I’ve read some articles over the last few weeks about large companies restructuring and the result being mass layoffs.

I expected this to be the case at the start of the new year, and while I hate reading about people losing their jobs, I also believe we will begin to see some positive changes in the workforce and companies will thrive again.

But, there will be some rough patches along the way. Let’s take a look at what we can expect in the next few months, how things will begin to turn around, and how job seekers can take advantage of these new opportunities.

  1. Company Restructurings Will Continue

Companies are going to spend the first quarter of 2021 restructuring because the COVID-19 pandemic taught them they don’t need as many employees as they thought, and that they can do more with less.

Being lean and efficient benefits companies two ways right now:

  1. It positions them to weather through the ongoing pandemic and economic uncertainty.
  2. It enables them to reinvest into other areas of the company, or in new initiatives.

While this is smart business for these companies, that doesn’t provide much solace to the unemployed. The Associated Press reported on Jan. 14 that the number of people seeking unemployment aid soared to 965,000 during the first week of the new year.

Just because it’s a new year doesn’t mean things are going to be better overnight. We’re going to see more layoffs before things start to stabilize.

Here’s why there’s room for optimism…

2. Disruption Leads To Innovation… And New Opportunity 

I recently did a presentation about how the pandemic is changing people’s career outlooks, and a large part of it focused on innovation.

Many professionals laid off from large, multi-million dollar companies, are going to say “the heck with it” and start their own businesses. Some of these professionals will start new businesses based off of the industries they were previously working in, while others will turn hobbies and other specialties into careers.

A lot of start-ups are incubating as we speak and will soon be in the need of top talent and will be looking to hire professionals who have worked at these name-brand organizations that have reduced their staff.

There are a lot benefits to working at a start-up, particularly now where flexibility has taken on an even greater importance. Many employers are more focused on the impact and value of your work, not the exact hours worked.

In addition, working at a start-up is a chance to use your skills to carve out a new role that provides value to the company, and gives you more personal satisfaction.

I understand that working at a start-up isn’t for everyone, luckily there will be other options available.

  1. There’s A Hidden Job Market

Even some of the companies that are laying people off are still hiring, they’re just hiring at a much lower rate.

This may shock some people, but for those with experience in the corporate world it makes perfect sense. Becoming a more efficient company isn’t just about laying people off, it’s also reallocating resources and changing priorities.

Sometimes shifting priorities means creating new positions, and in some cases these companies have to go outside of their organization to find people with the skill sets they’re seeking.

Beyond that, there’s retirements and natural workplace attrition that leads to jobs becoming open. The trick is, many of these job openings won’t be posted on job boards or be made very public, and that’s why it’s called the “hidden job market.”

These positions may only be posted on company websites, or be advertised by word of mouth or referral. This means that you need to be very intentional in your job search and tap into your professional network on LinkedIn. In many cases, you may need to reach out to strangers on LinkedIn.

This may sound a little overwhelming, but this is actually the proper way to do a job search, and the best way to get the attention of hiring managers at these companies.