By Kristen Harris
Growth is one of our company values at Portfolio Creative – we are always learning, improving, and adapting. In the spirit of growth, I recently attended the American Staffing Association’s Staffing World Conference. It’s important for us to stay on top of employment and hiring trends so we can provide the best possible service to our clients and talent.
Here are the highlights of what we heard at this year’s conference.
Top Five Trends:
Gig Economy and Free Agency. Depending on which report you read, something like 30-40% of the workforce today is “independent” or part of the “gig economy.” While there is not a clear definition of these terms, we can all agree that the era of having a job at the same company for thirty years is long gone. Most people in the workforce today think like free agents, choosing their work opportunities based on what interests them and where they can best deploy their skills. Technology is enabling a sea change in how and where people work. More than ever people are able, interested, and willing to work independently. This may mean finding work through an app or platform, having multiple less-than-full-time jobs that feed different interests or taking on contract roles and projects that leverage their skills.
The Robots are Coming. There is some fear around robots “replacing” humans in jobs, but the reality is probably less dystopian. Yes, robots and artificial intelligence will become part of the workplace. Actually, it’s already here–you’ve probably used a self-checkout station at the grocery, ordered lunch at a kiosk, or know about driverless cars currently doing test runs. What they can’t and won’t replace are the types of work that require what truly makes us human. Work that is creative, innovative, emotional, or requires decision making and problem-solving. Some of us remember when graphic design required hand-drawing graphics and rubbing down perfectly space type; now we have computers to help us execute our creative ideas, but they can’t create the idea for us.
The Millennials Are Here. Honestly, I don’t like categorizing people solely by their birth year, and Millennials are pretty much tired of everyone talking about them like they are alien beings; but the reality is that the balance of our workforce has shifted. There are more Millennials entering the workforce and more Boomers retiring daily. The Millennials, being such a large generation, are literally changing the workforce and society. We are in one of those rare eras where older people are becoming more like younger people, instead of the other way around.
Google and Amazon – Part 1. We live in an Amazon and Google-driven world where there is quick access to products, services, and information 24/7. Quick access used to be novel and exciting; now it’s becoming the norm and soon will be an expectation. Amazon’s ability to provide near-immediate access to products and Google’s dominance in gathering and utilizing data will drive how business is done across most industries. To a large extent, life is happening on a smartphone. These two behemoths are re-shaping expectations of how services are delivered, how work gets done, how jobs are found, and how people are hired. Not to mention the impact they have on the communities where they are located (238 cities put in a proposal to woo Google’s HQ2 to their city), and it’s clear the impact Amazon’s facilities have had on hiring in Central Ohio.
Google and Amazon – Part 2. In this Amazon and Google-driven world everything (and to some extent, everyone) is being rated. How many stars do you have? How many reviews? How many Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections, or Instagram followers? When you’re doing a good job and creating quality, take the effort to get credit for it. People pay attention to both the quality and quantity of online ratings, crowdsource information and referrals, and judge others by their online presence. Creepy? Maybe. Unfair? Perhaps. But this is the world we live in, so learn how to participate in a way true to you and your values.
The biggest threat to any industry, business or career is inaction. If you are not creating, innovating, and developing new ideas, rest assured someone is. Don’t fear being disrupted, be part of the disruption.