CURRENT: 2021 Career Predictions And New Trends

Reposted from Forbes – Careers

Robin Ryan Contributor Careers

″2020″ and ″2021 Trends″ Written Red Wood Blocks Sitting on Wood Surface
“2020” turning into “2021” covering Careers and Employment Trends. GETTY

No one got career predictions right for 2020 since we didn’t foresee the pandemic happening. Everyone’s career has been impacted in some way since COVID-19 hit the globe. As we look ahead, we see with certainty some new trends and dramatic changes that will affect your career and any job search you might undertake. These predictions are broken down by topic. 

REMOTE WORK IS HERE TO STAY. Employers are making a paradigm shift, and so for many of you, this is excellent news and allows you to find more opportunities anywhere across the US. Millennials and GenZ seem to dislike working from home the most as they often find their social life tied to work. Returning to the office will be slow, and for many companies, not happen until after most Americans get vaccinated.

HATRED OF ZOOM WILL INCREASE. Too many people have grown to intensely dislike all the Zoom meetings and the inability to interact with customers, vendors, or co-workers in person. Once the workday is done, employees will stay off their computers. 

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LAYOFFS CONTINUE: Large amounts of job layoffs will continue throughout the year. Employers of all shapes and sizes will tighten their belts as they need to control costs, and many struggle to survive. Expect more retailers to fail. For lease signs will be in abundance in many parts of the US as retailers, small businesses, restaurants, and storefronts continue to close. Most of the jobs lost in 2020 from the hotel, aviation, airlines, cruise, oil & gas, colleges, restaurants, Gaming, Auto parts, Leisure, and entertainment industries will not return in 2021. McKinsey reported that many hard-hit sectors could not recover until 2025, particularly arts, entertainment, recreation, hotel, restaurants, educational services, transportation, manufacturing, and oil and gas.    

CHANGING CAREERS: Job losses will force many unemployed workers to change careers as their industry remains troubled and they can’t find any work in their old field. Adding new skills, getting a more in-demand skill certificate, learning a trade, going to graduate school, or finishing a college education will all be needed for people to transition into new, different careers and jobs. MORE FOR YOUThese Are The World’s Best Employers 2020How To Answer New, Hard Interview Questions Employers Now AskHow To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

COMPANY LOYALTY DECREASES. People are complaining that they are working in a vacuum and hate isolation. Others feel no connection or loyalty at all now that they work from home. Expect company loyalty to continue to decrease as people worry more about their own future. A direct result will be workers sprucing up their resumes and updating LinkedIn to land a new job someplace better. 

HIRING TRENDS: The number of new job openings slowed down in November according to the US Labor Department, and it will continue to be slower in December. You can count on many employers to begin hiring in early 2021 with two exceptions. First, employers in any locked down states will likely slow down or even stop hiring temporarily. Second, large employers with a hiring freeze may continue that for the first 6 months of 2021. Overall, expect the hiring process to be slow and take much longer than before.  

INTERVIEWS: This process will continue to take much longer than ever before. Expect to have 3-8 interviews before a job offer. Employers remain nervous when they do not meet you in person and make candidates go through several extra interviews and online assessments before deciding. Career experts say that job candidates have underestimated how hard it is now to excel in an online interview and secure a new job. Many are very surprised when rejected. These two Forbes articles on interviewing are most helpful:  Best Way To Open An Interview To Secure A Job Offer  plus How To Answer New, Hard Interview Questions Employers Now Ask

MORE WILL HIRE PROFESSIONAL RESUME WRITERS. The challenging job market will push more individuals to hire a professional resume writer to outline their skills, experience, and accomplishments to get through employers’ Applicant Tracking Systems. With more people jumping into this unregulated field, this Forbes article How to Hire a Resume Writer and Not Get Duped is insightful.  

SALARY NEGOTIATIONS: Good news! Employers are still paying top dollar when they decide to offer you the job. Be ready for salary questions and know the best strategies for negotiating salary and perks. Read this Forbes article: Think You Can’t Negotiate Salary Right Now? You’re Wrong

COVER LETTERS NEEDED: A well-written cover letter will once again become essential to distinguish yourself from the competition. Generic or standardized letters will likely draw easy rejections from employers. This Forbes article is helpful: Formula for Writing An Attention-Grabbing Cover Letter

JOB HUNTS WILL TAKE LONGER: The job hunt for 2021 will be much longer for everyone. Expect a search to take 6-12 months before you land a new job. 

BOOMERS WILL RETIRE SOONER: Many boomers are fed-up with working through the challenges of the pandemic. Some got pushed out into an earlier retirement. According to Pew Research, 28.6 million left in the third quarter of 2020. This trend will continue in 2021. Older workers will continue to be shoved out by employers. This trend will impact all job levels, including executives, middle-level workers, and lower-level employees as employers to cut costs. 

