There is an interesting article on CNN Money titled New Year’s resolution: I quit!

It says that 84% of “employees” plan to look for a new position in 2011… last year it was 60%.

This is what we usually call “underemployment.”  When we say someone is underemployed, we usually mean they are not making as much as they need to pay their bills, and then have to take another job to supplement.  It can also mean they are simply not happy doing their job (like, an analyst who is doing non-analyst work, like working in a mailroom).

A quick note on the statistic – one of the comments says that of course it is so high, since it is a staffing agency (Manpower), polling their “employees,” who probably feel like they have a temporary job.  How many staffing agency “employees” feel like they want to stay where they are, as opposed to getting a more traditional job?  Here’s the comment:

“This has to be an all time dumb survey. A temporary hiring firm declares 84% of people want a new job. DUH! IF THEY HAD A JOB THEY LIKED THEY WOULDN’T BE WORKING FOR YOU!!!”

Aside from the validity of the survey, or the numbers, let’s talk a bit about unemployment. In my world I see a few different types of people:

  • Happily Employed
  • Unemployed
  • Underemployed

The Happily Employed are just sitting on a time bomb, waiting to go off.  Some of they know it, many don’t think it will ever go off.  These are people who usually have a very difficult transition since they aren’t preparing for it.

The Unemployed are frustrated that recruiters tend to see them at the bottom of the barrel – who wants to hire an unemployed person?  Not many people… unfortunately.

The Underemployed are also frustrated, for different reasons.  But one thing is in their favor – it’s been said that it’s easier to find a job if you already have a job… and this gives the Underemployed a leg up over the Unemployed!

Where are you?  What does that mean for your job search?

Is it worse to be underemployed or unemployed?  I bet responses will vary based on what your situation is 🙂


  1. tmana on December 30, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Arguably better to be unemployed than underemployed b/c underemployed suggests you’re no longer interested in career development. Flip side: you’re willing to WORK, and may be more willing to accept minimum wage for a highly-skilled, experienced position (and therefore may be competitive with H1 labor)

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