Bestselling author Martin Yate, a career coach and former HR professional, takes your questions each week about how to further your career in HR. Contact him at the e-mail address at the end of this column.
Where I live offered little career opportunity before the coronavirus pandemic, and I don't see it changing for the better when we get past this. My husband and I think we should just pull up stakes and start fresh, but we don't know where we should go or the considerations we should be thinking about. Can you help?
COVID-19 is still here, but as the vaccines gain a strong foothold, companies will increase hiring and the recovery should begin in earnest. And while the unemployment picture is dreadful, companies are still growing and hiring, especially with the new year's hiring budgets. If you want to get back in the game, the labor market will steadily improve throughout 2021 as hiring gains momentum.
But if you are planning to relocate, bring some thought and planning to the process, which can stack the odds of making the right move in your favor. The comeback from the pandemic won't be even and will not return us to the pre-COVID-19 status quo. Many people are seeing this as a good a time to turn the page and make a fresh start, and I believe this will be reflected in a continuation and acceleration of the mass migration to the southern United States that has been going strong for three years now (over 200,000 people a year from the Northeast alone).
Here are some tips that will help you move to a location with steadier work and a climate, people and a lifestyle you enjoy.
Check the economic health of the town, area, region or state you're considering. Economic health is encouraged by a diversity of industries and professions, because a one-industry town offers less ability to weather economic downturns. The more diverse the economic base of an area, the better it will survive ups and downs. Your most reliable research tool to examine these issues is the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This enormous site will give you reliable growth and stability trends by city, region, state, industry and many other variables. This site has extremely valuable information for anyone considering a strategic relocation.
Look for areas that have a strong concentration of profession-relevant industries. Such a locale offers more opportunity for growth in the good times, and in bad times the diversity of employers will still generate jobs and therefore improve your odds of job continuity and stability.
Narrow down your choices by thinking about the kind of climate in which you want to live. For example, the Northwest and the Southeast are both economically healthy and diverse, but it rains nearly every day in the Northwest, and it's hot—or very hot—and sunny most of the time in the Southeast. Your leisure activities, health considerations or preferences can be satisfied or thwarted depending on climate.
Once you have identified half a dozen locales that look practical in terms of professional opportunity, look at the climates in these locations using bestplaces.net and weatherbase.com.
Also consider and research the areas' tolerance for religious, racial, political and sexual-orientation diversity.
More factors will come to you as you research. The result will be that you'll make a strategic relocation to an area that offers you the best odds of steady employment and an enriching quality of life outside of work.
Have a question for Martin about advancing or managing your career? From big issues to small, please feel free to e-mail your queries to YourCareerQA@shrm.org. We'll only publish your first name and city, unless you prefer to remain anonymous—just let us know.