All over the Web we are constantly reminded of how dismal the current job market is. And yes, overall, the employment outlook is grim. Over half of recent college graduates are either unemployed or underemployed. Collectively, about 12.7 million people in the United States are without work. But scaring themselves by reading all these statistics doesn't really do the unemployed much good for their job search. In fact, I think it just further solidifies their state of hopelessness.
With all of these articles focusing on the negative, sometimes the positive news is overlooked. We don't often get to hear that many companies are actually growing even despite the recession and high unemployment. My company Ciplex, which specializes in helping other companies with web design, e-commerce and online marketing, is one that has luckily continued to show impressive growth in recent years.
How we've grown.
In fact, in 2006 there were just three of us. In 2007, eight. In 2010, we jumped to 24. And this year we have 42 employees. Our business has the advantage of people working remotely, and through basic technology we can do this while still interacting together as a team. Most of our employees are in Los Angeles, but many are in other areas like New York, Arizona, Ohio, and Indiana. Currently, we've been growing our team by about five percent every month and plan to add four additional team members within the next 60 days.
Next year, we also plan on expanding into other markets. Our goal is to replicate our successful LA operation in other major metropolitan areas. We may not be a giant Fortune 500 company with thousands of employees, but I think this is still pretty incredible.
Our impact on the job market.
Yet, Ciplex can only add so many employees, and grow only so fast. But by helping over 300 small businesses and startups every year, we are able to make a real impact on the job market. And that is what fuels us.
To this day, we only focus on the small business and startup market. In our 12 years of business, we've had plenty of opportunities to go after the bigger clients. But we didn't. We purposely chose to stay in an area of business where we can have the most impact. Where we can help small businesses grow. For small businesses, ROI is extremely important and dollars have to go a long way. We work with businesses to understand their goals and build a website and market it to meet their needs. We focus on creating a great product that has true measurable results. It's clear we are having major impacts on leads, sales, and revenue with the small businesses that we cater to, and when those increase, so does hiring.
We want to help small businesses because it's known that they have a major impact on American job growth and the economy. Tens of millions of employees work for small businesses. Small businesses depend on each other for growth. It is almost like a viral video. A few grow and others follow. And the more small businesses continue to grow, the more jobs are created. In fact, President Obama has even been quoted as saying, "small businesses are the backbone of the economy." All politics aside, this is something I wholeheartedly agree with as I have structured my business around this philosophy. So while Ciplex may be rather small when compared to other companies, its impact on the job market is huge.
Lack of experience is a major obstacle for the unemployed job seeker.
Through our impact on the job market, one major thing we've noticed that prevents people from finding employment is a lack of experience. Experience is what helps get your resume in the door. In a job market with high unemployment rates, the number of applications employers get greatly increases. They don't have the manpower to go through all the resumes. Thus, the applicants that have past experience relevant to the position climb to the top of the pile. In addition, entry-level employees, or those that don't have a lot of experience with the job, require training. In a poor market, it's likely that a business may cut training expenses, as their staff is heavily focused on output.
But I think this is a fixable problem. The unemployed just have to get really motivated (which, like I said, is tough to do when you are only seeing articles about how depressing the employment market is!) and think creatively. For example, many industries are perfect for freelancers. Even those who can't get a full-time job can find plenty of work on a contract basis. Technology these days allows us to take jobs remotely, and the freelance/contract market is hotter than ever. It's very easy to find contract jobs on sites like oDesk or even Craigslist. You no longer have to go the traditional route. Plus, the Internet allows us to learn virtually any trade. If someone was truly committed and wanted to gain experience, they could do it without ever leaving their home. So while the current unemployment rate is certainly not desirable, there are plenty of opportunities out there if you know where to look.