Make the trends work for you this year, says Devashish Chakravarty
2015 had started off on a high with Indian industry displaying confidence in the economy and hiring strongly for growth. Then in the second half, India and the world reacted negatively to a massive Chinese stock market crash. Simultaneously, investments in start-ups dried up, making 2015 a mixed year for professionals. Since Indian economic fundamentals did not change substantially, there is enough excitement for your career in 2016. Here is how you can make the most of the ongoing career trends.
Gen Z is in:
Gen Z or post millennials-people born in the mid-90s onwards–are currently joining the workforce and in the next 10 years, will become the largest segment of employees in India. This generation has huge exposure to technology having grown up with the proliferation of Internet and smartphones. Chances are that your next fresher hire has spent more time on her computer and cell phone than in watching television. Prepare for a huge change in workplace environment. Online shopping, wearable tech, digital money, constant beeping mobiles and a pursuit of job satisfaction over salaries by co-workers may challenge and push your personal boundaries. Accept the cultural shift and learn to engage colleagues in work that excites them while expecting contributions to your team through their mastery over technology and change.
30s are back in fashion:
After a period of exuberance in job markets when demand outstripped supply of employees, there was a rush to hire freshers for increasingly senior roles. It seemed the market was celebrating youth over experience. However, as the demand-supply gap reduced, salaries rationalised and focus shifted to lateral hiring. So, if you are in your 30s and looking for a period of consistency in your career in order to start a family and pay off home loan EMIs, this is an excellent time to seek a great new role. Employers are looking for your combination of experience and professionalism along with the high energy level that you bring. The fact that you are seeking steady growth and are unlikely to change jobs every few months makes you especially attractive.
One year sw-ITCH:
Seeking a job for a lifetime went out of the window in the early 1990s and the average tenure at a current job reduced dramatically over the years. In the early 21st century, the average tenure was down to 5 years and a decade later, job switches every 2-3 years became the norm. Last year, the job market saw a small but quickly growing segment of professionals primarily in IT and sales who were looking out for new roles within a year. This trend will accelerate in 2016 as new companies proliferate and poach candidates from the competition. Meanwhile, employers should get used to hiring people who had shorter tenures in past roles. So if you find your current role is not matching your expectations and are confident of your abilities, go ahead and switch jobs in months without worrying about the impact on your resume.
Firms are increasingly flexible in how they engage with their workforce and that is good news in case you have unique needs, are looking for additional income or have personal commitments. More employers are getting comfortable with you working part-time or from home, as a temporary hire or intern and even on a short-term gig to fill urgent talent gaps. The fastest route into a new job in 2016 will be through references within the firm since it saves screening time. Even returning to your last employer is an option, since they see value in welcoming `boomerang’ employees. Once you join, you may find that scheduled performance reviews have been scrapped in favour on ongoing conversation regarding performance and delivery. So seek to continuously engage with your manager for faster growth. Of course, do not expect astronomical salary hikes until you join and prove yourself.
Automation, analytics and mobility:
With greater pressure to deliver results and growth without increasing costs, companies are automating routine activities and using analytics in decision-making. Unless you are in a high-skilled role, you will find lesser people on your team being asked to deliver the same or better results using technology. Get ready to embrace role mobility and regular change in work profiles as a whole bunch of old jobs, skills and even decision making techniques become redundant and make way for new roles that did not exist a few years or even a few months back. The alternative is to become and remain highly skilled in areas where entry barrier or effort is high.
Glamour no more:
In the last few years, entrepreneurship and start-ups ceased to be dirty words and became glamorous. 2015-2016 is the period when start-ups are shedding their glamour tag, exiting the ramp and becoming mainstream. Working at a start-up is passé and talking about your job does not generate much excitement amongst peers. In 2016, if you are considering working at a start-up or exiting start-ups to work in mainstream firms, your decision criteria should be the same. Choose from options based on your preference for the role, probable career path and your comfort with the risks that you are taking in return for the financial rewards.
Getting fired is a non-event:
Both large companies and start-ups made news headlines in 2015 when the former laid off employees in thousands to cut costs or the latter shut shop for lack of cash. Many others downsized quietly to increase efficiency and survive in hyper competitive markets. With so many people getting pink slips, getting fired is no more a dirty word. If you come into the firing line, invest your energies in reaching out to hundreds of companies that are hiring for attrition or growth.
Source: The Economic Times (Mumbai).
Date: 11th January, 2016.