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BY Rob Davis
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Is Now a Good Time to Transition to Corporate America?

Is now a good time to transition to Corporate America?  How as the economy changed since the pandemic began?  These have been mainstay questions we have been asked by JMOs since the pandemic started.

Interestingly enough, one of our very first blog posts ever published was in March 2009 entitled,   “The Economy – How is it Impacting Cameron-Brooks Candidates’ Career Searches?”  The unemployment rate in March 2009 was 8.5% and it would rise to the highest level relative to the economic down turn of 2008/2009 to 10.2% in October 2009. The numbers look even worse when considering “Real Unemployment”, that is the combined rate for the unemployed, the underemployed and the discouraged, (U-6 data) to 15.8% in March 2009 and 17.1% in October 2009.

The bottom line is that the U.S. economy was at one of its lowest points in history; that is until COVID-19!  In April 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, bls.gov, the unemployment rate at that time was 14.4% and real unemployment rose to a whopping 22.4%.   For those over the age of 25 with a college degree (the JMO background), the unemployment rate in April 2020 was 6.1%. Yet, even during that time Cameron-Brooks never cancelled a Career Conference nor have we ever in our 50+ year history.

And now, what a difference a year makes!  While we are still dealing with the pandemic, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.  We have vaccines being administered; towns, cities, and states lifting some COVID restrictions; students being able to return to in-person schools, etc.  We are certainly not back to where we were in 2019 and who knows when and if we will return to those conditions, but the economy has begun to rebound.  For the month of April 2021, the unemployment rate dropped to 8.2%, real unemployment to 10.4%, and those with a college degree over the age of 25 years is now sitting at 3.5%.  In fact, depending on what reports or articles you may read, academic economists state that full employment is somewhere between 3.0-5.0%.   You can read the latest employment report summary here.

So, to answer the question – is it a good time to transition to Corporate America?  The answer remains the same as it was since the inception of Cameron-Brooks 50+ years ago.  It depends.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Why are you considering a transition from the military in the first place?
  2. What pain or problem are you trying to solve by transitioning?
  3. What are your goals?
  4. Where do you see yourself professionally and personally in the next 5 years? What about 10 years?
  5. Does Corporate America align with those goals and your reasons for transitioning?

If the answer is yes, then it is a good time to transition. These questions will help you make a decision independent of the economy,  because it is simply impossible to time the market.   We are seeing positive trends in the economy but it is not perfect and nor is it ever perfect.  Companies have hiring needs and they need strong leaders to help solve problems, make an impact, and bring value.  This will never change no matter the condition of the economy.  But in a more challenging economy, the bar is raised.

Companies expect more in terms of your ability to interview and deliver results, and there are simply more traditional “industry” hires available on the open market.  What does that mean for a JMO wanting to transition in 2021?  Raise your bar.  Be well prepared, have a sound transition strategy, and be a giver when it comes to demonstrating your value to Corporate America.

To reinforce that it is absolutely possible to successfully transition and launch a career in Corporate America right now, here are some statistics from our most recent April Career Conference.

  • Of the 48 JMOs who attended the Conference, 100% of them had companies pursuing them into the follow-up interview process.
  • 94% of the JMOs earned offers
  • The placement rate (percentage of JMOs that accepted an offer) is ~90%.

To learn more about Cameron-Brooks, visit our website. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Best of success,

Rob Davis