Trends to look out for in 2014
Will 2014 be a good year for you?
As the UK finally drags itself out of recession, there’s certainly more to cheer about than this time last year – but with caveats. Most jobs are still in the south, and there’s still widespread underemployment.
Some good news
2013 was the year that we finally shamed unpaid internships. Tireless efforts by InternAware and Tanya de Grunwald on Graduate Fog to convince the media and the government that companies really should pay people who work for them seemed to pay off. We just now need a few more inspectors to uphold the law (yes – it most definitely is unlawful not to pay your workers) and bring errant companies to heel.
A surprising U-turn by the CBI has also recognised that companies aren’t paying their employees enough. Well, good morning CBI! In the article Pay workers more, CBI director-general will tell bosses “they must do more to help the army of 890,000 workers “stuck in minimum-wage jobs without routes to progression”.
Some bad news
If you’re lucky enough to work for one of the good companies that treat their employees well, you can skip over this part.
But others will know – unfortunately at first hand – that there are a lot of shonky employers out there. (And we’re not just talking small enterprises who don’t have an HR department to tell them “the rules”.) Employers who manage out their employees with mental health issues, who penalise their staff for being a minute late, who pay minimum wage or force their employees onto zero-hour contracts.
Yes, I get it that market conditions are tough. But low pay and marginalisation should not be the cornerstone of your hiring and staff retention policies either.
What we should be talking about
I predict greater media focus on the plight of graduates in the job market. Great that there are some well-paid schemes out there – terrible that too many grads end up in low-skilled and low-paid jobs.
We also need to talk more about mental illness. Ignorance is the biggest obstacle for people wanting to get back into work, and with 1 in 4 of us (figures from Mind, the mental health charity) experiencing mental illness, it’s
essential that we start to tackle stigma and discrimination. Just one of the many shocking statistics: a report by the Schizophrenia Commission found that only 8% of people with schizophrenia are in employment, yet many more could and would like to work.
Unfair working practices: zero-hour contracts and part-time roles with no pay rise or promotion prospects should also be hot-potato issues in the year ahead. It doesn’t make any economic sense to under-utilise employees’ skills and training.
“Social proof” has been a key trend over the last couple of years – and with the convergence of the digital and the offline, it’s not going to go away.
If you don’t already have a presence online, you’re going to need one. Expect employers to want to find out more about you pre-employment, so get active in places where it counts, such as with industry groups and on LinkedIn, Even though it has its critics, LinkedIn is a handy place to park your CV and build a profile if you aren’t inclined to do anything else.
As a by-product, expect to see more “reputation” type companies offering to clean up your image online for you.
Also expect to see more services that curate your online profile. The paper CV probably isn’t going to die a death yet, but it’s certainly useful to have a platform that allows you to pull together all your online profiles, adding in video too.
Recruitment companies are sharper and leaner, finding nimbler ways to attract you to their sites. Whether via social media or mobile, they’ll stay in business by making it easier for you to find and apply for jobs. As the economy picks up, they’ll be falling over themselves to find good candidates for new positions.
You can expect a lot more love from recruiters this year…
Not to be outdone, companies themselves will also be investing in better career portals (hat tip to Gary Franklin for this prediction!) Expect much more lavish and complete “work for us” pages, along with case-studies of happy and fulfilled employees, information on career routes and progression; and transparency in the hiring process. (OK, that last one might be optimism getting the better of me.)
Here’s hoping 2014 is your year!
Photo credit: valeriebb