At Least It’s Not IT

By Richard Serby

The September unemployment rate remained steady at 6.1%. There were 18,000 new jobs created during the same period. Some new jobs created and other jobs lost. GIS was one of the winners. IT, generally, remains unstable.

It's amazing what a difference a 1 % increase above the typical 5% unemployment rate can mean to individuals. I have spoken to, and had email correspondence with, dozens of IT people who have been out of work for nearly two years. I have yet to speak to a GIS person who has been unemployed for very long if they were willing and able to relocate.

Two years ago most IT people wouldn't have wasted a quarter to call me about GIS jobs.

Things are looking brighter for everyone. If the political situation remains stable and we are able to begin rebuilding efforts in Iraq in a reasonably safe environment we will see a significant positive increase in jobs both in the U.S.and other countries. Some of these jobs will be defense related with work being conducted in the U.S.. Other jobs will be conducted in facilities located in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and possibly Kuwait and Turkey. Some of these jobs will require U.S.citizenship and DoD security clearances and other jobs will not. Those that are related to the surveying and mapping of civil projects such as water, wastewater, roads, and electricity will not require clearances and will pave the way for U.S.workers without clearances and those who are not U.S.citizens. Other jobs that will map secure military assets, civilian law enforcement facilities and oil/gas resources and hardware will require the ability to obtain clearances. In this instance, U.S.citizens and Green Card holders have a distinct advantage.

I sent an email to candidates in our database inquiring about the willingness to accept employment in Iraq once the rebuilding begins. We received 500 "Yes" replies within one hour and more than 2,000 over the next 24 hours. Given the inherent discomfort of the climate and desolate environment combined with personal safety dangers to receive such an overwhelming response took me completely by surprise. But, I was also surprised to learn that we have three finalist candidates for a one-year assignment in cold and somewhat unfriendly Korea. This happened within 48 hours!

What a difference a 1% increase over the typical 5% unemployment rate makes.

EDITOR'S NOTE: See Directions Magazine's expanded Jobs Listings.In a joint effort between Directions, GeoSearch, and SpatialJobs, we now carry a complete listing of worldwide job announcements.Bookmark this page.Watch for Directions on Careers, a new newsletter appearing every Friday.

Published Saturday, October 25th, 2003

Written by Richard Serby

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