Navigating the career landscape in 2020 is a tricky affair.
Ten years ago – probably the last time you looked for a job on an open market – the system seemed to be more easy to navigate.
LinkedIn was already in existence, but no-one was using it.
Doctors, lawyers and executives were at the top of the food chain, salary-wise. 40-hour workweek was the assumed norm.
There were no “weird” job titles (what does a “Cloud Automation Evangelist do, again?). Cheap Asian labour (easy to comprehend) – not robots (less easy to comprehend) – was threatening our jobs.
Fast forward to today.
A freshly minted software engineering university graduate can earn more than the abovementioned doctor, lawyer or executive. The gig economy is attracting people from all walks of life – from pizza delivery drivers to global CFOs. Retirement is a much more fluid concept. People are questioning their reasons for working long hours – and yet we’re working longer hours than ever.
I wanted to make sense of the past decade in a way that will help you maximise career success during the next. Below is my analysis of 5 of the most important career trends that will affect job search efforts of Australians in 2020.
1. Top Salaries Are In Tech.
If it is money that you want (who doesn’t?), and you want it relatively early in your career, be a software engineer. And not just anywhere, but with one of US-based giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook or Twitter.
In case you’re wondering, here’s how the top 15-paying companies in the US stack up. Notice how the traditional darlings of healthy pay, McKinsey, didn’t even make it into the top 10, and are the only non-tech company in top 15 spots:
Google’s median salary of US$161,254 is exorbitant, even by overinflated Silicon Valley standards. So much so, that a lot of software engineers are now openly questioning whether working for early-stage startups makes career sense any more.
Why live on peanut butter sandwiches and face an uncertain future for years when you can earn almost as much as a doctor – a few years out of university?
2. We May Be Working Less … One Day.
The push for a shorter workweek is gathering momentum, with Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin putting forward the idea to give her citizens a choice of either 6-hour workdays or a 4-day workweek.
Marin also happens to be the youngest PM in the world, landing the top job last year last year at the age of 34:
Her idea is, of course, not new. France rolled back its standard workweek from 39 to 35 hours in 2000, and a few private companies have over the years introduced versions of this policy, with varying degrees of success.
It may be a while until we see this trend take hold in any meaningful way (if at all) in Australia.
3. Robots Are Not Replacing Us (Just Yet).
LinkedIn’s annual Emerging Jobs Report for Australia has identified fastest-growing jobs, as well as skills and cities most associated with them.
An emerging job, according to LinkedIn, is one that has either grown out of a more traditional job, or is a brand new job that never existed before.
Predictably, it is tech that’s driving demand for a plethora of new jobs, with Artificial Intelligence Specialist and Cybersecurity Specialist taking out the top two spots. Here’s the full list:
1. Artificial Intelligence Specialist
2. Cybersecurity Specialist
3. Marketing Automation Specialist
4. Robotics Engineer
5. Site Reliability Engineer
6. Customer Success Specialist
7. Data Scientist
8. Data Engineer
9. Growth Manager
10. Chief Strategy Officer
It’s interesting to observe that the list can be broken down into two major themes – robotics/coding and strategy/people skills.
This is consistent with the long-standing predictions that people in “everyday” jobs will be replaced by robots, and that plum gigs will be either in positions that robots can’t do well (creative, customer service), or in positions responsible for creating and maintaining robots.
As always, I urge you to remember that a well-written resume is one of your biggest allies during a job search. Improve yours, either by learning some resume writing tips, or hiring one of our resume writers, before you go to market.
4. Career Disruption Is Stressful.
The Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory is an interesting tool for gauging the levels of stress in your life – predicting how they may impact your health.
Unsurprisingly, career events have the biggest impact on our stress and happiness, after family and health events. Click the link to above to check how your current life events are affecting your stress levels.
5. Higher Pay Is The Biggest Motivator For Job Search.
If changing jobs is a stressful experience, it logically follows that you wouldn’t embark on it unless you had a strong reason. You wouldn’t do it unless your current job caused you more discomfort than the uncertainty associated with the job search itself.
So, what are some of the reasons that force Australians to look for a new job?
Well, before I give you the official statistics, let me share with you my personal opinion.
After all, I have a unique perspective on the issue. My team and I speak to about a dozen people on a daily basis, all of whom have one thing in common – they’re thinking about leaving their current employer.
In my experience, the three most common reasons for jumping ship are:
- Unfulfilled promises and micromanagement. This is especially common at SMBs where the owner is still at the helm. Departing employees often cite a desire for less red tape, more trust and a clearer path to promotion.
- Not enough challenge. Some businesses are perpetually stuck in “business as usual” mode, which is not comfortable for people who thrive on driving change and transformation. They cite boredom and not being heard (“my suggestions are falling on deaf ears”.)
- Desire to change industries. We live in an era of portfolio careers. People who are craving a major change may decide to take a sideways step into an entirely different industry. I’ve seen EAs become tech evangelists, Army supply chain professionals become business managers and ex-Big4 management consultants become startup BDMs.
Apart from my anecdotal experiences, you may be interested in some “official” statistics. Here’s a set of findings, according to research conducted by Decipher/FocusVision on behalf of Indeed:
Aight, that’s all I have for you today.
All the best in your career.