People want job stability to afford the things they need to live a comfortable life. However, the unemployment rate has risen throughout the pandemic. Several industries have suffered during this period, and some companies have resorted to laying off employees to cut costs. In fact, according to a report, more than 218,115 employees have been laid off in tech companies alone.
As a result, people have considered career cushioning. Career cushioning is “an informal term for the practice of lining up future job opportunities while still employed at one’s current job.” With uncertainty looming over the after-effects of the pandemic and global recession, people are upskilling and keeping their options open.
Options for a better, stable job
Career cushioning occurs due to different circumstances. One reason is economic recession. If employees know their company isn’t performing well and show no signs of sustaining themselves in the future, they will look to other opportunities. Another reason is the lack of incentives such as bonuses, retirement, and salary raises. Workers will likely look for other opportunities with another company that will value their skills and expertise. Others may be considering a change in working conditions. For instance, a mother who just gave birth to her child may opt to work remotely or at least in a hybrid set-up to care for her newborn at home.
Career cushioning has been viewed as morally grey as it may mean potentially landing a new job and transferring on short notice. Either way, it could help an employee gauge the company’s appreciation of them. When workers look at other job opportunities, they also compare their experience and earnings to what other companies in the same industry are searching and offering. By benchmarking, workers could find other jobs more suitable for their skills and needs. It also gives employees a view of what skills they need to learn or improve to be hired for a higher position or better compensated.
While some companies have policies on employees looking for another job while still with the organization, employees cannot be penalized for doing so. There is currently no law that prohibits workers from career cushioning. Companies can’t prevent their employees from resigning as well.
Keeping options open is an ordinary human survival skill. With the continuous price hike in essential commodities, finding more innovative ways to provide for daily expenses is natural. However, employees should check their employment contract to avoid any conflict in the workplace or a potential lawsuit.
Photo credit: The feature image is symbolic and has been done by Volodymyr Melnyk. The infographics have been done by Statista.