Top Trends in the 2020 Job Market to Determine Who Sinks and Who Swims

With an ever-changing job market, one year makes a huge difference in the market. Most trends ushered in by the New Year are related to technology. Knowing and following these can help you with both your personal and professional development while providing a greater level of job security.

A Fundamental Change in Performance Reviews

Every employee dreads "that time of year" when they meet with their manager and discuss their strengths and weaknesses. Historically, this single meeting has been a significant factor in whether an employee gets an increase that year. However, Kazoo HR, a research company interested in Human Resources issues, has an interesting prediction.

Many companies reported that they plan on revamping this process to be more continuous. That means there will be more frequent performance reviews at regular intervals. This should benefit the company, since employees will know what is expected of them. Employees should also benefit due to more frequent opportunities to demonstrate their accomplishments.

Tech Upgrades and Remote Work

Remote work is not a new phenomenon, but it is a consistently growing one. According to a report by FlexJobs, in the time period between 2014 and 2019, the US saw a 44% increase in remote jobs. As long as employee performance can be monitored, this cut in overhead costs is an advantage for companies. Employees usually enjoy the autonomy and lack of a commute.

Along with this comes the inevitable technology wave, even in industries that are not directly involved with technology. With advances in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, you should expect more and more processes to become automated. It's in your best interest to ensure basic knowledge of operating systems and software your employer announces will be implemented. It could save your job!

Improvements in Work-Life Balance Across the Board

After years of corporate resistance, companies seem to finally be acquiescing to the idea that workers require time off and want to do work that they feel makes a difference. This can largely be attributed to the influx of millennials into higher-level positions in the workforce.

You should expect to see more vacation time. Additionally, many companies are planning or implementing measures to help certain causes. After a series of LinkedIn surveys showed that the majority of people entering the workforce are likely to turn down a job if they feel the corporation doesn't share some of their values, this shift has been rapid.

Whether it's about green energy, social causes, or even just more community involvement, you should expect your company to pick a main cause and run with it. Part of your job responsibilities may become working at charity events to reflect the company's image.

Shared Interest in Your Skill Development

With the technology changes discussed above, companies are finding that some employees don't naturally grasp fundamentals. In order for them to remain competitive in today's market, almost every company will need its employees to learn continuously.

This is a shift from the previous trend, where career development was largely seen as solely the employee's responsibility. Companies would often pay for training materials, but actually learning the content was up to the employee. Expect more in-person, intensive group courses.

Rapid Classification Shifting

This one has no discernible advantages to workers. In the wake of the California labor law change that barred many companies from classifying what should be employees as independent contractors, many companies are realizing that's an option in the other 49 states.

Since there's a strong likelihood that more states will pass similar laws, companies will likely preemptively reclassify selected groups of employees from W-2 workers to 1099-MISC "independent contractors." Though the structure will remain the same, you will likely retain your same compensation level, and expectations will stay the same, one very important item will not: your tax bill.

As an independent contractor, you're "self-employed," and you must pay the flat-rate Social Security contribution and Medicaid tax. This will take about 10% more of your income, and income tax deductions typically don't touch FICA taxes.

Reflecting on the Rapidly Accelerating Job Market

Remember that many of these trends may not apply to you. These are simply predictions based on advances in technology and research. If you feel your job demands too much from you or abuses your paycheck, it could be time to seek out a more ethical employer.

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