We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the job market of the post-pandemic decade. When I have spoken about the topic with job seekers and other professionals, a frequent question is “what about next year?” A coach who works with senior leaders in Silicon Valley said “my clients are concerned with the next 10 months, not the next 10 years.”
Well, 2022 will be here in a few weeks from this writing, so it really is time to plan for the next 10 or 12 months. A few points stood out as I reviewed the data I’ve gathered over the last few months and scanned the Web for additional ideas. Specifically:
- Do not be misled by the “great resignation” headlines,
- New grads should avoid counting on classic entry-level jobs, and
- Revolutionary technologies may not offer opportunities yet.
The one thing we should all count on is change. We have learned in the last two years that the world can change in a flash. Unexpected events can and do happen, and we cannot simply assume that changes in the larger world will not affect us. So, how can we prepare for the 2022 job market?
Do not be misled by the “great resignation” headlines.
According to CGL Recruiting, the great resignation headlines do not mean workers are quitting their jobs in large numbers and leaving the workforce for the foreseeable future. Many are accepting other jobs with higher salaries or better work-life balance, or starting businesses when they leave their current jobs.
There are fields, such as healthcare, where employees are leaving in large numbers after two very difficult pandemic years. According to Ashley Stahl, in a Forbes article, healthcare workers are leaving their jobs because they are burned out or have become ill during the pandemic. This has exasperated a nursing shortage that has existed for many years.
My first pro-tip for the upcoming year is, to quote an entertainment industry expression, “don’t quit your day job.” Do not quit because “everyone is doing it.” Most are not quitting unless they have another job lined up. You lose market value when you do not have a job.
New grads should not count on traditional entry-level jobs.
A workforce development director pointed out to me that “middle-skill” jobs are disappearing. This, I found, refers to jobs such as cashiers, retail salespeople, data entry staff, bookkeeping and accounting clerks, administrative assistants, telemarketers, customer service representatives, bank tellers, and more, as discussed in a previous post on 20 jobs with the largest anticipated decline by 2030. Businesses can readily outsource many of these jobs to offshore providers at low cost, or have them performed by chat-bots robo-callers, self-service point-of-sale terminals, smartphone apps, and customer service web sites.
The first job for many of us was in an administrative, retail, or customer service function after high school or college. We probably know of people that chose to stay in these roles for many years so they could pay the bills.
The CEO at your current company may have started in the mailroom. Their first job has probably been automated.
Revolutionary technologies may not be providing jobs yet.
Earlier in 2021, I was drawn to the idea that unexpected new technologies will change the post-pandemic future, and the kinds of jobs that would be available. While breakthroughs in vaccines and anti-viral medicines have become reality, a new generation of supersonic airliners, passenger-carrying spacecraft, and other technologies that we have discussed in a previous post won’t be here in 2022. For example, the next generation of supersonic airliners are not expected to enter service until 2029, and passenger spaceflight is still in its earliest stages so you won’t find many jobs in these career fields unless you have specialized R&D skills.
Only Coronavirus vaccines and related anti-viral medications—technologies that had just come into use early in 2021–have become commonplace today. These revolutionary technologies came online rapidly because there was demand for them.
Job market problems create opportunities.
Labor shortages in the healthcare industry, and long development lead times in aerospace and commercial aviation create opportunities for those planning careers in these fields. For example, while the demand for administrative support in many industries may be crumbling, the demand for medical assistants that provide administrative support to doctors and nurses is increasing. Even better, those willing and able to pursue a master’s degree in nursing can earn a median salary of $112,000 as a nurse practitioners. NPs do work similar to doctors, such as write prescriptions, without the debt load related to medical school, according to Ashley Stahl’s article.
If you are a student now, and want to pursue a career in advanced aerospace technologies or services, the long lead-time for research and development is your friend. You will be able to spend four, six, or even eight years in school, and still get in on the ground floor of a new field. And if the technology that fascinates you now doesn’t pan out because it is not feasible or fails in the marketplace, you will have transferrable skills for a technology that does work out. Remember, though, that technical fields pay well because not everyone has the aptitude for them, so do your homework before investing your time and money in advanced training.
On the other hand, new grads and those who left jobs during the pandemic need jobs now. The bleak outlook for administrative and other middle-skill jobs is being tempered by the continuing demand tor essential service workers, so opportunities are out there. Always look for opportunities where others see issues. Then you will find your future.