To work for yourself, or work for someone else, that is the question in today’s ever-changing workforce landscape. Of course, there are pros and cons to each. There are also different priorities depending on your age and stage in life.
As you consider your options, here are some interesting observations and workforce trends that will continue to influence where we work, how we learn, what we earn, and how we use technology in our careers:
1. Older Workers: The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that older workers will represent a higher percentage of the workforce yet continue to see a decline in growth over time. This is in part, due to less skilled younger workers.
2. Older Entrepreneurs: For older workers who are disenfranchised and burned out from having to work longer hours for fewer benefits while companies post record profits, starting their own business is becoming the choice. Those with pensions and other retirement assets are using these funds to launch new careers doing things that they’ve always wanted to do!
3. Trust: Security breaches, government shutdowns, cultural shifts, global unrest, and the unpredictable role that cryptocurrency (such as Bitcoin) will play combine to make trust a central workforce theme in 2018. Workers, employers, independent contractors, and customers alike, are showing a resurgence in valuing integrity and transparency of respective roles, responsibilities, and expectations.
4. Independent Contracting: Working on project-based for a client (IRS Form 1099), versus working on an ongoing basis as an employee (IRS Form W2), is here to stay. In fact, this is becoming so commonplace that WorkMarket has come up with a 1099 workers’ compensation policy that employers can now obtain to protect this class of worker if injured while under contract. This used to be the responsibility – and cost – for the independent contractor.
5. Employee vs. Contractor: Earlier predictions that 50% of America’s workforce will be made up of independent contractors by 2020 has been adjusted back to 35%. This is in part, due to slow-to-change workforce regulations that continue to challenge what defines an employee and what defines an independent contractor.
6. Interacting vs. Remote Working: Employers are returning to valuing worker interactions over remote-working practices thanks to studies that reveal the value of human interaction in relation to productivity and job satisfaction.
7. Learning In-Time and In-Context: Just-in-Time (JIT) learning combines with Content-in-Context (CIC) learning to overcome growing skills-gap challenges and excessive debt from traditional education approaches. The result: numerous self-directed, online courses offered through Coursera, Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, edX, and many others. Learning through these channels offers great opportunities for getting a gig, landing a new job, and advancing up the ladder in an existing employment situation.
8. Self-Employment and Technology: Mobile continues to dominate in terms of driving efficiency, productivity, and profits. This includes being able to manage almost all aspects of running a business from your mobile phone as well as increased acceptance among companies in having independent contractor’s BYOD (bring your own device) when working for them.
9. Automation Over Humans: Between 400 to 800 million jobs that exist today are projected to be replaced by workplace automation. This includes positions like mailroom clerks, administrative roles, customer service and construction equipment operators. While not totally automated, telemedicine is also becoming popular where patients consult with medical experts via video for diagnosis and treatment.
10. Diversity in the Spotlight: The MeToo movement, a Google engineer’s 10-page document against diversity, the relentless glass ceiling, pay inequality, and – once again – the skills gap combine to drive increased investment in improving the composition of our workforce.
In addition to assessing these external workforce trends when considering career goals, you also want to consider internal factors as well. This includes understanding what you’re passionate about, where your strengths are, and balancing income objectives with quality of life objectives. Employing a Success Coach can help, as well as self-directed learning tools like Get Optimized, which walks you through six steps for defining and pursuing the most optimum career path for you!