Introduction

The American job market in perspective

Contrary to popular belief, America does not welcome the poor of the world but is interested in people with money, education and professional training. Bear in mind that although America is the richest country in the world, it has a very high level of poverty, so there are already more than enough people looking to do simple jobs for basic salaries.

Introduction

The main problem facing most people wishing to work in the US is not finding a job but obtaining a work visa. Historically, the USA has drawn much of its economic success from attracting some of the world’s most intelligent and educated people. In contrast with Europe, humanitarian reasons are secondary in the decision of whether you’re invited to the party or not. So, according to the American view, if you live in poverty in you own country you might as well stay there.

Getting a job as a foreigner

Currently a high unemployment rate and difficult economic conditions mean that it is not easy for a foreigner to get a job in America. According to recent reports by the Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (2004) the average length of unemployment is about 5 months.

Being a foreigner is potentially a disadvantage in some industries and with some employers. If you do not have a working knowledge of English, your employment possibilities are very limited. If you are looking for work in retail, restaurants, bars or teaching foreign languages, things can be a little bit easier. We don’t wish to discourage anybody from looking for work in the United States, but just don’t assume it is going to be easy.

The American way

If you do have the fortune to get in, be prepared to work hard for what you get. For an American company, you’re just another production factor which is rated by its rate of productivity. Corporate social responsibility is talked about a lot on economic forums and the like but the reality can be quite different.

Job security is now regarded as a thing of the past and most corporations regard their employees as disposable resources to be exploited and discarded at will (in return, many employees regard the companies they work for the same way). Unlike European companies, US companies aren’t liable for any redundancy payment and can lay off workers quickly when business is bad. This ‘hire and fire’ policy is part of the American way of life, so if you are looking for a cozy work environment, the USA might not be the right place.

The main problem facing most people wishing to work in the US is not finding a job but obtaining a work visa. Historically, the USA has drawn much of its economic success from attracting some of the world’s most intelligent and educated people. In contrast with Europe, humanitarian reasons are secondary in the decision of whether you’re invited to the party or not. So, according to the American view, if you live in poverty in you own country you might as well stay there.

Getting a job as a foreigner

Currently a high unemployment rate and difficult economic conditions mean that it is not easy for a foreigner to get a job in America. According to recent reports by the Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (2004) the average length of unemployment is about 5 months.

Being a foreigner is potentially a disadvantage in some industries and with some employers. If you do not have a working knowledge of English, your employment possibilities are very limited. If you are looking for work in retail, restaurants, bars or teaching foreign languages, things can be a little bit easier. We don’t wish to discourage anybody from looking for work in the United States, but just don’t assume it is going to be easy.

The American way

If you do have the fortune to get in, be prepared to work hard for what you get. For an American company, you’re just another production factor which is rated by its rate of productivity. Corporate social responsibility is talked about a lot on economic forums and the like but the reality can be quite different.

Job security is now regarded as a thing of the past and most corporations regard their employees as disposable resources to be exploited and discarded at will (in return, many employees regard the companies they work for the same way). Unlike European companies, US companies aren’t liable for any redundancy payment and can lay off workers quickly when business is bad. This ‘hire and fire’ policy is part of the American way of life, so if you are looking for a cozy work environment, the USA might not be the right place.

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Other comments

  • Brian, 25 February 2012 Reply

    Gimme a break

    I think people who learn about the US, by watching the BBC or read the Guardian, shouldnt be giving advice to people about America.

    • Chrissie 16 Jun 2012, 11:41

      I agree...

      Don't expect to get a cushy job here if you don't want to work for it. That is just life. Work hard to succeed. We are not a third world country. Learn by failure. We all have failed at sometime in our life and that is how we learn to better ourselves for success.
      America is good and believe in God