There are a wave of changes crashing onto the corporate shores that will significantly impact your career in 2019. Several main themes are emerging that have the magnitude to either help or hurt your career—depending on the nature of your job. These rapid changes will create a seismic divide between those who benefit and the many who won’t.
A trend that will intensifying in its ferocity is the movement of jobs to lower cost cities within the United States and to an array of foreign countries, in an effort to save corporations vast sums of money. Shifting corporate offices and personnel to these cheaper locations will save the companies on real estate, taxes and salaries. Executives will count on many employees opting not to move. These employees will be skewed older, have families and not inclined to pull their children out of school and away from their friends. A spouse may not have the ability to find a suitable job in the new place. When the experienced personnel refuse to move, they will be offered a package to leave or their lives will be made excruciatingly difficult to coerce them into searching for a new job. After the person is no longer with the firm, the level of the position will be downgraded and the person offered the position will be paid considerably less money, but given similar responsibilities to the senior person who left. For those who elect to remain, they will not complain or push too hard for salary increases, as they will fear being fired or forced to relocate.
Along with moving jobs, companies will implement—with rapid speed—new technology and artificial intelligence to further cut headcount and save money. AI is being pushed into every company and is viewed by management as a miracle cure to get things done efficiently without actual human beings. In reality, it is an excuse to downsize people and save money.
Age discrimination will become rampant. It is one of the few areas where prejudices are overlooked and condoned. It is not necessarily because companies don’t like older workers; it’s that they have more experience, so they earn more money compared to younger colleagues, their insurance costs are presumed higher and they’re not as easily manipulated as younger employees with mountains of debt to pay off. It will be convenient for management to target experienced and well-paid personnel with specious claims about their work product, in an effort to bully them into leaving.
Unemployment levels won’t remain at the historically low level where they are now. Unemployment will jump significantly higher. The tax cuts and other stimulants, which helped create a hiring boom, will wear off like a sugar high. Fear of trade wars, potentially high levels of tariffs, a volatile stock market that will transcend into a bear market leading to a recession will make companies layoff workers and pump the breaks on hiring. They will hope that technology and moving people to other countries will compensate for the fewer bodies.
The unrelenting push to put technology into the hiring process will make interviewing a cold and sterile experience. You’ll email a résumé and it will disappear into a black hole. You may get an email asking for an interview, but it will only be a phone interview with a junior staffer (instead of an in-person meeting with an experienced professional). This will happen to mid-and-senior level executives. Recent college graduates with two-to-five years of experience will have to endure interviews by phone conducted by a robot or sit in front of a video camera and answer questions by an avatar and not a real person. Any way the humanity can be taken out of the process and replaced with cold unfeeling software, it will happen. By 2020, there will be a backlash to get people involved back into the hiring process, rip out most of the technology and become more humane.
Although government statistics state there is full employment, wages won’t increase. They’ll remain stagnant because the government data is woefully inaccurate and won’t count the millions of people who gave up looking for a job. If you were on unemployment insurance, your collection period ended and you don’t find a new job, you’re not counted as “unemployed” in the official reports. Those who desperately take jobs beneath their skills and educational background will not push too much for money, as they fear losing their income. Threats of companies claiming that a job is no longer needed as an excuse to move it somewhere else will intimidate employees, so that they won’t ask for raises.
On the positive side, working from home will become widely acceptable as companies realize that they can save on expensive real estate and pay people far less money for the luxury of working from home. These “work from homers” will be closely monitored by technology to ensure that they are doing their jobs. Each task will be closely scrutinized and evaluated by Big Brother technology.
The workplace will become uncomfortable and normal interactions awkward due to worries about inadvertently saying anything politically incorrect or ending up being alleged to have made an inappropriate comment. Sadly, less men will hire or mentor woman, as they fear that they may potentially say the wrong thing and wind up losing their job. This is a terrible, awful and unintended consequence of the #Metoo movement.
Companies will aggressively push for hiring diversity candidates and quotas will be mandated.
Shareholders will push for more diversity candidates in the C-Suite and in the boardroom.
The beneficiaries of this new trend will be professionals with a proficiency—or anything related—to technology, younger workers in second-tier cities that benefit by having jobs available with top corporations that were previously unattainable and held by more senior people and those who would appreciate the work-life benefit associated with working from home. Those who are older and earn a higher salary, less inclined to move for their job and uncomfortable with change will not have a good year.
Subsequently, this will be an ideal market for people who thrive in an environment of change. The rapid developments will create new opportunities for those who are smart, ambitious, risk takers and have the foresight to benefit from chaos.