Emerging Trends in Career Management for the New Year

We asked the experts for their predictions about what career management and job search trends will impact employees in 2016 and 2017. Here’s what they told us…

Second of a two-part series. Read Part 1: Emerging Trends in Career Management for the New Year.

Job search and career management are two area characterized by continuous change, driven by technology, the global economy, and other key influences. If past is prologue, then you can bank on more significant changes in the year head.

Nine Expert Predictions for Emerging Job Search Trends

In the first part of this series, here’s what the experts predicted for emerging trends in job search:

1. It will be harder for job seekers to land interviews – Edythe Richards.

2. Candidate experience will significantly influence a job seeker’s choice of employer.

3. If you want to break through in your job search, learn to pick up the phone and use it – Peter Levitt.

4. There may be more job openings than most people think – Bob McIntosh CPRW, MBTI.

5. More technology will likely complicate the job search process and lengthen the search – Alfred Poor.

6. Referrals will continue to be a primary source of hiring talent – Martin Kral.

7. Emotional Intelligence will be more important than ever in getting hired – Stephen Moulton.

8. Job seekers who develop their likeability have a decided advantage over other equally qualified candidates – Mary F. Sweeney.

9. A better understanding of a job seeker’s individual value proposition will contribute significantly to their successful job search – Laura Poisson.

Ten Emerging Trends in Career Management

1. Personal health management will have an increasing career impact – Ellen Weaver Paquette, MA, CAGS, a National Career Development Association Fellow and Master Trainer. “A career management trend to watch is the increasing awareness of taking care of one’s health as individuals work more and more hours per week. Americans typically take far less actual vacation time than their counterparts around the world; indeed their connectedness to their work can sometimes encourage 7-day work weeks,” explains Paquette. “Working remotely and work-from-home sick days seem to be more accepted and are actually beneficial.” One outcome of this trend is for remote working skills to rise in importance as more workers seek a better work/life balance, and pursue more work-from-home opportunities.

2. Emotional Intelligence will rise in workplace importance – Edythe Richards, Career Counselor in the Washington DC Metro Area. “Emotional intelligence (sometimes called EI or EQ) is the awareness someone has of his or her emotions and how they affect others. EI can be developed through greater self-awareness of one’s own emotions.” Richards continues, “Long-term success for both employers and individuals will be correlated with high emotional Intelligence. Those organizations and people who take active steps to boost their EI will reap both intrinsic and extrinsic benefits.” {Editor’s note: a number of the contributors to this article identified different aspects and applications of emotional intelligence that are covered in later trends}.

3. New technology and career management tools are replacing human thinking, which is not a good thing – Steve Levy, Director of Global Sourcing for Indeed.com. “Too many people are becoming reliant on tools and technology to manage their careers instead of thinking things through, and then using those tools and technology to support their own decisions. Look at Facebook as an example – it’s almost impossible to build a chronological career timeline in Facebook because Facebook uses its own proprietary algorithm to place career progression in the order it thinks is best, says Levy. Facebook’s default settings make suggestions which are far too easy to click, accept. Levy adds, “The danger of technology and predictive tools like this is that it becomes too easy to stop thinking for ourselves. The fact is the very best career management tool you have is your brain. By thinking things through first, you can ask the right questions, and consequently be more intentional about the way you manage your own career.”

4. Employees will take greater control of their careers – Ellen Weaver Paquette, MA, CAGS, a National Career Development Association Fellow and Master Trainer. One of the outcomes of the Great Recession is that more and more employees are taking charge of their careers. Weaver observes, “I see a real acknowledgement that the employer and the job are transitory. As a result planning for the future is in the hands of each employee. Many employees may start looking for their next opportunity while settling into a new job, believing that job hopping is now accepted as a natural occurrence.” In other words, instead of going to work each day believing that the employer will continue employment for them, employees are pro-actively planning their future career path, which includes an employee-driven exit strategy. Paquette draws an important conclusion, “Consequently, employers who understand this trend may take pre-emptive measures to assure a positive, ongoing career-planning dialog with employees in order to reduce the chances of good employees leaving. That could change some traditional dynamics.”

5. Nanodegrees could assure ongoing career relevance. With human knowledge now doubling at a rate of once in less than a year, how will employees guarantee their knowledge and skills are relevant enough to keep them employed? One answer might be found in nanodegrees. According to a recent CNN report by Will Worley, nanodegrees are short “online learning courses aimed at providing up-to-the-minute qualifications in specialized tech subjects,” though any specialized skill or area of knowledge could be learned using this approach. Worley add, “Proponents say they are shorter (typically completed in six months), more focused and more practical than traditional degrees, and can be easily kept up to date in today’s fast-changing environment. The benefits, they say, are a cheap, world-class education that is easily accessible.” Because the cost is relatively low (perhaps $200 per month), employees could afford to use nanodegrees to distinguish themselves as more upwardly mobile than their counterparts. As Ben Franklin was fond of saying, “empty the coins in your purse to fill your brain, and your brain will fill your purse.” With more than 11,000 nanodegrees completed during the past year, this career management approach could come of age in 2016-2017.

