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Created on 18 January 2012

 

 

Nowadays, everything has an immediate impact far beyond the country it started in: social and political changes, economic upsets, environmental challenges, technological innovations and scientific findings included. The job market develops in step with all these changes, always following the new needs.

 

This article offers a brief summary of predictions by the most reputable sources, as well as our tips on how to use the trends for your own benefit, be it in employment, entrepreneurship, leadership or searching for a job.

 

 

1.      The job market changes often - and very fast.

 

Because of continuous changes in society, the same jobs are unlikely to remain for decades. You might need to develop some new professional expertise every few years.

 

The other side of the same coin is that new opportunities arise every day, too.

 

  • Count on continual learning: and find the style of learning that works best for you, in order to use your precious time and money most effectively.

 

  • Develop those skills that you can transfer between industries and jobs, such as communication, problem-solving skills and an ability to develop an empathetic relationship between the service provider and customers. Emphasise them in your professional profiles and CVs.

 

  • Consider fields related to predictable changes. When choosing your training courses and work specialisation, think of services and products that will be needed increasingly. For instance, predictable changes in Europe include: ageing, family fragmentation, higher participation rate of women, increasing income inequality and changes in lifestyle. Therefore services for elderly people and small children are likely to be needed in the future, even more than now.

 

  • Refresh your sense of new opportunities, find the excitement in sensing new options and trying new things. When you hear some news regarding the world of work, follow up by asking yourself a question: what is the opportunity in this for me?

 


2.      Security level of work contracts is decreasing.

 

Employers are aware that the same jobs might not be needed for long, and thus they are reluctant to offer long-term and secure contracts.

 

As security of your working life and income is not included in contracts anymore, you need to find the security elsewhere: try to become the person that people are happy to give work to.

 

  • Become excellent at something useful: consider fully at which essential service or product you could excel.

 

  • Let others know that you exist and are good: learn how to present your knowledge, skills and experience. Are you good at something that is needed? Well done. But what also matters is whether or not you can convince others about it.

 

  • Make it clear that you are interested in getting work (contracts, job): it seems obvious to you, but do other people know about it?

 


3.      Fewer job ads are published.

 

Do not automatically assume that a lower number of job ads means there is less work in the job market. The number of job openings is not equal to the amount of work that is needed. People buy less of some services and products when their budget decreases, but often start using other ones instead.

 

What is actually happening is that less work is offered in the form of full-time jobs (see the point 4.) and even less work is published through ads. Employers increasingly use other ways of filling positions than seeking candidates in crowds, through ads.

 

  • Make your professional competences visible on the internet: employers and HR professionals check up on potential candidates. Make sure that the positive picture from your online professional profiles doesn’t get disturbed by unsuitable information uploaded through your private networks.

 

  • Build contacts in your professional field and in the local community (or other community of your interest). The more people know about your strengths, the better the chance that you will receive the information when a job opportunity arises.

 

 

4.      Fewer full-ltime jobs are offered.

 

Organizations and companies increasingly prefer part-time, contract and temporary workers.

 

  • Consider options other than full-time employment: such as a combination of part-time jobs (in the same or different fields), self-employment or a combination of the two (part-time employment + freelance).

 

  • Use it as a strategy to improve your working conditions. Combining two or more smaller jobs can give you a chance to create flexible working hours, work partially or fully from home, or work simultaneously on similar tasks for two different contractors, which can be time and payment effective (but watch out for confidence and exclusivity issues).

 

  • Grab the chance to work in more than one field of interest. Have you been spending your days in an office while your hobby is organizing music festivals? Why not work four days a week in the office and one day on the festival team, now that your office-job contract is to be lowered by 20%? Think of your own examples and passions and keep in mind, that most work opportunities are not published (see the previous point), so you need to find out about them actively.

 


5.      For employers, selecting and motivating the best candidates has become more difficult.

 

The fewer job openings, the more applicants there are. That makes it extremely difficult for employers to spot the best, most motivated and most talented applicants.

 

An even bigger challenge is to keep the best employees motivated in the same workplace, particularly now, at a time when changing jobs has become the norm.

 

The following tips are particularly devoted to those of you who are in role of employers or contractors:

 

  • Engage your employees in decisions and strategic planning.  People want to have more control over own working lives, it increases their motivation and creativity.

 

  • Offer the benefits that are the most appreciated, such as flexible working hours, partial home-office and the possibility to bring pets into the workplace.

 

  • Keep developing the social and environmental purpose of your organization. People all over the world want work not just to provide them with money for living, but also to do something personally satisfying and meaningful.

 

 

6.      An increasing number of people have been working from home or remote offices.

 

Working from home is a popular working benefit among employees, as well as an option for many self-employed individuals to lower their costs. The ecological advantages of the setting suggest that the trend will keep on increasing.

 

  • Convince your employer to let you work partially from home, if that is your preference. Besides the financial and ecological aspects, name advantages such as quiet conditions for higher concentration, the possibility to combine your family and work duties, etc.

