Today, as part of LinkedIn Top Voices, I have been asked to share what top trends of 2020 I will be watching. I am typically less focused on trends and more focused on cultural shifts, especially because these are much more long lasting and have an impact on how we work, advance, or acquire new positions.

So, here are the 5 cultural shifts in job search and career that I have been paying attention to and reading about lately:

1. The Use of AI in Search 

AI can be involved in everything from screening resumes to actually interviewing candidates. Recently, my clients have been sharing more often that they have had to participate in “interviews” that were actually video recordings of questions with no human involvement, that were then scored by an algorithm to determine the candidates for the next round.

My interest in this cultural shift has been around how I can help my clients and others that I educate about search learn how to successfully navigate it. In addition, I am interested in looking at the bias inherent in a lot these cost cutting methods that are concerning and may have a significant effect in reducing diverse pipelines and workforces. AI has been touted as a way to reduce bias, but when diversity isn’t considered in developing the algorithm and the team developing the algorithms are not diverse – bias happens. For example, last year, Amazon scrapped their AI recruiting tool when it showed bias against women. The system penalized resumes that included the word “women’s” and downgraded graduates of all-women colleges. I think it’s something that we all need to be learning about and evaluating carefully.

2. The Move Away from the Career Ladder and toward the Career Web

The career ladder is the idea that you have to hold particular titles to acquire the next role in your field. There are some people who are saying the career ladder is dead and I don’t agree with that. It’s just changing.

It seems far more important today to make sure that you are acquiring the right skills and experience so that you can have options to pursue a variety of paths. This can then sometimes mean that you take a lateral role, but one that has a greater scope, rather than always thinking upwards on the ladder.

Being a jack-of-all-trades, master of none is not the goal here. The goal is to be able to not just have a career path A, but also A1, A2, A3. It’s actually to be able to take your skills/experience and be able to utilize them to position yourself in a variety of roles, usually within a specific domain.

3. The Impact of Short Job Life Cycles on Organizations, Hiring, Advancement and Team Cohesion

A recent Gallup poll found that only 29% of millennials are engaged in their jobs, which is lower than of other generations in the workplace. It also found that 60% of those polled were open to a new job, which was 15% higher than any other generation polled. I have also seen in my practice – really short job lifespans and the impact that it is having on the stability of departments, productivity, and cohesion. I am reading a lot about organizations’ plans to retain, grow, and deal with the churn. This particular trend or cultural shift is really fascinating and seemingly impactful to the job market and organizations in general, especially since the statistics in this area suggest that is can take 50-60% of an employee’s annual salary to find a direct replacement according to the Society for Human Resource Management (some other estimates have suggested that it can cost between 90-200% of salary) – I am sure a great deal of this is dependent on role, specialization, and level. But the point is that it’s expensive and time consuming to fill a position (Glassdoor).

4. The creation of individual contributor career paths especially in tech organizations, instead of default management advancement

I have been seeing this a lot more and it’s been very exciting, mostly in tech organization, but perhaps, and hopefully, this idea can be modeled in other organizations, especially when someone has technical expertise. Creating career paths for individual contributors allows employees, who are Subject Matter Experts (SME), to advance and increase in responsibilities, title/status, pay and influence, as solely an individual contributor. There is then no expectation for them to eventually manage. Management is typically the only path for advancement, but some employees are not interested in management and/or feel like it’s not a skill set they have or want to develop. This type of career pathing allows individual contributors (ICs) to really specialize, focus and get stronger in their area of expertise, which they often are quite passionate about. I have too often seen clients, who are superb ICs, be promoted to management as a reward, but it becomes a punishment because it takes them away from the work that they love and moves them towards work that they often despise.

5.  The addition of new roles to the C-Suite 

In particular, there are new voices at the chief executive level that are getting a voice at the table, which to me signals new opportunities for advancement in certain areas that before were much more limited.

In data science, big data, and other data heavy organizations, Chief Data Officer, Chief Privacy Officer and Chief Experience Officer (CXO) roles have emerged – which clearly shows how integral managing the privacy of data has become an increasingly important focus, and also considers the voices of data orgs and the user experience at an organizationally strategic level.

Another shift has been the focus on the institutionalization of strategic level initiatives through roles like Chief Transformation Officer, Chief Sustainability Officer, Chief Culture Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, and Chief Growth Officer. These tend to be roles with cross-functional reach, aimed at promoting strategic initiatives across the organization.

There also has been a shift in human resources to think about the HR function in much more holistic ways and seeing more roles like Chief People Officer and Chief Learning Officer, which have responsibility for trends in HR data, culture and are responsible for legitimizing strategy and transformation, especially with regard to aspects like roles/responsibilities, titles, reorganizations, and learning & development plans.

As a part of LinkedIn Top Voices, I was asked to share my thoughts on the top trends in Job Search and Career for 2020. What are the trends that you will be paying attention to in the upcoming year? I’d love to add them to my list. #LinkedInTopVoices #BigIdeas2020 #Trends2020 #CareerAdviceThese are some of the trends and cultural shifts that I will be immersing myself in, and pondering the impact of during the coming year. I will be looking at how these shifts will need to alter the way that I think about and do my work.  I will also be considering ways in which I can contribute to eliminating, or reducing any of the negative impact of these trends through my consulting work.

Please share with me what trends in 2020 you will be keeping a watchful eye on – I want to know so I can add them to my list.

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