6. One’s job security in the future will come down to how well someone demonstrates employability – Laura Poisson, President of Boston’s leadership coaching and development firm ClearRock, Inc. Once a given, job security has been eroding since the mid-1900s. For Millennials and Gen Z, job security is more a function of the individual than an expectation of employment. Hence the importance of one’s employability being one’s job security. “I believe these four factors combine to help someone maximize their employability: they are leveraging their top skills and strengths; they have invested in relationships with others; they have stayed abreast of changes in their industry; and they have a problem-solving orientation,” explains Poisson. Problem-solving orientation may well be the universal quality employers are seeking in new hires. “All employers are looking for people who are flexible and capable of solving problems regardless of the type of problem or their available resources. Everyone wants people who can navigate through to resolution. People who naturally seek to solve problems, especially where there are unknowns, possess high levels of employability.”

7. Millennials will struggle if they haven’t developed the Emotional intelligence they’ll need to communicate effectively in the workplace – Stephen Moulton, CEO of Action Insight, Inc. Many Millennials – certainly the most tech-savvy generation now in the workplace – may have inadequate EI to engage at the levels expected in most organizations. Moulton explains, “When you’ve grown up preferring to text the people sitting at your table, rather than engage in a face-to-face conversation, you lack the experience needed to collaborate, influence, and communicate effectively with the diversity of people in the workplace. Two EI competencies are self-assessment and self-awareness, and when these skills haven’t been developed, some Millennials won’t be deemed ready for the leadership opportunities when they arise.” Moulton goes on, “Research shows that both self-assessment and self-awareness link to strength in other EI competencies. Conversely, Millennials who have developed their emotional intelligence will have a significant advantage over those who have not, and should enjoy a more positive career trajectory.”

8. Desire to do well is not enough. Employees who couple desire with interpersonal adaptability will enjoy much greater workplace and life success – Mary F. Sweeney, Career Counselor for Boise State University. There was a time that desire alone could assure someone of favorable career progression. With the growth of workplace diversity over the past few decades comes an increasing need for more interpersonal adaptability than ever before. “No matter where you are or what you do, you need to start with a clear understanding of who you are,” explains Sweeney. “Not just who YOU think you are, but how others see you. It requires asking people to give you honest feedback about how they see you, and being open and receptive to the things you might not want to hear. It also means having the courage to adapt your approach to what works best with other people. Employees committed to improve their interpersonal effectiveness can really place their careers on a faster track.” Tools such MBTI and DiSC can help employees to better understand themselves and the people with whom they work, and have proven quite effective in creating a culture of interpersonal adaptability.

9. People must learn to take care of their whole person in the face of increasing workloads, a more complex global marketplace, and an avalanche of technological developments. They must hold onto their humanity if they and their organizations are to continue to thriveHerb Cohen, Glenside, PA-based (Philadelphia) Executive Coach and Psychotherapist. Cohen, who works with senior executives, is concerned about V and C-level leaders who focus more on their technical and functional competencies at the expense of developing interpersonal strength and relationship-building. “Some leaders have made their whole life about work at the expense of family, friends, health, and outside interests. I see men and women who are so identified with their career that they have become unable to relate effectively to the people with whom they work, their families, and their communities.” Cohen sees the toll that this takes on his clients and patients when their work/life balance is out of control. “The whole person is so important to the success of the organization, given the organization is comprised of the individuals who make up its workforce. Employers such as Google, who insist on more life in the work/life balance for their staff and management, enjoy low employee turnover, sustained creative development, and strong bottom lines.” Thus a continuing trend in career management for 2016-2017 will be a more holistic development of each person in the workplace, not just the technical and functional skills of doing business. Cohen suggests anyone interested in learning more about this topic visit intentionalworkplace.com.

10. Effective Career Management will require more three-dimensional matrix thinking and less two-dimensional, up-the-career-ladder thinking. It used to be that individuals who experienced career disruption – as the result of a layoff or leaving the workforce for a period of time – were the only ones whose career path resembled a matrix more than a ladder. It was reactive and not intentional. The norm was to climb the proverbial career ladder in an organization or field where each higher rung brought more responsibility and span of control. Shorter job tenure, global opportunity, and disruptive technologies have created the opportunity to strategically plan a career matrix as opposed to a career ladder. In the mid-2015 edition of the Job Search Readiness Assessment textbook I cited an article by Kelly Ford, who wrote about this concept in 2010. I believe it is now coming of age. My prediction is for a significant portion of the workforce being intentional (not reactive) about planning their own three-dimensional career matrix, full of ups, downs, and sideways movement, instead of climbing a traditional career ladder.

Join in the discussion! What are the career management trends you see emerging that should be added to the list?

For more articles like this one, please visit the Boyer Management Group blog. While you’re there, take a tour of our website to spot some emerging tools in job search and career management!

Boyer Management Group works with employers, organizations, and job seekers alike to help them become more successful. For job seekers, career coaches, and higher education, we offer tools, assessments, books, and curricula to help connect people with careers. For employers, we offer world-class talent development, leadership and management training, acquisition and onboarding tools and programs to help employees and volunteers achieve consistent, optimal performance. To find out more, please email us at info@boyermanagement.com, or call us at 215-942-0982.


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