With 2020 coming up in a little over a month, the scramble to get one’s life together before the new decade is ON. Think back, how did you start out this decade? This year? This week?
Are you proud of what you’ve accomplished, or perhaps you’re starting with a clean slate? No matter where you’re at in life, 2020 is a great time to refresh and rebrand both the personal and professional person you want to be. They say hindsight is 2020 but get in front of the workplace trends before you get behind. Young professionals, this list is for YOU!
1. Millennials and Gen Z are here to stay.
By 2020, millennials will make up 50% of the workforce, and Gen Z will make up 36%. By some accounts, I’m the tail end of a millennial, others say I’m the first year of Gen Z. Either way, 2020 is our year young professionals!
2. Flexible Work Schedules
We’re already moving in the direction of being able to work from anywhere at any time with today’s technology, meaning that many companies will have to adjust to more flexible work schedules. Telecommuting is on the rise, and I thankfully work at a company that is a big champion of work remote and being flexible when life happens, and I imagine many organizations will follow suit in the coming year.
3. Employee Experience
Being at a tech company, this is something we practice and preach like no other, but it’s true for all industries. Employees, especially folks our age, want work to be a full 360 experience like anything else in life. When your company cares about you, you’re more likely to be loyal, productive, and effective in your work. Our generation expects that our work lives are more than just a 9-5 office job, we want it to be fully integrated into our own lives and be able to bring our full authentic selves to work.
4. Culture Club
Along with employee experience comes an effective company culture... which means working for a company that gives a sh*t. No one wants to promote a brand that isn’t giving back to some higher purpose. AND it’s been proven that companies who care about community initiatives and giving back are actually MORE Profitable. A CSR study by Verizon and Campbell Soup found that “over a 15-year period, companies with effective CSR programs have on average increased shareholder value by $1.28 billion.”
5. The Rise of Video Chat
With telecommuting gaining popularity, so will all the video tools and remote chat apps that come with that. Companies like Zoom and Slack are expected to increase heavily, as organizations realize the value of being able to hold a meeting from anywhere. That, in turn, means, I expect that there will be a decline in in-person meetings as well.
6. Focus on Work-Life Balance
Along with culture, flexible schedules, and our generation slowly taking over the workforce, that all means that we can expect companies to focus more on a quality work-life balance for employees. In fact, a report by Randstad, reports that job seekers of today claim good work-life balance invariably sway their decisions when evaluating an organization. After all, work shouldn’t be your whole life!
7. Sustainable Business Practices
Our generation cares about the planet and protecting it all costs from the damage of previous generations. The rise of sustainable business practices is the norm, and it’s becoming increasingly popular for businesses to practice things like recycling, building sustainable products, and finding ways to be greener within the office. HP recently did a study, finding 61% of people believe sustainability should be a required part of the business, and 58% of folks think that sustainable practices are key to engaging the future workforce, especially as more of Gen Z starts to enter it.
8. Commuter Can-Do
Even though flexibility and remote work are growing, there’s also a growth in the number of folks who have an extreme commute of 90 minutes or more. YIKES! I’m not sure I could ever do that, but hey if it’s the right job, you do you.
9. Get Creative—With Benefits
The competition is stiff, and not just for the job seekers, but the employers as well! Employers have to get creative when it comes to benefits, because for many of us, just a good salary doesn’t cut it! New types of benefits will continue to increase for 2020, and I imagine we’ll all see more organizations offer things like: Flex Fridays, paternity leave, tuition reimbursement, and even paw-ternity leave for new pets!
10. Soft Skills are Back in Fashion
You can teach anyone hard, tangible skills, but you often can’t teach someone people skills. As technology, AI, and machine learning increase, it will be even more important for skills like creativity, innovation, storytelling, and more to be sought out. Here are the main soft skills to master for 2020 from CNBC if you’re looking to brush up on a few.
11. Calling All Liberal Arts Majors
A ton of my research was showing the same thing, that Liberal Arts majors are back in demand! Along with the soft skills growing in popularity, so are these majors. Many of the students who graduate from these majors go on to be great leaders, business managers, and people persons that excel in the workforce.
12. Baby Boomers Back On?
According to HR Morning, 2020 will expect to see more baby boomers in the workforce! This is called the “gray wave,” where folks over the age of 65 are coming back to work! Since we’re now all living longer, it makes sense that many are returning to work to feel fulfilled. Though, I know plenty of recent retirees that have found many other ways to fill their days outside of a job!
13. Work Friends Matter
As I mentioned above, our generation cares about making our careers a full part of our lives. The culture, the impact, the mission is all very important to us. But so are the people! No one wants to work with someone that they can’t get along with or relate to. I expect that as we enter 2020, a focus on being friends (or at least friendly) with your coworkers will trend. If you spend so many hours together, you might as well like who you work with!
14. Networking Now
I’ve said it before in my professional development blogs, and I’ll say it again….at least 80% of jobs are found through networking, and that number will only continue to grow. If you haven’t started networking yet as a part of your job process, there’s no time like the present. Build out your LinkedIn, meet with peers for informational interviews, and check out my blog on this learn more.
15. Social Savvy
92% of companies are using social media to recruit according to Sprout Social. What does this mean for you? Again, brush up on your LinkedIn profile, do a social audit of your personal accounts, and stop wasting time cold applying to random job sites!
16. A Focus on Mental Health
When employees are happier, they’re more productive. Self-care, proper mental health, and focusing on employee well-being is important for organizations moving into 2020. I would imagine we’d see more organizations offering benefits like therapy, counseling sessions, or quiet zones to help keep their workers happy.
17. More Globalization
This is a trend we’ve been seeing for the past decade, but I think it will continue to increase. With today’s technology, we’re a globally connected world! That means offices and teams can be made up of anyone, anywhere, even if the time zones are different. My office practices this already pretty heavily, and it makes for a nice make up of thoughts, ideas, and experiences.
18. Trade Schools Over College?
While this may not be a business trend, there is an increase in the number of students choosing trade school over college. University is EXPENSIVE, and often unaffordable unless you want a lot of student debt, but trade schools offer a decent salary and easy entry to the workforce with less of the cost. I bet more and more students will choose trade school as 2020 settles in, and it makes sense as to why!
19. Hot Jobs
For 2020 jobs for Clean Energy Technicians, healthcare jobs, data analysts, and content specialists are increasing! These were listed as some of the most popular jobs of 2020 and beyond.
20. Data Reveals All
Last but not least, the final professional development trend I have for you is that there will be an increased focus on data in the workplace. We can tell and track so much now about our workplace habits, our productivity, revenue, success, etc., that it only makes sense for companies to take advantage of all the possible data they can collect. And with all that data, we will see even more new trends for 2021 I’m sure!