Opportunity In Chaos: The Many Ways That Tragedies Lead To Jobs

Anyone who loves the news might have found themselves a little green in the last year. Mad World syndrome has been up and running since babies in wells were 24-hour-news but even knowing thatm trying to take an objective view of the big stories of the last year is tough. It just seems like more and more bad things happen more and more often. But our numbers have shown us a bit of a silver lining (even if it is a bit macabre).


We’re just going to come right out and say it. It sure seems like tragedy creates job opportunities. While no one wants the devastation that comes with a natural disaster or a nationwide crisis, the bad old days immediately following a breakdown of order and normalcy can be a big boon for job seekers.

For example, let’s take a look at Parkland. The surge in personal gun purchases following any national tragedy where people are killed by high-powered weaponry is a well-documented phenomenon at this point. But this time around we also found that Americans were hiring more people to hold guns for them.

In the month following the Parkland shooting, as the discussion around guns in the U.S. soured and actual reform pushes started to seem possible,  hiring for gun-related jobs surged +79%.
And all that hiring was doing a number on the overall gun numbers in the U.S. In spite of the teen-led movement to make sure that fewer people could get their hands on weapons, the hiring surge for gun-wielders inched up the overall amount of weaponry in the country.  89% of gun-related hiring in the 2 months following Parkland increased the number of guns circulating.
The numbers might look a little disheartening for anyone looking to reform gun laws in America and, on its face, it definitely looks bad. For every worker hired to work on new gun reform campaigns immediately following Parkland, 9 others were hired that increased access to guns. But these numbers can be misleading. The 5 biggest anti-gun employers hired just 32% of people promoting gun control, meaning that a significant amount of the push around gun control is coming from unpaid sources: passionate protesters, people affected by gun violence and folks who can’t help but share the way they feel about the state of their country.


This pattern of job surges holds true for different types of tragedy. For example, in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey devastating Texas, many jobs were lost the month of the storm. But 261,000 jobs were added in the following month, more than balancing the lost positions as the recovery process got under way.  Several sectors and industries saw huge increases in hiring in the wake of the catastrophic storm that left significant chunks of Houston underwater.

In coastal Texas, for instance, demand for project managers surged by +179%, nurses and counselors by +140%, and architects by +114%.  And that growth held for quite a while (disaster recovery is a painfully slow process).

So, even in the wake of the worst events imaginable, people who are in the market might be able to see some benefit from dark days.

Of course, you can’t (and shouldn’t) be waiting around for the next news story to break. If you need a job ASAP, we can help! Check out our services. Our AI-driven job search tools increase hireability by 5.8x and start a $10 per month. Storm or no storm.

Why your Bachelor’s Degree isn’t worthless

Many job seekers rightly question whether their decision to attend college was a good investment. College today requires a great deal of time and money and the return on investment (ROI) isn’t always clear–especially when you’re simultaneously seeking work and paying Sallie Mae. Certainly there are different ways to evaluate the worth of your degree (some majors are considered to be more “valuable,” the name recognition of certain universities over others, how you decided to finance it, etc.) but the value of higher education in the job market today versus not having a college degree at all is clear.

It’s the new standard.

According to the US Census Bureau, over a third of American adults are graduating with Bachelors degrees, an 18% rise from just a decade ago. (It was only 4.6% in 1940!) Due to the oversaturation of the baccalaureate, it is now seen as the minimal credential necessary to attain an entry-level job. “Degree inflation” is commonplace across industries from administration to dental lab techs. Where the high school diploma was once suitable, the BA represents a basic point of entry into the workforce.

You still need the competitive edge.

Although a bachelor’s degree is viewed with less “prestige” than years past, not having one is a red flag for recruiters and hiring managers screening candidates. For one, a college degree acts as a litmus test for dedication and a certain commitment to one’s future; if you’ve pursued higher education there’s a certain cache you hold over a candidate without a degree. Secondly, many entry-level positions require a basic understanding of technical skills that in many ways are assumed with a college degree in 2018. In this respect, college grads are seen as more capable than non-grads.

You’ll earn more money.

On average, college graduates earn $1 million more over their lifetime than high school grads. Millennials with only a high school diploma earn 62% of what college grads earn. If you’re in the job market with only a high school education, you may be forfeiting a great deal of your earning potential.

Also, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rates for people holding only a high school diploma are double that of those with a BA. Yikes.

It’s a buyer’s market.

Oversaturated markets and technological advancements in the workplace allow the buyer (aka the hiring manager) to set the price, so-to-speak. LinkedIN ssThe new standard for obtaining a “good,” middle-class job starts with the minimum ticket for entry and hiring managers recognize this trend in the labor force. Their ultimate goal is to secure the best candidate for the lowest price, and given this new standard, there is rising competition among education groups for the same positions (i.e.: Masters degree-holders in the same job pool as BA-degree-holders).

In addition to job hunters with MAs competing for positions that traditionally only require the 4-year degree, employers across industries are pushing education requirements towards even higher degrees.


In an ideal world hiring managers would focus on the whole person and the different experience each candidate offers when looking for top talent. Unfortunately, lack of time and resources precludes many employers from being so open-minded and certain standards are set to whittle down applicant pools. The undergraduate degree in 2018 is the basic investment towards a path to middle-class job opportunities; whether this is “fair” relies on new standards for opportunity being set.

If you’re currently in the job market and resenting your college degree as you tread through the endless slough of online applications, TalentWorks can help. In addition to optimizing your resume and matching you to jobs (that actually interest you) we have 24/7 mentorship with experienced hiring managers.

For $10/month we can automatically find the best jobs and pre-fill job applications for you based on your desired role, location and years of experience. In addition, you’ll get our Interview Guarantee — if we can’t get you an interview within 60 days, we’ll refund everything back to you, guaranteed. (90% of job-seekers using TalentWorks get an interview in 60 days or less).