In this assignment, you will critically evaluate articles in the field of adult development. Each week, you will read two articles from the Annual Editions: Human Development textbook (see the weekly readings for the chosen articles). For each article, do the following:
- Write a summary.
- Describe the main points of the article and how it relates to the week’s course and text readings.
- Evaluate the article on the basis of your own thoughts and perspectives on the topic covered.
Article 26 Finding a Job in the 21st Century
JOHN A. CHALLENGER
Seek training, be flexible, and get hired in the fast-moving working world of the future.
The current recession, expected to be the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, will surely put to rest those old concerns about looming labor shortages, right? Probably not. In fact, immigration, globalization, outsourcing, and other trends affecting employment and the workplace will evolve over the next five, 10, and 20 years to change the workplace completely, and well-trained and flexible workers will be at a premium.
More than 5 million layoffs have been announced in the United States since the beginning of 2008. Economists are projecting that U.S. unemployment may top out at 10.5% or over 11% by the middle of 2010.
At Challenger, Gray & Christmas, we look at official unemployment, but we also track job-cut announcements. These provide an indication of where the job market is going in the short term.
We observed in April that the rate of layoffs, while still high, was slowing. The global economy was not entering a roaring recovery, but we were hearing faint signals that the worst of the worst was over. On the one hand, manufacturing jobs in the United States continued to vanish. On the other hand, the layoff rate in the financial sector seemed to have stabilized.
At our firm, we talk to human-resources people around the country on a casual, anecdotal basis; the people we’re speaking with are taking whatever measures they can to avoid making further layoffs. They don’t want to be short-staffed in the event of a turnaround. The current cycle will surely go down in history as the worst in most people’s memory. Fortunately, the future of work looks completely different.
Key Piece of Advice for Job Seekers
As unemployment continues to rise, more people are seeking help to improve their employability. My key piece of advice for job seekers is to get a fast start. Don’t let your résumé gather dust. If you’ve been laid off, use contacts as quickly as possible to uncover new positions and opportunities.
The second piece of advice I offer is to consider changing industries. Look outside your normal boundaries, but look within your job function. You’ll want to pursue jobs that correspond to your core competency and that let you do what you do best. Your skills are your best asset; they’re what you’re selling. Be ready to make the potential customer list for those skills as long as possible. What many people don’t realize is the variety of jobs in different fields that may be open in a single industry, requiring people with all sorts of talents and abilities.
Let me give an example: Health care is commonly touted as an industry forever in need of workers. Conversely, the personal computer (PC) market in the United States has been weak of late. Our firm counted layoffs in the computer industry up 75% in 2008 from the year before, and analysts expect PC sales to fall an additional 10% by the end of 2009.
For a qualified IT worker or computer programmer seeking employment, one strategy is to wait for the global PC market to recover. Another strategy is to sell your technical skills to a growing industry like health care.
Most of us assume that growth in health care translates into more competition among employers to find qualified nurses and doctors. Surely, the doctor and nurse shortage will continue and favor qualified candidates for those jobs in the future. But in the years ahead, as baby boomers and the United States spend more money on medical care, the industry will need more computer scientists and database technicians to streamline operations and create new systems.
The coming innovation leap that will sweep the health-care field will extend well beyond simply digitizing medical records. If the industry is to meet rising demands for service from an aging population and contain costs, it will become much more reliant on information technology. The industry will need to reach and train qualified workers wherever they may be through e-learning technologies. Health-care providers will want to automate the delivery of health care as much as possible; they’ll want to detect symptoms and diagnose patients remotely through advanced sensing technologies.