Trends in the Careers Landscape


yellow perilRecently I was invited to be a guest speaker on the topic of careers at a Polson & Co HR Discussion Group hosted by a wonderful HR Thought Leader Reg Polson.

The topic was on ‘Life Stages & Career Decisions’ which was terrific particularly given we had representatives from each of the life stages present to discuss the realities and challenges of working life in Australia.

Trends discussed include:

  • There is a lack of engagement and job satisfaction by Australian employees. Some research citing that 65% of employees are not satisfied in their jobs. This can be supported by the topics that Daniel Pinks book ‘drive’ details. While he states most people want autonomy, mastery and purpose in their work, many organisations are still working on ‘chain & command’ models from the industrial age.
  • Recent research shows that for an Australian professional to advance their career their best chance is to go to a new company. Unfortunately we are not a good country for promoting from within and developing our talent.
  • We hire people who have done the same job before with little room for growth and then wonder why with professionals you can expect a quarter to leave with the first 12 months. See Hiring Hell One in Four Quit Within a Year’This links with the lack of career support and not promoting talent from within.
  • An increase in people taking ‘career breaks’ which is expected to grow due to redundancy, caring for kids, elderly parents, burnout.
  • Growth in personal branding is expected to continue online and offline. This is based on the increasing number of career changes we can all expect to go through, combined with the increase in contracting and self employment and the need to re-invent and re-brand ourselves.
  • Careers are no longer linear. As Dr. Jim Bright explains in his ‘Chaos Theory of Careers’. Change is dynamic and continual. The theory is not saying we cannot control our careers and that everything is random. It more suggests adopting different strategies to managing our careers. The focus is around planning and looking for opportunities. Given things are forever changing and we now live in a world of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity), it is about identifying strategic opportunities. As such we need to be more nimble and opportunistic in how we manage our careers.
  • There is a growth in female professionals being desired by employers. There are still issues with female part time workers and the jobs available however for full time female working professionals – they are in demand. It is suggested women will continue to dominate in the workplace. See ‘It’s a Woman’s World’ article.
  • For younger people there is the growing opportunity to have a global career. Which brings with it a global mindset and being culturally aware. Added to this for younger workers, self awareness skills are becoming crucial for career success as is the ability to cope with ambiguity. For skills of the future visit the Future work skills report.

These are just a few of the trends we are seeing in the careers landscape. If you have any comments or any others to please share.

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