Is the Jobs Drought Over?

Last Updated May 10, 2011 1:02 PM EDT

It's been a harrowing few years for job seekers, but is the bad run finally over? It depends on your age, gender and your approach to job hunting.

A new CareerBuilder survey finds that three in five workers laid off in the last year found new jobs--most of them full time positions, too.

But, more than half--60%--of these workers also changed careers or fields, versus 48% who did so when the survey was conducted in 2010. And one out of three workers who found these new jobs also relocated, moving out of their city or even state. And for women and people over 55, the prospects were kind of dismal.

CareerBuilder, a careers site, had a predictably positive spin on the survey.

"While the job market remains highly competitive, opportunities are opening up across all industries and job levels," said Brent Rasmussen, President of CareerBuilder North America, in a press release. "Over the last few years, we've seen workers, out of necessity, cast a wider net and discover new career paths they may never have considered pre-recession. New talent is flowing in and out of industries as workers apply their skills sets to new occupations."

The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, was of 920 full-time US workers who were laid off in the past 12 months.

The other findings also fell into the same glass half-full, half-empty category.

Fewer pay cuts required. Although people are changing fields, 57% didn't take a pay cut in their new job and 23% actually saw a bump up in pay. In the 2010 survey, 54% took a pay cut and only 18% saw an increase in pay in their new jobs.

The "mancession" is over, but women find fewer opportunities. Sixty three percent of men who were laid off from full-time jobs in the last year found new positions, compared to 50 percent of women. Other research has found that women were less likely to get jobs during the economic recovery; many theories have been offered, including the fact that stimulus funding was directed mostly at creating infrastructure jobs, which are traditionally held by men.

Older workers still out of luck. Workers age 55 or older were least likely to get rehired (36%). The group most likely to get hired: 25-34 year olds. More than three out of four of them got jobs.

Job hunters: what have your experiences been? Are you finding that the employment picture is improving for you?

Pamela Kruger is a BNET senior editor. Follow her on Twitter.

image courtesy of flickr user, Argonne National Laboratory