Staying Ahead of the Curve: 5 Trends in Business and Careers

According to a leading expert in workforce development, five important trends are reshaping the business landscape and changing the way workers navigate the employment marketplace.

staying-ahead-of-the-curve-less-face-to-face-interactionHighly successful career professionals don’t tailor their qualifications and work expectations to the requirements of today’s job marketplace – they strategically orient their careers and their employment goals to the shape of tomorrow’s workplace.

According to Dr. Tracey Wilen-Daugenti, Vice President and Managing Director of Apollo Research Institute and author of the upcoming book Society 3.0, there are at least five key trends that can help you stay ahead of the curve, positioning yourself for the employment environment in 2012 and beyond.

  1. Continuous employment will remain elusive.

    Workers should expect to have 10 different jobs and employers over the course of their lifetime. Maintaining continuous employment will require planning and an ongoing commitment to education as well as an awareness of opportunities to join workgroups from remote locations or work as a contractor. Telecommuting is up 400%, and by 2015 there will be an estimated 14 million freelancers – not to mention the number of part-time or contract workers that can’t find full-time employment due to economic uncertainty.

  2. Small business and self-employment will drive job growth.

    Small and medium-sizes businesses (SMBs) tend to create the most jobs during economic downturns. Combined with the number of baby boomers and other displaced workers who are choosing self-employment, small companies will become a major source of employment for many job seekers. The number of Hispanic American entrepreneurs has surged as the ranks of self-employed Hispanics has doubled since the year 2000.

    Healthcare (which represents 1 in 10 jobs today) and information technology are set to experience significant employment gains in the coming years. While the growing need for home healthcare and more community-based medical centers will boost employment for healthcare workers, IT will increasingly serve small businesses, with tech-support squads (which will increasingly include women) attuned to the needs of SMBs such as medical and professional offices.

  3. Working women will play a larger role in the marketplace.

    As businesses and the workforce struggle to gain traction, women will continue to outperform the rest of the marketplace. Female-owned SMBs are growing at twice the rate of all U.S. companies, contributing as much as $3 trillion to the economy and providing 23 million jobs.

    Current research indicates that female-led companies tend to be more financially viable than comparable companies led by men, and women-friendly corporations report higher rates of profitability. Women presently earn higher educational degrees than men – a trend that is expected to continue into the foreseeable future.

  4. Lifelong learning will be vital to career success.

    There are substantial disparities between workers skills and the skills required by U.S. employers, raising the probability that American companies will lose business to more highly educated foreign workforces. Moving forward, there will be a critical need to prioritize lifelong learning, develop higher-order thinking skills and to embrace emerging technologies across the U.S. workforce.

  5. Face time will become a rare event in the U.S. workplace.

    Telemarketing, virtual organizations and the use of mobile devices allow people to literally work from any location. With the exception of important meetings, many workers no longer need to perform their jobs on-site. Consequently, face-to-face work gatherings will become rare.

    For employees still tied down to traditional work environment, meetings will be compressed and intentionally limited in scope. Free-ranging, 60-minute meetings are out; 15-20 minute meetings with tightly structured agendas will be the new standard as employers seek to maximize productivity in the workplace.

Learn more about the book, Society 3.0, at

Visit Apollo Research Institute at

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