs are NOT. Look back over the past few decades, regardless of economic conditions, big companies are continually announcing layoffs, cutbacks, downsizing, etc. Rightly or wrongly, the first instinct of people who have been let go by a big company is to focus their job searches on other big companies.

Let’s review: BusinessInsider recently announced just a few of the 2020 corporate layoffs that either have happened or are planned for the upcoming months. Coca-Cola 4,000 persons, American Airlines 19,000 employees and Delta Airlines 1,941 pilots. AT&T laid off 3,400 employees in June; Schlumberger is cutting roughly 21,000 jobs; Walgreens plans to cut 4,000 jobs; HSBC, Europe's biggest bank, plans to cut 35,000 jobs; and Hertz said it plans to lay off 10,000 employees.

And that’s just a partial list for this year.

So, Mr. Sutton, where are the jobs? Jobs boards and have their lists. As do Glassdoor and SimplyHired. Unlike BusinessInsider, their lists are liberally populated with small companies. Depending on whose list you cite and how you define “small company,” more than half of all U.S. workers are employed at small companies. Google reported that as late as 2014, small businesses accounted for over half of net job creation.

If your job search doesn’t include a healthy dose of small companies as your targets, maybe it’s time to re-focus.

Does this sound appealing? Generally speaking, small companies are more open to hiring older workers; small companies don’t use Automated Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen applicants; small companies tend to have more personal and less bureaucratic cultures.

Small can be good.


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