The future of the job market: how it affects you

We highly recommend you read The forces of the job market to get acquainted with the driving forces: Ephemeralization, Democratization of and access to technology, A diversified workforce.

We already know that the “who does what and how” will change. But how will that affect us in particular? How will that affect our career patterns and choices? Let’s have a look at both micro-level (the individual), macro-level (the corporations) and meso-level (the job market).

Micro-level: The Individual
There’s one more layer to the job market: the individual with their own needs, desires, passions and required competencies of “self”, “digital” and “change”. Let’s explore “self” a bit further:

Some theory to start with: according to the Decision Dynamics Career Model™ there are 4 career patterns and two perspectives to consider: career concepts and career motives.

They are defined by a person’s view of a successful career as well as its direction of movement and duration of stay in one field.

  • Experts = Loyal Dogs: little movement and stay within their fields for life
  • Linear = Royal Lions: upward movement and indeterminate stay in one field
  • Spiral = Constant Chameleon: lateral related movements and 5-10 years in one field
  • Transitory = Wandering Butterflies: unrelated changes every 2-4 years

Given the new generation’s need for even more change, we’ve added one more category to the original theory and research:

Furthermore, the theory has two underlying assumptions:
#1: What we want to do (our heart) and what we actually do (our brain) is not necessarily the same due to external influences like family, society, corporate possibilities and the job market.

#2: Our hearts and minds change and evolve with time and experience.

Consequently the following scenario is possible:

Age 23 30 40 50
Heart Tireless Kangaroo Tireless Kangaroo Constant Chameleon Constant Chameleon
Mind Wandering Butterfly Royal Lion Royal Lion Constant Chameleon
Situation A graduate who can’t wait to start work and learn as many different things as possible. They don’t want to settle yet, but know from older friends that changing jobs too often looks bad on the CV. Still thirsty for more know-how, challenges and interested in meeting new people constantly. However, the corporate world has taught them that only moving up the corporate ladder pays off. Has learned to appreciate using know-how from one field in different ways. Due to having already three kids and wanting to maintain a certain lifestyle, they stick to the corporate ladder. Enjoys applying know-how to related fields. Enjoys the degree of predictability given family situation. Transitioned into interim work that allows for change and to satisfy intellectual challenges.

The bigger the dissonance between what the heart wants and what the mind does, the bigger the frustrations of professionals and managers.

Zooming out to the meso-level
As mentioned, the job market and corporations usually foster a hierarchical, linear or expert-like environment. Firms have to be aware of these patterns and implied needs to be able to satisfy them accordingly. Otherwise they’ll soon realize that a mismatch between what employees want and what the company has to offer increases the number of people who are leaving the firm. E.g. Millenials – often tireless kangaroos and wandering butterflies – consciously choose to be Digital Nomads in a dynamic, transitory start-up world over a false sense of security in corporations.

2015 vs. 2025+

The world as we know it does not exist anymore. Professionals and companies that do not realize this and can’t adapt to the new reality call it crisis. A permanent state of crisis. Yet others will simply observe that we’ve gone from “driving change”, to “managing change” to “navigating change”.

This is where we are now and where we are heading to:

2016 2025+
Macro-level
Economy & job market
Linear, expert Spiral, transitory
Meso-level
Corporate level
Linear, expert Cater to everybody’s needs
Micro-level
Professionals
Dissonance: heart vs. mind Acceptance of who we are

Irrespectively of who we are at our hearts and minds, we need to accept and respect that everyone carries around their “evolving little animals” – lions turning into butterflies, chameleons that grow fur – with their needs and desires. Only managers and companies who are able to fully embrace this will succeed.

Welcome to the future – what a zoo!

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