With the U.S. economy expected to be hit hard by predetermined budget cuts, there is genuine concern that the nation may be about to enter another period of recession. The hope and expectation that was prevalent last fall has been replaced with trepidation, especially in terms of the employment market and its capacity to survive the anticipated cull of public sector jobs. With the rate of joblessness rising to 7.9% in January, the austerity measures scheduled for March 1st could send these figures spiraling upward.

The U.S. Employment Market: Why Job Security Is a Thing of the Past
The Congressional Budget Office says that up to 1.4 million jobs could be lost to the proposed austerity measures, as public spending is slashed in line with the fiscal cliff deal. This would offset much of the growth that was experienced during 2012, when the U.S. economy toiled hard to create a total of 2.2 million employment opportunities. With private sector businesses also expected to feel the strain, even those in gainful employment may find their positions severely undermined.

Even without the threat of recession, however, it would appear as though long-term job security and the concept of a guaranteed career path are things of the past. Even in-demand fields such as banking, law and medicine have lost their considerable appeal, with a recent Medscape survey suggesting that only 54% of medical workers would choose the same career path again if given the opportunity. With this in mind, there is an onus on individual employees to create their own semblance of job security and establish themselves as keys cogs within a commercial wheel.

Becoming a Manager
It stands to reason that the further you progress in your career, the more important that you become to a company. Once you reach a management position, the unique nature of the role and its responsibilities ensure that you have a pivotal place within an existing infrastructure. By improving your leadership skills, assuming responsibility for numerous company projects and taking control of business strategy, you can become more indispensable with every passing day.

So how exactly should you set yourself up for a career in management? Consider the following steps:

Ensure that You Are Qualified
While aspiring to become a manager is one thing, it is quite another to gain the required industry skills. If you approach an employer and ask to be considered for a management role, then the first question you will be asked is whether or not you have the necessary skills. Having even basic qualifications proves that you are passionate about progression, so you should strive to pursue these, either through a company training program or on an individual basis. Resources such as the American Management Association (AMA) offer training solutions to both firms and individuals, while also helping them to build a wider set of skills.

Address your Personal Skills and Absorb Knowledge
According to a Business Insider survey, 41% of respondents said that their dislike for their bosses was the driving force behind them leaving a firm. This means that refining your personal skills and developing a viable style of management are both crucial toward your chances of achieving long-term success, especially if you are to motivate a team of employees and empower them to work hard on your behalf. While educational courses in assertiveness and psychology may benefit you in terms of handling difficult and highly pressurized environments, becoming a part of professional management associations will enable you to absorb knowledge and develop your skills.

Develop Experience of Management Roles
Even with the relevant qualifications and an understanding of management principles, it is not easy to acquire such a lofty position within a company. Experience is another key element that you require, although this can be difficult to obtain if your employer does not afford you the opportunity to learn. Becoming a mentor outside of your organization could help to provide you with this experience, whether you work independently or through a nonprofit venture. Not only will it give you an appreciation of how to handle individuals and solve problems, but statistics have suggested that employees who have worked as a mentor are six times more likely to earn promotions and progress their careers.

The Bottom Line
Given the current economic climate, there is a clear need for individuals to assume control of their own professional destiny. Becoming a manager is an excellent way to earn status and repute within an organization, while the role itself gives you access to a unique array of responsibilities. So although the nature of the modern employment market has rendered job security a thing of the past, it is still possible to cement your position as a trusted and valued team member.

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