Glassdoor Report Details Job Trends to Watch in 2017
For several reasons, 2016 ended as a memorable year when it comes to job trends. Among the reasons: Some college students graduated to an unforgiving job market with low quality jobs and matching wages. But the need for STEM graduates led some experts to project that the U.S. will soon need foreign laborers to fill openings in those fields. Some Americans took a long hard look at entrepreneurship, and many degree holders learned that companies are now “upcredentialing” or increasing the educational requirements for certain jobs.
So, what’s in store for 2017? The Glassdoor Economic Research Report outlines several job trends to watch. Below are selected excerpts.
Job trends favoring the gig economy will reach limits
Not long ago, experts were debating whether the gig economy would signal the end of job security for college graduates. The flexibility of freelance, part-time, and contract work appealed to millennials, and employers like the option of hiring workers on demand.
However, Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor’s chief economist, tells GoodCall that he thinks growth will level off because gig jobs are not practical in most situations. “It only works well for relatively simple jobs that are easy to measure, don’t require deep institutional knowledge, and don’t rely on long-term relationships,” Chamberlain says.
He explains that this type of arrangement is not conducive to the labor market. “The fastest growing jobs today require human creativity, flexibility, judgment, and ‘soft skills’ that require personal relationships, such as health care professionals, data scientists, sales leaders, strategy consultants, and product managers.”
Chamberlain does not think those types of jobs will do well on a gig economy platform. “The gig economy will remain a significant part of ride sharing, room rentals, and perhaps package delivery, but most jobs will continue to be organized as traditional full-time work arrangements,” he says.
Automation will impact all jobs – not just drivers
While trucks and taxis have dominated most of the news regarding automated jobs, drivers are not the only workers susceptible to computerization. For example, there’s a 93.5% chance that the jobs of accountants and auditors will become automated. “The jobs that will be most affected by automation are repetitive, routine jobs and that don’t require much flexibility or much creative judgment, but white collar jobs are not immune to these trends,” Chamberlain warns. “Gone are the days of in-person travel agents, and similarly self-service insurance portals are changing the way insurance agents work.”
In addition, Chamberlain says that dashboard analytics, workplace productivity apps, and automated surveying tools are other examples of ways that automation is transforming the work environment. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that mass layoffs will be among the job trends. “Instead, we’re likely to see more workers teaming up with technology and making a conscious effort to get skills training, rather than simply being replaced by it,” Chamberlain says.
Employers will act against the gender pay gap
Pay transparency became more widespread in 2016, and Chamberlain believes that this will lead more companies to take a hard look at gender pay gaps and work to make changes.
Chuck Underwood, host of the PBS national-television series America’s Generations with Chuck Underwood and author of America’s Generations in the Workplace, Marketplace, and Living Room, believes the gender pay gap will be closed because of generational changes. “The boomers – the generation of women and men who launched the Women’s Movement a half-century ago are now the generation that dominates America’s executive suites and boardrooms,” Underwood says. “The final generation of leaders who denied women equal opportunity in the workplace – the Silent Generation – is now, essentially, fully retired, and the power of generational leadership is going to explain much more fully why the American workplace in 2017 marches faster and faster toward gender pay fairness.”
Employers will shift away from flashy benefits packages
Free lunches, gym memberships, and dog-friendly workplaces might have made employers sound cool. However, in the long run, Chamberlain doesn’t think these trendy benefits are as well-received as traditional offerings. “Our research shows that many of the more exotic perks today have a small effect on employee satisfaction compared to more traditional benefits like great health insurance, 401(k) matches, and generous paid time off.”
While it won’t happen overnight, Chamberlain believes that tech companies – the primary organizations with trendy offerings – are going to reassess the return on investment.