Working as an Employment Specialist for the Goodwill Workforce Center over the last five years I have seen many changes in the economy. I have seen the emergence of e-commerce sites, like E-bay and Amazon. At the same time, I have seen the fall of brick and mortar stores like Sears and Payless.
Over the years one thing has remained constant—the workforce needs to evolve to meet the needs of the ever-changing economy. As job seekers enter the new decade, they need to stay relevant, competitive and be life- long-learners.
Successful job seekers will need to be aware of growing trends in the workplace and prepare accordingly. Here are a few trends we will continue to see over the next few years.
- Wages will continue to increase: Minimum wage in Illinois is increasing and in cities like Chicago. According to the Chicago Tribune: Chicago’s minimum wage will rise to $15 by 2021 and apply to youth, people with disabilities and other groups that historically have been paid less. This will make for a more competitive environment among employers as they seek to attract and retain the best talent for their organizations.
- Automation will increase: If you have been to the check out lane lately you may have noticed there are many more self-check out lanes than ever before. Not only is retail transforming, but all industries are being forced to evolve because people are being replaced by automated systems that can save the companies money and time. Fred Townes, co-founder and COO of real estate tech company Placester said, “Automating these repetitive business processes frees up humans for tasks that are less mundane or more valuable than those that can be completed by machines and software.” Today’s workforce needs to be aware of these changes and prepare to be a multi-functional team player in these competitive markets.
- Smart phone use will increase: According to Pew Center for Research, 1 in 5 American adults are “smartphone-only” internet user – meaning they do not have home broadband service but own a smartphone. With so many people using smart phones, businesses are taking advantage of this landscape. With the rise of ride share companies like Uber and Lyft, there are other companies that will be using a similar technology-based business model. Some of these companies like Handy and Shiftgig are offering temporary work for industries like restaurants, cleaning companies, and roadside assistance. In addition to the increasing App. Based work solution companies, according to [Apperian] a mobil application management platform “45% of companies employing more than 10,000 people provide apps to at least half of their workforce”. This is done to increase productivity, maintain connectivity, and provide health and other solutions.
- Online application options will increase: Technology is already transforming the entire recruitment process. Everything’s becoming digitized, from résumés to interviews. The use of paper applications is almost non-existent, and the on-line application on a computer is being made easier through texting a message to a number, or by scanning a “QR Code”, a box shaped code appearing on everything from flyers to cereal boxes. As recruiters seek out new technology to find talent, job seekers need to be aware of the different digital platforms available to them like Websites, Apps, and Social media.
- The search for soft skills will increase: Digital skills are not the only thing recruiters will be looking for when they staff this decade’s diverse workforce. They will be looking for employees who possess great soft skills like: emotional intelligence, communication, relationship building, professional writing, persuasion and ethics. Amity Millhiser Vice Chair and Chief Clients Officer, PwC US said in a recent FORBES article: “Technology unlocks possibilities, but it’s our people who are at the heart of business.”
Places like the Goodwill Workforce Connection Centers are great places to get information and learn more about the changing employment landscape as there are dedicated specialist to answer your questions and provide guidance.