If I graduated in last 2 years, my career strategy would be very different from what I followed in the previous decade. So much has changed (not just because of covid) that career planning needs to be rethought as well.
I am penning down some of the biggest trends I’m seeing on the horizon and the kind of changes we can expect to see in the short and long term. Let’s see if you agree with me.
Employers (esp in the West) are finally realizing that millennials don’t want to and don’t have to keep working 24×7. Internet has created opportunities that simply did not exist before. They can earn good money on the side while having fun. So, why would they dedicate their whole life to a mundane job? This means they have to offer better working conditions to attract and retain talent.
USA and a few countries in Europe are feeling the brunt of ‘The Great Resignation’ – a phenomenon where in record number of employees (4.4 million in Sep 2021 and 4.5 million in Nov 2021 in US alone) are voluntarily quitting their jobs. Quitting in November is a strong trend because people usually don’t quit before the holiday season.
A Microsoft survey showed 41% of employees are considering resigning from their jobs in 2021, compared to 15% rates pre-pandemic.
The real shocker, for me, was to see Goldman Sachs saying that it is ‘working to improve the work-life balance of junior-most employees, known as analysts, by reducing their hours and other measures’. For those of us who have seen Wall Street’s ruthless working culture from close quarters, we were smiling to see this first-of-its-sorts acknowledgment that employers are not able to simply buy people off anymore.
But let’s dig deeper into what is driving this Great Resignation phenomenon. I believe the top reasons are that employees are:
- experiencing post pandemic burn out
- used to WFH and don’t want to go back
- not considering job as their number one priority anymore
- saw side hustles succeed and now they can actually afford to leave (power of the creator economy, see point no. 5)
- not feeling valued at work and not willing to compromise on it
People are re-evaluating their options after Covid. It seems we are entering a new era of making different life choices. YOU, now, have a choice to pursue careers more to your interest and exploit your talents (even weird ones) – never before in history have we seen something like it.
Yes, we are still to witness this playing ou with same intensity in Asia. In fact, India has seen job market worsening since covid broke out.
However, the Technology sector (which was not affected by covid) is seeing increasing churn and even Indians are not considering salary as their primary motive in job seeking as discovered in this survey.
2/Quality of Education
India has an average PTR (pupils to teacher ratio) of 28 i.e. there is 1 teacher for 28 students (lower than China & Brazil). It indicates the burden on a single teacher of teaching multiple students as well as the lack of time that each student gets. Combined with the relative unattractive perks of teaching jobs, Indian education has always suffered from lack of teachers, more so, good teachers.
However, with a generous push from the pandemic, the way we consume education has already changed from fully offline to significantly online. Arguably, it is a welcome change. E-learning supports ~50% faster learning speed & 25-60% retention rate vs 8% in offline learning i.e. students can learn faster and retain more because of recordings and option to replay. Also, if students cannot understand a concept in college classroom, they have ton of online courses and videos to learn from.
This has leveled the quality of education accessibility for tier 2 & 3 locations. Further, poor quality of teachers is offset by the teaching talent online. Good for everybody.
3/Value of Degrees
Most Indian graduates are not qualified to work and yet subpar colleges have survived so far. Why? Because employers wanted a degree. Will we see a future that does not care as much for formal education? In the long term, yes.
The change would be catalyzed by job opportunities that do not require a degree. FYI, Google, Apple, EY, Tesla and a few other firms have started hiring people without 4 year undergrad degrees. Time will see only more companies adopting this trend and give impetus to self-learned talent. This will force Universities to figure out their shit as well – why should students take on hefty education loans to pay tuition fees if they can simply compete for jobs without their degrees.
It took a pandemic for universities to realize that admissions can continue even if the applicants did not have SAT/GRE/GMAT scores. But what does it mean for the candidates? With no exam scores to compensate for lower gpa, will applicants with not so good acads suffer in applications? It is possible. But, in the long run, as degrees matter less (point 3), the supply and demand of candidates in college admissions might just balance out.
5/Gig and Creator Economy
There are at least 59 m gig workers in USA as of 2021 – that’s 1/3rd of its workforce. Gig workers are people like freelancers who are hired for a special task and mostly work remotely. Gigs range from sophisticated work required by large enterprises to something as mundane as transcription or house cleaning. With companies like Urban Clap and Fiverr empowering the service professionals, more and more people are taking up gig working.
A parallel track is that of the creator and influencers who have sprouted like mushrooms on social media. I foresee a future where many students would not even sit for placement in colleges because they have already started their YouTube/IG channels and are making good money.
So, those are my broad comments on the year to come. We are truly living in an exciting time and I am forever bullish on the future. DO YOU AGREE WITH ME? Please share in your comments below, I am very curious to hear your thoughts!
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