 

  • Find other professionals from your field working in a similar setting. Especially if you are self-employed, you might appreciate having contacts to consult about your ideas and issues. Get additional professional stimulus from conferences, meetings and networking events.

 

  • Find local people working from home or remote offices close to yours. That helps prevent social isolation (you can go for lunch together) and offers new logistics solutions (such as office-sharing).

 

  • Maintain your private relationships, so that you do not end up in social isolation. Devote the time you have saved on daily travelling to your family, friends and hobbies.

 

 

7.      Services are outsourced globally, and so, increasingly, are high-skilled jobs.

 

Labour-market polarisation is increasing in majority of developed economies: demand grows mainly for either elementary or highly qualified jobs, which are often those that can be outsourced or moved elsewhere.

 

Yes, that means that thanks to globalisation and technical innovation, an employer in your area might outsource work to another continent instead of giving the job to you. But that also means that while in the past you would have had a limited choice of employers, contractors and customers from a smaller or bigger area around your residence, nowadays you can become a specialist and offer some (or all) of your services, irrespective of distance, to “anybody” in the world.

 

  • Develop your portfolio of services, products and competences that can be done from a distance, and offer it over a wider geographical scope. This advice applies also to individuals.

 

  • Consider new ways of giving personal aid to poorer countries: buy services or work from people in poorer countries without abusing them. Giving people (even small) work tasks and payment is more useful than sending them charity cash. Get inspiration here.

 

 

8.      Colleagues from the same workplace are not necessarily our main work contacts.


Think of people that you would consult about working issues, dilemmas and ideas when needed. There is a chance that fewer of these people are your colleagues from the organization than would have been the case a few years ago.

 

The Internet and social networks have made it very easy to maintain regular and instant contact not only with people from our offices, but also individuals such as ex-colleagues, project partners, and contacts from conferences, as well as friends and their contacts.

 

Another reason for this trend is that the role of employers, as well as the relationship between employers and employees, has changed qualitatively. People are aware that their employers and contractors may change after a while, and thus they identify with employers less than in the past.

 

  • Know the pool of people from your field that you trust the most and can imagine cooperating with. Devote your time to maintaining the few most valuable contacts.

 

  • Keep information and contact details on all the professionals you have met and considered excellent, even if they do not seem so relevant for your current working field. You obviously cannot maintain all your contacts with the same intensity, but still try to keep a database of contacts with professionals that have truly impressed you along your study and career pathways. Given the current speed of changes in working life, you really cannot know when you might want to contact them again.

 

 

9.      Ideas and information circulate with incredible speed.

 

The amount of information shared via social media is huge – and currently still growing. This and other forms of using the Internet, as well as people´s migration, have made the exchange of ideas and information truly international.

 

This gives completely new work opportunities, and at the same time offers a means to learn about them.

 

  • Play a research game and improve your working life. Write down a list of all the information that would help you to enhance your working life, and try to search for the information. Include reading between the lines published via social networks.

 

  • Ask your questions actively. Your contacts (and their contacts) might have answers to many of your questions regarding how to enter or progress in the professional field of your interest. Ask them for advice, e.g. what is a typical pathway towards the type of job you would like to do? You might be positively surprised how ready they are to share their know-how and advice with you.

 

  • Use your contacts for feedback. Already when considering new business ideas or professional projects, social media provide a platform for fast and cost-effective marketing research.

 

  • Keep borders. Avoid aggressive spamming behaviour towards your online friends and contacts. Be honest when asking them for advice so that they don’t feel abused.

 

 

10.   The internet has been shifting power to individuals.

 

Thanks to the Internet, our dependence on employers when it comes to job opportunities, good working conditions and further career development has decreased.

 

This freedom gives us choices, as well as responsibilities. It is no longer for employers to ensure that our working lives are meaningful and to meet our needs. It is up to us, more than ever before.

 

  • Think entrepreneurial, no matter whether you want to run your own business or be employed. Ask yourself, how you could best invest your current time, money, competences and other resources to make this (or the next) job a part of a meaningful working life.

 

  • Be aware of your choices and decisions. There is usually a reason why you are in a particular work setting, even when you would actually prefer a different job. Maybe you have decided not to change jobs now, because of financial or family responsibilities that require stability. Perhaps you are without a job for a while, because you preferred staying in your house or town, rather than moving elsewhere with more job opportunities. Or you have a demanding, responsible job that is exhausting, but you know it will help you get a better one afterwards. The important thing to keep in mind is that you always have a choice. Awareness that, for whatever reason, this is your current preference, will give your decisions a meaning.

   If you are not aware of a good reason, go for a change.

 

 

Summary:

 

It is time to stop aiming only at long-term stable jobs, and head for effective symbiosis with continual changes. Do not rely on governments and employers, take control - and act as the manager - of your own working life to make it satisfying and meaningful.

Treating changes as new opportunities, rather than threats, is, in any case, the highest security you can ever achieve.

 

 

View the list of sources.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 16:39

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