Menu
Click-To-Call: 1300 061 009
 
You made me feel confident and positive about where I was heading in the next chapter of my life.

Redundancy and Bias Against the Unemployed

unemployment discrimination

 

Career transition tactics to win the job when it seems like a stacked field. 

Career change is hard at the best of times. But if you are affected by redundancy it can feel like a double whammy when you're forced to launch into job search mode only to find a market that favours the employed.  People tell me time and again it feels like ‘it's easier to get a job when you have a job’. The reality is that's probably true but don't lose heart, there is plenty you can do to overcome any market bias.  

Unemployment Bias Exists.

Unemployment bias definitely exists. I’d love to say otherwise but we all know it's true and there is no point pretending. I hear it every day in the frustrated voices of talented professionals previously poached at every corner only to find post-redundancy the market seems suddenly a little quieter. 

In fact, sadly the research backs this up. A 2011 study* by a research team led by Geoffrey Ho from the UCLA Anderson School of Management revealed that this bias does occur. They conducted a study of 47 HR professionals who all received the identical resume except for one small difference, half had a resume where the applicant was listed as currently employed, and the other had the applicant listed as unemployed for a month. Disappointingly, the employed applicant received better scores for competence and hireability.

Read Also: Redundancy Sucks. The Fastest Route Back to Happily Reemployed

Apparently even job market technologies favour the employed. For example on LinkedIn, if you don’t list a current position, your ranking will drop slightly in their search results. 

Of course, this bias for most hirers isn’t intentional, and I'm hopeful in today’s market that this bias is slowly changing as we begin to recognise that periods of unemployment are going to be the norm in the new world of work and no reflection at all on the individual. 

Overcoming Unemployment Bias

So how do we overcome it?  

  1. Firstly, don’t bow your head to it.  Be confident in the value you bring. Employers, recruiters and your network will respond positively if you present with confidence and can clearly articulate your value to potential organisations.  
  2. Don’t let the gap get in your own head.  When you are preparing for interview or designing your resume put your energies not into worrying about the gap but in grabbing the employer’s attention by really showcasing the value you have brought in past roles.  Nothing captures attention like telling an employer you saved money, increased sales, improved service or the many other incredible achievements you have under your belt.
  3. Be strategic.  Whilst you don’t want to be caught up in the “gap” mentality you also need to be pragmatic and deal with the reality that this bias exists.  Do your best to minimise gaps in your resume by using years rather than months in your dates and looking for ways to highlight valuable activities during this time.  This may be other part time work (paid or unpaid), study or development activities.    
  4. Don’t let it catch you off guard. Be ready with practiced responses to any questions by recruiters or friends about why you left your last position.  Remember redundancy is incredibly common today – in fact it's a by-product of the times we work in. Simply let others know your organisation experienced workforce changes and your position was subsequently affected.  Most people now understand that redundancy is just an unfortunate but sometimes unavoidable part of business.

My final point is to not let the thought of unemployment bias derail your job search.  If you are confident, prepared and active in the market you will get another position.  If you are worried about unemployment bias and have been given outplacement support, make sure to talk with your career coach about strategies to address this so you can move forward with confidence.

Mentioned Research Study: *The Psychological Stigma of Unemployment: When Joblessness leads to Being Jobless," Geoffrey Ho, Margaret Shih and Daniel J. Walters of UCLA Anderson and Todd Lowell Pittinsky of Stony Brook University, 2011

 

Call us, we'd love to hear from you. Find out how we can design a program to meet your needs. Not familiar with outplacement? Learn more in our information section - what is outplacement?

Testimonials

"She took the time to really get to know me and was able to translate this into a resume for me that truly brings my key strengths to light"

- S Career Transition Participant

"I got a team of experts helping me to get the dream job"

- Cherie

"The support, encouragement and positivity from the team"

- K Career Transition Participant

"I was so impressed with the finished product"

- E Career Transition Participant

"I feel like a superhero when I read my resume"

- L Career Transition Participant

"She helped me regain the confidence to move further with my career"

- M Career Transition Participant

"The team who worked with me, made me feel important"

- Ms K Career Transition Participant

"I know it’s all me on paper, but you have made me sound like a real, skilled, professional"

- T Career Transition Participant

"The resources were helpful and the flexibility in both face to face and remote sessions"

- Robert A

"You were responsible for shifting my husbands dreary outlook on the job market. Thanks to your help he found a fantastic new job that he loves"

- Doug's Wife

"You assisted me in coming to terms with having to look for a job after 20 years with the same company"

- Ray

"You offered a perspective at a time when emotionality is high"

- Heidi

"Danielle enabled me to take important steps towards creating a new path for myself with a sense of confidence"

- Carley

"I really can't thank you enough, and am so happy I contacted your company"

- Jane

"My interview coaching session was a great experience...he helped me develop crisp answers that the interviewer was looking for"

- Robert

"I was totally blown away by the support and assistance I got from Outplacement Australia. It was totally different to what I expected"

- Aaron

"The confidence boost was great and the comments I received on the quality of my resume were awesome"

- Darren

"It was my first experience being unemployed. Outplacement Australia made the whole experience less painful"

- Emma

"You are amazing. I can't believe how thorough and dedicated you are"

- Terry

"I don’t think I could have done it without you"

- Elizabeth

It's a privilege to have access to this professional support from specialists who really seem to care

- Lara

"It really gave me the boost that I needed to get back in the job market"

- Fiona

Everyone I worked with at Outplacement Australia were amazing and helped me immensely

- Mark

"I will be forever grateful for Danielle's understanding and support during this very challenging time of my life"

- Eva

"It was like meeting the most professional friend in the world"

- Liz

"Thank you for the insight, support and the expertise you provided at this challenging time"

- Corporate Workshop Participants

"You made me feel confident and positive about where I was heading in the next chapter of my life"

- Kathy

Industry Awards & Credentials

We are committed to the highest of standards. Our team includes award-winning, certified resume writers and qualified career practitioners.

CDAA

Your career is in safe hands with qualified CDAA professionals up-to-date with the latest in career transition.

TORI

Access our multi-award winning resume team to have your resume designed by leaders in the field.

Reach Certified Strategist

Build your professional brand by working with our qualified Personal Branding Strategist

CDI

Our team has won multiple industry awards including the prestigious CDI Lifetime Achievement Award

CDI

Our resume workshops are custom designed by a Certified Master Resume Writer to help you stand out

CDI

Our team includes Certified Resume Writers who have had to pass exacting standards by CDI's certification body

CERM

For our executives, our resume team is led by a Certified Executive Resume Master and expert in executive career marketing

MCT

Translating a defence career to civilian terminology requires specialist expertise. We have Australia's only Certified Resume Specialist in Military Transition