During this time of crisis in the job market and growing unemployment, even work habits and job-hunting methods have changed. With layoffs looming over almost everyone, the most coveted jobs are those in the public sector.

The economic slowdown in the Israeli economy has forced thousands of new faces into the unemployment lines each month and has changed the nature of the job seeker. The most sought-after jobs these days are in government offices, local authorities or state-owned corporations, with even large financially strong private companies taking second place. Job seekers know that a job in the public sector or with a large private company will give them a measure of job security that might save them from the trauma of being laid off again.

Ayelet Varshviak, vice president of Hever Human Capital, a job placement company, notes several trends that have developed in the job market since the beginning of the high-tech crisis and the worsening of the unemployment situation. The most prominent trend is the tendency of workers not to migrate from one workplace to another, preferring to "stick to their seats" in their current jobs.

"With the burgeoning of the high-tech sector on the one hand," explains Varshviak, "and the weakening of collective work agreements on the other, over the past decade there was a tendency for workers not to stay at the same job for many years, but rather to switch to a new job that offered better wage conditions, a more professionally challenging position, or both."

Nowadays, even good workers with high-demand qualifications are not excited by the idea of switching jobs, even though this was quite common among young workers in general and high-tech workers in particular. Varshviak feels that one of the factors that encourages employees to stay put is the dearth of career supplements in the newspapers.

"The tendency to stay in one workplace," adds Varshviak, "now characterizes the whole gamut of professions, from workers in traditional professions to those in high-tech jobs, unless a worker received information or even has a feeling that the company currently employing him is encountering financial difficulties."

A second trend is a worker's investigation of his potential workplace. "Someone who is already leaving his job, whether as a preemptive move before being laid off or because he no longer believes in the company's ability to maintain economic stability, will prefer [to go to work for] a large and financially stable company," says Varshviak.

The third trend is in the increased demand for specific types of workers. Varshviak says that there has been no change in the high demand for sales and marketing personnel. "Despite the palpable drop in the activities of cellular and cable companies, because people are speaking less on cell phones and companies are providing fewer cell phones for their employees, the competition between the cellular service providers over a small share of the market is immense," she says. "This situation forces them to continue to recruit sales and marketing people."

Varshviak notes that there is an increased demand for door-to-door salespeople, adding that students and discharged soldiers, who up until a year ago were unwilling to accept that type of work, are now exhibiting more openness to it. Varshviak feels that sales and marketing departments will continue to absorb workers in the coming months, in both field and management positions.

Nor has there been a drop in demand for bookkeepers and financial managers, despite the economic slowdown. "Companies still have to publish their balance sheets every quarter," says Varshviak. "Companies always need good finance department employees." Even so, there has been a tendency to replace high-salaried financial executives. There are some employers who offer their financial managers two options - to leave or to stay on with a reduced salary.

The fourth trend in the job market, as Varshviak sees it, is increased discretion. More and more employers are being circumspect when seeking new employees, especially if the new worker is to replace an existing one with a high salary package. Such personnel switches are usually done discreetly in order to avoid lowering morale within an organization.

A fifth trend is the broadening of the duties that each employee performs. Varshviak says that many companies, particularly high-tech ones, are no longer willing to employ human resources personnel on a full-time basis, as had been the case during the high-tech boom. Human resources managers have been dismissed and their duties transferred to the chief operating officer, who then has two roles. In some instances, a company's administrative manager may be saddled with handling human resources, and in others, a bookkeeping clerk may be told to both keep the books and manage personnel, without, of course, any increase in salary.