When looking to get into a new marketplace where you think there will be high demand, you want to consider a few obvious things:
How difficult will it be to break into the new market?
How long will the demand last?
Will you be better off than if you just stay in the market you are in?
If you are going to move out of a market you have worked in for the last 5 – 10 years, make sure you are not going to a marketplace 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 to be a much less experienced candidate in a market that may explode in growth for a couple of years, but then fizzle because it was a short-term trend.
First, look at the “real job count.” The best way to do this is to visit the websites of the companies that are hiring directly for full-time employees for a particular skill set and put together a total count of the jobs you see. What you cannot do is 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 there will be multiple third party firms also advertising for the SAME position! This will give an inaccurate higher total job count than what really exists in that marketplace.
Second, compare the rate of growth of the new market to the market you are currently in. If the market you are looking to enter has 30% job growth but the one you are in has 10%, the market you are looking at is really a plus 20%. And the question again becomes: “Is it better to be a highly tenured candidate in a 10% growth market than have an average background in one that is growing 20% faster?” The question is not how fast a market is growing. The question becomes how fast is the market growing compared to the market you are in?
Third and finally, think about what everyone in your shoes is thinking. If you are trying to position yourself in a new market, the last thing you want to be trying to do is what everyone else is trying to do at the same time they are doing 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. So, for instance, if everyone is starting to move in the new direction you are thinking about, THIS just may be the time to stay back and let everyone leave while you stay put. I don’t suggest this if the marketplace you are in is dying, but it is something to seriously consider if your marketplace is growing but maybe just not as fast as the other you are considering.
Here is 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 are in), it might be reasonable for you to conclude that Market A, the market with 50 new jobs, is the place to be. But this would only be giving consideration to the demand side of the equation or decision. What if Market A, the market with 50 new jobs 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 will have the impression that Market A would be more attractive because if you were online looking for something new, you would see almost twice as many jobs in Market A as you would see in Market B.
In order to be in a HOT market, you have to be in a market where many new jobs are being created and you also have to be in a market where the number of people who can do the work is much less then the Market is requiring!