Get out your crystal ball or your trusty compass! What job trends already here or coming down the road could affect your career success? And what should you do to move forward in the right direction? If you’re not sure, join the club. You have lots of company.
Unfortunately, almost nothing stands still and remains predictable over long periods of time. Job trends certainly don’t. Technology plays a big role, of course, but you might also find yourself facing changes in your career path that aren’t solely related to technology. Regardless, you can pretty much bet that if you aren’t already seeing changes in your situation, you probably will before all is said and done.
So how do you anticipate–prepare–cope?
I recently read an article from Pew Research titled “The State of American Jobs” that said major workplace changes are “prodding many workers to think about lifetime commitments to retraining and upgrading their skills.” In a way, that’s not a new thought. I and many of my professional colleagues who coach clients to take charge of their career management have been preaching this for years, and we’re not the only ones. Now, however, the advice has taken on even stronger weight.
The above-mentioned article references the fact that the number of people in fields requiring above-average education, training and experience increased 68% from 1980 to 2015 while those requiring below-average levels only increased 31%. You might have already realized that this was happening but not how much.
Anticipating change and the acceleration of it can be tricky at best. So how do you do it? For one thing, you might want to adopt an entrepreneurial outlook. Take nothing for granted. Step outside the tried-and-true to see your situation differently. Be ready to act–or sometimes react–quickly and flexibly. Assume that you’re going to need to keep learning for the rest of your working life.
The more you can stay informed about developments that might affect your long-term career success and possible future job searches, the better. However, it’s important to remember that just because information is “out there” doesn’t mean it’s accurate, trustworthy or really useful for your purposes.
Research available information sources and do your best to understand any biases they might have before you accept something they publish about job trends and related topics. They might deliver little true benefit or a lot–it depends. Here are a few of my favorite places to look to find out what’s going on:
You could treat keeping up with changing job trends as a full-time job, but it doesn’t have to be that extreme. Setting aside some time at least once a week wouldn’t be a bad idea, though, and should be manageable.
You might find that you need to continue to pursue the career direction you’ve already been moving or you could discover that progress demands taking a new direction. The job trend research you do as an ongoing activity will help you identify which type of situation you’re facing. It should also give at least an indication of actions you can execute to take advantage of a positive trend or to minimize the impact of one that looks negative in terms of your career success.