BURNOUT WILL INCREASE: Higher numbers of people will suffer from job-loss worries, work from home challenges, isolation, and feeling overworked, taking their toll on their mental health. Healthcare workers, executives, and small business owners will continue to be the top people to suffer from extreme burnout. (For tips for handling burnout, read Forbes article How To Deal With Covid-19 Burnout at Work 

 2021 GRADS: Unemployment amongst new college grads will remain high with many 2020 grads entering 2021 still unemployed. The 2021 graduating college seniors will need work experience gained through internships to be able to compete for jobs. Grads will have to be more openminded when evaluating some of the the jobs available as they likely do not need a college degree to perform it. High paying jobs will become fewer and far between with many positions starting at the $40,000/year range. Many grads will become easily discouraged by the poor job market. Some will give up looking and decide to attend graduate school or take a gap year. To be successful and get a career launched, grads will need to rely heavily on networking.

The coronavirus pandemic has upended so many areas of our lives. Some of us have lost loved ones to this terrible virus. Some of us have lost work due to its devastating economic effects. All of us have lost the dependability of our routines. The one consistent theme of these past nine months has been uncertainty, which will likely remain true until at least the end of the year as the virus makes a comeback.

The uncertainty may seem overwhelming at times — especially for those of you who are job seeking. While there is no quick fix for that feeling, it can help to educate yourself about the job market and focus on what is within your control. We’re going to discuss some of those topics in this edition — as the New Year looms in the not so distant future.

What will hiring look like?

The latest LinkedIn data, which was published at the end of October, showed some worrying signs about the labor market’s recovery as a second wave of the coronavirus popped up around the world. 

Yet, people remain optimistic that the labor market won’t return to the depths it hit during the early days of the pandemic — even as unemployment rates remain at nearly 7% in the U.S. and about 9% in Canada.

About 63% of recruiters and hiring managers responding to a LinkedIn News poll appeared confident that hiring would improve or remain at current levels over the next couple of months. Another 23% said hiring would fall and 13% said they were unsure what would happen.

“I do think that moving into the end of the year, there will be some slowing down in the hiring process,” said Lezlie Garr, who is a certified resume writer and career change coach.

“As for what to expect and what to prepare, I think the most successful job seekers will be patient and persistent,” she told me.

Focus on what you can control

Many of the most notable parts of a job search are beyond our control, including whether someone responds to your messages or if you get an interview. Responses and job interviews may become even less frequent toward the end of the year as people take days off and celebrate holidays. You should focus on the factors that you can control.

“Give yourself some control,” said Garr. “Or at least a sense of control and organization. Focus on a mindset switch and learn to set expectations that are realistic.”

For example, set a goal that you’ll spend a certain amount of time taking online classes during the week. Or, set a goal that you’ll reach out to one person at one of your target companies each day of the week. Both of those objectives are firmly within your control. While it’s not in your control how many people respond, reaching out is all up to you.

Focus on growing professional relationships

As we’ve talked about many times before, networking is really the cornerstone of successful job seeking. Healthy and robust professional networks can shorten job searches and increase the odds of people landing jobs that will help them thrive.

Garr told me that the end of the year is a great time to focus on building key relationships within your professional network. “Try to develop relationships to the point that someone can be a champion for you.”

One suggestion she had to make sure professional relationships take off is to focus on humility. Garr said to be appreciative that people are willing to connect and communicate with you. You can show this by being generous and offering up a helpful idea or flattery — without asking for anything in return.

Focusing on building these healthy professional relationships with people at your target companies as the end of the year approaches can keep you top of mind for opportunities once 2021 is underway.

Focus on passive networking

Networking takes many shapes and forms. Garr suggests job seekers spend some of their time at the end of the year curating their social media feeds. “You can be mindful of who you follow so that every time you log into it it’s helpful for you, your career and professional life.”

Job seekers could follow job search and career experts, for example. Also, they can follow their target companies and people who work for those employers. 

She recommended seeking out professionally relevant social media groups, too. Garr is a member of groups for career coaches and entrepreneurs, for example.

“Especially with the job search stuff, it’s not as intuitive as it used to be,” she said. “So, why not surround yourself — at least virtually — with people who can help.”

Take time to fight off job search fatigue

The end of the year usually provides people some time to relax. Job seekers often feel guilt about taking a break from their search for work, though. They end up working themselves too hard, becoming tired, decreasing the quality of their work and possibly prolonging their job searches. Garr said it’s important to know when it’s time for a break.

“I think one thing is to be aware that job search fatigue is a real thing and it’s OK to step away and take breaks,” she said.

The end of the year can give you the time to take breaks, do other things and get away from your computer, she said. The time away can fight off that fatigue and help people recharge their proverbial batteries.